New Product & Service Differentiators
Speech intelligibility and acoustic comfort are quietly - still rarely commented as a phenomenon per se by the World's business press - becomming substantial product and service differentiators. Areas that used to be the almost sole and, because of costs, often ambigously treated concerns for some industrialized nations' government authorities, are becomming big business. Here is a collection of links to this new market:
The acoustic comfort marketplace in general
The Noisy Ape - "Manufacturing CD and MP3 players, radios, TV sets and all the rest of modern sound technology is big business, but there is just as much money to be made from fighting noise..". Louise Fryer investigates our sound environment in a four-part series on BBC World Service Radio.
The noise that annoys - "The demand for quieter products has increased in recent years. Quietness adds value to consumer products, office equipment, and factory machines. Workers want equipment that makes less noise than even the levels mandated by OSHA; they want the same noiselessness in their appliances at home." A mechanical engineering magazine online article.
The global noise control marketplace for the new millenium - "Product noise is increasingly a key factor in the purchase decisions made by many people in various places, for products ranging from consumer goods to industrial and transportation equipment. The challenges of the global marketplace in the coming years will accelerate the demand for quiet products, regardless of where they are built or sold." An article by Bennett M. Brooks, Brooks Acoustics Corporation.
A Global Vision for the Noise Control Marketplace - "Since European manufacturers have more experience with noise as a competitive factor, they also have an advantage over their U.S. counterparts in U.S. markets. Therefore, U.S. manufacturers face a tough challenge from competition that is better prepared to meet the low noise demands of both domestic and foreign customers." An article published by the the Acoustical Society of America.
Noise control - "The impact of noise is often overlooked in process design and engineering, and also in day-to-day operations. Governments are tightening up legislation on noise pollution and local residents are being more vociferous in seeking a quieter environment." A page by Shell Global Solutions.
Measurements and Judgments of Sound in relation to Human Sound Perception - "It is recognized that A-weighted measurements of sound pressure levels and sound power levels alone are insufficient for measurements in relation to product sound quality and noise annoyance potential. This has led to an increasing interest in objective and subjective methods giving results in closer agreement with human sound perception." A page by Danish Delta.
European Environment Information and Observation Network (EIONET) on acoustic comfort.
Aircrafts and helicopters
Neuron networks and acoustic comfort - "Up to a certain threshold, observers have noted that an aircraft passenger's acoustic comfort no longer depends uniquely on the level of noise, but also on its nature. This means that engineers had to develop a new concept, the comfort index, to help manufacturers construct more acoustically comfortable airplanes and helicopters." A page by ONERA, the French Aeronautics and Space Research Center.
Passenger's Comfort - "Noise and vibration as well as air quality and thermal environment are fundamental factors contributing to the passenger perception of cabin comfort, especially in medium and long range flights. These factors are also important for the health of passengers and crew on board." A page by CIRA, the Italian Aerospace Research Centre.
Comfort studies on aircraft interior sound and vibration - "Due to the increased frequent use within shorter and shorter distances, not only safety, maintenance and viability aspects, but rather subjective felt sensations of the passenger in the air vehicle environment have to be taken into account in aircraft design and development." A dissertation by Julia Quehl.
Aeronautics and space research
Auditory Demonstrations II: Challenges to Speech Communications and Music Listening - "Noise affects our lives in many different situations. At high sound levels, ongoing exposure can lead to noise-induced hearing loss. Even at low levels, some sounds can cause annoyance or distraction. Within this continuum lies a vast range of experiences where the chief noise complaint is usually difficulty in understanding speech. The difficulty only increases when the environment is highly reverberant and/or the listener has hearing loss." A page by the United States of America's National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA.
Flooring and Acoustic Systems - "The acoustics of a vehicle are critical to success in the marketplace." A page by Lear Corporation, the world’s largest automotive interior systems suppliers.
Noise and air in motion "Interior noise is an important factor for many purchasers of luxury vehicles. The passenger’s impression of comfort is determined to a large extent by the sound quality and how quiet the car is." A page by TNO TPD; part of the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO, the largest independent research institute in the Netherlands.
An annoyance meter for Squeak-and-Rattle diagnostics - "Notions of robustness, safety and product quality are more and more related to auditory sensations, notably as concerns components of automobiles and domestic appliances." A page by French Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique.
Vehicle Noise Pass-by Measurement System - "On side of usual Pass-by measurements ruled by community noise standards, cabin acoustic comfort has become a major concern for car manufacturers." A page by SCS International. It seems to be an acoustic counsultancy company.
