3 Questions for Lencore on Open Office Sound Masking, MNEC and ISC West

David Smith, director of business and channel strategy at Lencore, has some advice for integrators looking to add new revenue in 2015.

The thing about Lencore, which is hopefully intriguing for many integrators, is that it’s very focused on two of the industry’s under-hyped product categories—mass notification emergency communication (MNEC) and sound masking.

At ISC West 2015, however, where NSCA and SIA laid out their PASS school safety initiatives, MNEC’s profile may be raised among integrators.

In any case, integrators looking to add new revenue in 2015 should be interested in what Lencore’s David Smith has to say.

After the announcements at ISC West, AV integrators are going to start hearing more about MNEC. Why do you think it’s an appropriate category for AV guys?

From the AV perspective [integrators] hold the key to so many relationships in the facility that they are really well set to take advantage of implementing and overall systems.

They are so well engrained with how to implement sophisticated systems where what mass notification really is about is reaching 100 percent of the audience 100 percent of the time and the way to do that is to implement a variety of different communications vehicles, which I think is the AV industry is very well primed to do.

Watch Lencore’s David Smith speak with CI here, or read on below. [Note: This 3 Questions interview was done prior to ISC West.]

How has the trend toward open office spaces impacted your sound masking business?

In the process of moving toward these open design platforms, what’s happening is you’re removing a lot of the absorptive materials, so you’ll see things like cubicle partisans either being lower or going away all together, going toward what’s called benching or desking situations where you’re literally just looking across a table at somebody and that’s your workspace—carpets disappearing, acoustical ceilings disappearing.

So what’s happening is you’re removing all the soft surfaces within a space and you’re putting more people into that type of an environment and unfortunately what it does is it drives the noise factor up. We talk about ABCs of sound control; A is absorbing; B is blocking; and C is covering.

With your soft materials going away you’re no longer absorbing; with cost-cutting reasons you’re reducing your blocking because your walls are coming down, so you’re really left with C or covering and that’s where sound masking plays a role. It allows you to cover or mask a lot of the distracting noises that are in those open office environments.

What do you recommend for integration firms looking to expand business in 2015?

The first thing to do is identify what [clients’] needs might be in a space. Kind of look around and be aware of the changes that are occurring in the facilities and then I would say connect. The integrators have very solid relationships within the facilities whether it’s the IT departments, whether it’s the facilities management groups, etc.

Leverage those relationships and make sure they’re asking the right questions really around the need changes that they might see. What that will end up leading to is really mapping the need to the solution.

Next 3 Questions Interview: BrightSign CEO Predicts Future of 4K