Whether it be multiple meetings occurring in a small space, children playing loudly nearby, or construction noise outside of your home office, unwanted background noise can be really distracting in online meetings. Fortunately, tech giants are looking to address these realities of working from home by using artificial intelligence (AI) to block out those inevitable background noises.
It’s been a long time in the making. Microsoft showed off its tech in March by cancelling out the noise of a bag of crisps being opened. The rustling was completely gone but the speaker’s voice could still be heard. In October, it promised the feature would come to Teams by November.
Now you can use Microsoft’s AI to hide the sound of yourself opening a bag of Salt and Vinegar, but still make your voice heard.
This feature will automatically remove unwelcome background noise during your call or meetings. AI-based noise suppression works by analysing an individual’s audio feed and using specially trained deep neural networks to filter out the noise and retain only the speech signal.
While traditional noise suppression algorithms can only address simple stationary noise sources such as a consistent fan noise, Microsoft’s AI-based approach learns the difference between speech and unnecessary noise and is able to suppress various non-stationary noises, such as keyboard typing or food wrapper crunching.
You can enable this helpful new feature by adjusting their device settings before your call or meeting and selecting “High” in the “Noise suppression” drop-down (note this feature is currently only supported in the Teams Windows desktop client).
You can change this setting at any time. Once changed, the setting carries over to your next meeting or call.
To affect the noise suppression level for a meeting you’re currently in, use the second procedure.
From the main Teams window
• Auto (default) The Teams app decides on the best level of noise suppression based on local noise.
• High Suppresses all background sound that isn’t speech.
• Low Suppresses low levels of persistent background noise, such as a computer fan or air conditioner. Use this setting for playing music.
• Off Noise suppression is disabled. Use this setting for high-fidelity microphones in low noise environments.
From a meeting window