What’s the Difference?

enspiredevConsultant's Corner, Engineering Trends

Everything! It is human nature to respond to the differences or changes in our surroundings. People grow accustomed to and tend to ignore things we constantly hear or see. When these change, it is the difference we really notice. There are many examples of differences in what we do relating to sight, sound and vibration where people see, hear or feel a change. If the lights go out, if the sound jumps in volume or if the mechanical system cycles on/off, people notice almost immediately. How much they notice and their response often depends on how much of a difference was perceived and how quickly it happens. If the difference was small or the change was very slow, people tend to adapt and may not notice at all. Differences can be positive or negative depending on people’s expectations.

Our goal as a company is to make a positive difference. We take into consideration how differences affect people. If a space is too loud or noisy, we help make it quieter. When speech is unintelligible, we recommend ways to reduce reverberation and design a sound system that provides uniform coverage so everyone can hear clearly. Speech intelligibility is much better when there is a difference of at least 10 dB between the speech level and the background noise in the room due to the mechanical system. As people age it is even more critical that speech is louder than the background noise so that it is clear and intelligible.

Video images are also better when there is a difference. If the contrast or difference between the brightness of the content and background is greater than 10, it is much easier to read. If there is no difference in the brightness of the display and the ambient light in the room, the image will be washed out.

Much of our work involves the design of education, hospitality and healthcare facilities. We also work on multi-family residential projects which is challenging given the construction and density of the units. We hope that people notice the difference when they can hear well, when they are entertained by a good performance or when they are healing because they can get the rest they need in the hospital.

Differences do matter and we are working to make them positive.

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