The New Volkswagen Acoustics Centre in Wolfsburg - "Acoustics and vibration have a huge influence on a vehicle's impression of comfort."
Automakers Invest in New Technologies to Lower Vehicle Noise Levels - "..Japanese automakers build the quietest vehicles in the world. Compared with cars, trucks and motorcycles produced nearly 30 years ago, manufacturers have reduced vehicle noise by 90 percent. They’ve achieved this by investing in new technologies that reduce tire and engine noise(s)." A page by Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.
Interior Noise Reduction - Attacking sound at the source - "Customers are beginning to make greater demands for quieter automobiles, and because of this, automakers have begun to attack sound inside the passenger compartment with greater ferocity." A page by Automotive Industries; a monthly publication devoted to providing global coverage of all aspects the automobile marketplace, with an emphasis on the people, products and processes that shape the industry.
Engineers Tread Toward Quiter Tires - "Tire noise and vibration are both a nuisance and a consumer issue because they account for much of the unwanted noise heard inside a car, as well as outside..". A page by Global Technoscan, a weekly magazine on new technology and international business.
Motorsport - "The ambient audio levels created by modern racing cars is similar to that of a jet engine and in the case of many types of single seater race cars, the driver is very close to the exhaust. It is therefore essential to have a highly efficient earplug system to minimise potential problems that may be caused by engine and wind noise. Combine this with the need to listen to radio communications it is therefore very necessary to have an in-ear solution to take care of these demands, whilst being comfortable for long periods of use." A page by Sensorcom, a company that specialises in the design and manufacture of audio communications accessories for use in difficult and abnormal conditions.
Motorsport intercom systems - "The world's leading motorsport teams have been using Peltor Intercom systems for over 20 years. This
experience has given us the opportunity to design the ultimate in rally intercom systems. This durable,
high fidelity system produces the best sound quality even in the most punishing of environments." Peltor® is a trademark of Aearo Company who specialises in safety products, safety prescription eyewear and specialty composites.
Quiet Revolution Motor Company, L.L.C - "The desire to develop quiet efficient engines for lightplanes has been the driving force behind our Stirling engine improvements. We expect these same advances to serve markets such as silent sailboat powerplants, silent motorhome generators, silent lawnmowers, and a host of other applications."
JAGUARDIESEL - "Continuous adjustment of Minimum Drive Pulse (MDP) means the Jaguar X404 diesel engine actually 'learns' how to be quieter the more it is driven." Tiscali.Motoring writes about the Jaguar X-TYPE 2.0D.
Helping to make your heavy equipment quieter - "Operators of heavy equipment such as graders, bulldozers, earthmovers and cranes spend their entire work day in and around equipment. A environment that provides for reduced noise levels increases operator effectiveness and improves output." A page by Technicon Industries, Inc, specialist in noise control materials.
High-Speed Trains - "As the key player in the development of the Shinkansen bullet train vehicles in Japan, Hitachi has taken part in all Shinkansen rolling stock projects. Design and production of a light aluminium body, a VVVF inverter unit, ATC control and other such instruments along with the Hitachi laboratories' outstanding engineering capacity have been brought together to make it possible to provide a comfortable moving space characterized by low noise and low vibration that is perfectly adapted to the environment through which the tracks pass." A page by Hitachi-Rail.com
Simulator for optimising train passenger and crew environment - "Passenger and crew comfort, performance, health and safety depend on a complex combination of reactions to noise, vibration, and the thermal environment." A page by Rail Research UK.
Buildings in general
Qualification of the Degree of Acoustic Comfort in Multi-Family Buildings - "To most people, acoustic comfort is a vague concept that becomes clear only when they are dissatisfied. The vocabulary that builders use to describe the acoustic comfort from which future tenants will benefit is just as inadequate; they often refer to “superior” soundproofing, which is very difficult to define in a legal context when occupants are not satisfied and turn to the courts to exercise their rights." A text by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, CMHC.
Quiet Comfort - HVAC Systems and Acoustics - "In today’s competitive economy, worker productivity is critical to success. A great deal of new technology is devoted to improving productivity, but one of the simplest and most obvious factors is often overlooked – noise." A page by Buildings.com
A Knowledge Based System for Comfort Aanalysis of
Internal Environment of hotels - "The most important aspects of comfort analysis of internal environment
of hotels are to maintain lighting comfort, acoustic comfort, thermal comfort
and indoor air quality." A text by Dr Rabee M. Reffat and Mostafa M. Aref, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, KFUPM, Dharan, Saudi Arabia.
