Echo and noise in Kiosks and Vending Machines
- On April 23, 2019
- Audio Quality, kiosks, vending machines
Kiosks and vending machines are perhaps the most widely used devices that can be found almost in any public area. Their main purpose is to provide a wide spread service in almost any public location. These devices are very common and their number is not very different from the size of the human population. For example, according to the Japan Vending Machine Manufacturers Association there is one vending machine per approximately 20 people. Today many of these devices have voice communication capabilities. Usually the voice communication is required to enable remote assistance when needed. In order to activate the voice communication, typically the customer presses a button to request assistance, the call is then forward to a call center and one of the agents starts a voice conversation with the customer. These voice calls entails few audio quality challenges as detailed below.
- Echo. Since the kiosk (or vending machine) uses loudspeaker, the voice of the agent bounces back from the loudspeaker to the microphone therefore generating a disturbing echo in the call. The echo is heard by the agent and it significantly reduces the quality of the call.
- Noise. The vending machines are usually located in crowded and noisy environments. This ambient noise is picked up by the microphone and sometimes it is so loud that it completely masks the voice of the customer.
- Low quality. Kiosk and vending machines are usually not equipped with high-end loudspeaker and microphone. As a result, the audio quality of the call is usually not optimal.
In order to improve audio quality in these type of calls, a software solution is required since the hardware is usually fix and cannot be changed. From software perspective, there are two approaches to improve audio quality:
- Client based solution. A software is installed on the vending machine in order to locally address the audio quality issues. This can be further divided into two scenarios:
- The client solution is integrated within the existing vending software and becomes an integral part of the vending software (OEM).
- The client solution is communicating with the vending software via standard protocol without changing the vending software.
- Server based solution. A software is installed on a server, usually in the call center or in the cloud in order to address the bad audio quality. In this case, no change is done on the vending machines. This can further be divided into two scenarios:
- The server solution is integrated in the existing telephony software.
- The server solution is communicating with the existing telephony software via standard protocols.
As you can see, there are several solution and integration options that should be examined. There is no one size fits all and different factors should be taken into consideration when selecting the solution. Some of them factors relates to technology aspects like protocols, CPU and maintenance while others factors relates to general aspects like licensing, schedule and cost.
SoliCall is a market leader in audio quality and we have helped numerous companies to improve the audio quality in their products/solutions. We provide audio quality solutions both for the client side and for the server side and we support multiple integration options. You are invited to contact us and talk with one of our experts to discuss the best solution for your system and requirements.