As the world only just begins to see light at the end of the tunnel of the most horrific pandemic in a century, it is important that we pause to appreciate the few silver linings that came out of the experience. Surely, the ability to develop the vaccine technology that’s been implemented needs to be amongst our brightest spots, but there is another one – perhaps a bit more subtle – that needs to be highlighted as well, and that is how communication technology has finally come to be recognized as an equalizing force that enables a more inclusive workplace.
When everyone was forced into lockdown and had no choice but to work remotely, like the rest of us, Gary LaSasso and the team at Amicus Therapeutics shifted to a collaboration technology-supported remote working model. Gary’s team quickly discovered that remote collaboration had become the great equalizer. As a biotech firm that searches for potential treatments for rare and devastating diseases, Amicus had always advocated for and implemented an inclusive workforce – including employees with disabilities of all types. When the world switched to remote working, suddenly all employees were connecting and collaborating as equals. For Gary, it meant the barriers to employment – be they geographical or physical – had been removed. Clearly, another pandemic silver lining.
TECH THAT LEVELS THE PLAYING FIELD
Anthony DeVergillo, Gary’s colleague, manages Amicus’ internal communications. He has done so from his home for the past four years as the rare neuromuscular disorder he lives with, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy weakens his muscles to the point that he needs to use a wheelchair and requires a noninvasive ventilator to assist his breathing.
When all of Amicus’ employees were forced to connect remotely during the pandemic – and discovered the tremendous value in having high-quality collaboration tools – suddenly the experience of collaborating with Anthony was no different than collaborating with any other Amicus employee. The pandemic leveled the playing field.
However, there was still one work issue that Anthony said raised his anxieties. He was always self-conscious about the noises his ventilator made during calls. It is loud, produces a high-pitched squeal, and makes a significant noise every time he takes a breath. Of course, none of his colleagues minded the noise while seeking out his thoughtful perspective and vast expertise with brand architecture, but he knew that people would – at least subconsciously – find it distracting at best.
POLY’S ENGINEERING TEAM STEPPED-IN TO HELP
While Poly’s engineers designed NoiseBlock AI with more mundane distractions in mind (a vacuum cleaner, a rustling bag of food, etc.), it was conceivable that this powerful algorithm would be able to detect that Anthony’s ventilator noise was not speech – and without any additional tweaking. It was certainly an experiment worth trying. We shipped one of our new Poly Studio P15 personal collaboration bars to Anthony as a demo, and the results were remarkable. Nearly all of the extraneous sound that had been passing through his old setup was blocked by the microphone array and processor built-in to the unit. Have a listen to our recent Microsoft Teams video conversation for yourself – and be sure to note the difference in the audio when I ask Anthony to switch to the Poly microphone system:
As Gary points out, Poly has been on the cutting-edge of innovation and continues to be the industry leader with the quality of the video and the audio together in the one Studio P15.
Poly engineers strive to pioneer industry innovations that help make collaboration and communication more natural and easier to use for everyone. This doesn’t only include NoiseBlock AI, but also production rules that allow our cameras to automatically track and adjust with TV-director-skill as people draw on a whiteboard, stand up and walk around, or simply shift into a different position in their chair. The Studio P15 also has many other great features that you can read about here. But clearly, helping Anthony feel more confident communicating and allowing him to get his ideas across without distraction, and therefore feel more a part of the Amicus team is one of our proudest moments.
If you’d like to find out more about the Poly Studio P Series and other Poly innovations that enable your team’s message to come through but leaves the distractions behind, visit our website or reach out to your Poly representative to get more information.