Hotel One Aldwych - London, United Kingdom: "Extremely high acoustic specification gives the guests the desired comfort, as the rooms are exceptionally quiet and protected from the busy London main road noise." A text by Bovis Lend Lease, one of the world's leading companies in the project management and construction services industry.
What is a high performance high scool? - "Acoustic comfort means teachers and students can hear one another. Loud ventilation systems are eliminated, and the schools minimizes outdoor and indoor noise from reaching the classroom. " A page by CHPS, The Collaborative for High Performance Schools in California.
A new standard for Acoustics in the Classroom - "Improving the academic performance of U.S. students depends, in part, on our ability to create "learning-friendly" environments." A page by Trane, a company that provides indoor comfort systems and comprehensive facility solutions for residential, commercial and industrial building needs.
Acoustic ceilings and wall absorber systems
Ecophon - "Ecophon is the leading supplier of acoustic ceilings and wall absorber systems in over 40 countries.
Our mission is to contribute to a high-quality working environment, for the eye, the ear and the mind.
We build-up leadership by delivering superior end-user values in offices, educational premises and health care premises."
Tarkett® "has taken a stand against noise and proven that pure decoration and true comfort can be brought together in a laminate flooring." Tarkett is one of the largest producers and distributors of resilient floorings world-wide.
Acoustic muffling mats - "For a long time structural engineering could develop without any greater consideration to the acoustic environment. Now, we can see a totally different path where the demands on the acoustic characteristics of the building are highly prioritised. A number of acoustic demands have also been created." A page by Aprobo AB, a company that deals mainly with flooring products.
Technical Committee on Sound White Paper: Product Labeling and International Standards - Implications and Benefits of an ARI "Labeling" Procedure - "..What is new, however, is the
need for a standardized “labeling” procedure to be followed when determining a
sound rating number for a product that can be designed, tested and
manufactured any place in the world. Without an ARI “labeling” Procedure in
International HVAC Sound Standards, the sound rating information provided to
the end user will not be in a comparable form between different manufacturers or
locations. A document by ARI, The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute. ARI is the US national trade association representing manufacturers of more than 90 percent of North American produced central air-conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment.
Electrolux pulls the plug on noisy vacuum cleaning - "Power and performance have always been accompanied by noise, but as a result of years of research and development Electrolux has been able to solve this problem and create a high performance vacuum cleaner which operates quietly."
Electrolux is the world's largest producer of appliances and equipment for kitchen, cleaning and outdoor use. Electrolux is also one of the largest producers in the world of similar equipment for professional users.
Electrolux Ultra Silencer, a powerful and yet comfortable vacuum cleaner.
Courtesy and © Electrolux®
Intel® Acoustic Overview - "Evidently, the acoustic performance of a system is a product differentiator. System performance, size, cost,
and acoustic performance are closely related. Therefore, the acoustic design goal depends on the product positioning in the market."
Cobalt3™ - "As heat and noise have become a serious design issue in consumer electronics, Cobalt3 is currently expanding its operations by creating a diverse range of services in the design and development of thermal acoustic solutions for enterprises in the Consumer Electronic Sector."
The new growing market for noiseless IT equipment is the main focus of this web site. The Solutions page show some of all these new products.
MR Specialists Opt for MR Systems Designed To Enhance Patient Comfort - "Almost ninety percent of the group, which represented both hospitals and imaging centers, said they prefer systems that significantly reduce acoustic noise and increase the patient aperture (the area within which the patient is confined during a scan)." A page by Toshiba America Medical Systems.
Sound quality engineering
The Trademark Registrability of the Harley-Davidson Roar: A Multimedia Analysis by Michael B. Sapherstein.
Product Sound Quality – from Perception to Design - "This article on product sound quality is concerned with the relationships between the work of product designers and the perceptions of consumers regarding the acceptability of product sounds." A page by Sound and Vibration, a practical engineering magazine.
Design Sounds - "Design not only concerns function and appearance – it is also about sound – something which so far has not been much discussed in a design context. But with our increasing everyday use of technology – such as alarm clocks, microwave ovens, hairdryers, computers, cars, tools, toys and mobile phones – sound is becoming a more and more important part of design." Design Sounds is a Swedish exhibition. You can download some most interesting documents there.
Designing Product Sounds - a page by Ingemansson, the leading expert in Northern Europe in the area of acoustics, noise and vibration.
Design News - The sound of quality: "Today, OEMs regularly perform sound quality analysis on both their own and competitors' previous successful models to determine which components are causing the "pleasurable" sounds that can be reproduced or even enhanced in future models."