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Tech Talks: how IRIS Clarity is improving video meetings with voice isolation

NearU

13 May, 2022

No one likes going on mute, do they?

But in a world where Zoom meetings and Google Hangouts have become the norm, good audio quality is king and bad audio quality... well let's not go there.

For those of us who are constantly being plagued by mic problems and background noise it might feel a little embarrassing, perhaps even shameful to have to be the one to go on mute during an important meeting or brainstorm session. But luckily, those feelings don't have to be permanent.

Meet Iris Clarity


That's where Iris Clarity comes in. Their unique AI voice isolation software is bridging the gap between bad Zooms and good Zooms. Installing and enabling their software allows the user to completely cancel any background noise in real time - whether that might be maintenance works happening outside your flat or noisy kids playing in the room next door. 

To learn more about how Iris is helping the new generation of hybrid workers we spoke to their CEO, Jacobi Anstruther, all about the platform he and his team have built.

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Can you summarise what your platform is/does in a sentence?

IRIS Clarity is an AI-powered voice isolation desktop app that removes all background noise from your online conversations. Because it’s bi-directional, it allows participants on both sides of a call to immediately enjoy clearer sound, no matter where they are. By bringing control to otherwise uncontrollable environments, IRIS Clarity improves focus, engagement, productivity and wellbeing.

What role do you see technology playing in the future of work? How will your platform fit into that?

As the world moves ever more virtual,  technology will play a huge role in shaping the future of the hybrid workplace. The pandemic has accelerated our adoption of these working patterns and digital solutions need to keep up the pace, particularly with the advent of the metaverse and everything that offers for productivity across virtual teams. 

We’ve all seen the benefits of being able to work from home, especially for our wellbeing in striking a better work / life balance, but also in terms of companies cost base, but we also need to ensure employees are equipped with the necessary tools for productivity and focus, and not left feeling isolated and disconnected from their colleagues and customers.

Huge companies such as HSBC and JP Morgan have shut down their contact centres, reduced their office floorspace and told 10% of their employees they can work remotely permanently, whilst we’ve also seen thousands of call centre staff  in the Philippines refuse to return to the office because of the freedom remote working gives them.

With further innovations we can continue to reduce some of the drawbacks of remote working. One of the key downfalls of working from home is the environment. Not everyone has the ideal work setup, or the peace and quiet they need. Big business needs to recognise that not everyone has the luxury of a ‘home office’. Your family might be making noise whilst you’re on a call, or you live near a railway which constantly rattles your house — these distractions tend to be out of your control, and can be a detriment to your work. Background noise can portray unprofessionalism, decrease focus for both you and those with whom you’re on a call, as well as stress you out as you scramble for the mute button. In addition, for customer facing roles, how can we ensure the customer experience is not negatively affected.

How many times have you had to stop a conversation because there was an ambulance driving past and you were worried your colleague or client wouldn’t be able to hear you, or you’ve had to use the phrase “you’re on mute” to someone who has purposely muted themselves to block their background noise?

That’s where IRIS Clarity comes in. Born out of genuine necessity, IRIS Clarity removes all those distracting background noises for both ends of the call, enhancing your conversations, increasing your focus, and ultimately, improving your wellbeing.

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How have companies been using your platform so far?

Since our launch , we have initiated trials with businesses from the very small right up to global enterprise scale companies across digital healthcare, finance, and other high-growth industries. We have also commenced work with numerous contact centre operations, and the platforms and resellers of solutions to those contact centres.

We’ve also got a growing base of self-serve users, particularly after reaching #4 Product of the Day on Product Hunt and most recently launching as a Preferred Partner on the SaaS digital product marketplace, AppSumo.


Hybrid working - is it here to stay? Just give your personal opinion, no need to do masses of research on this one.

Yes, hybrid working is definitely here to stay — we’re actually writing a research paper on this now! We’ve all seen the huge benefits remote and hybrid working can bring, but there are still many upsides to being in an office with your colleagues. Replicating in-person brainstorming sessions and nurturing personal relationships can be hard whilst remote, but likewise it can be tricky to put your head down and quietly get work done whilst you’re in the office. There are also other considerations like less time spent commuting and more time spent with family. Hybrid working is the perfect compromise for many — it’s a game changer. 

Any tech platforms you'd like to give a shoutout to while you're here? Maybe one that has helped your company during the transition to more digital working.

Google Meet and Slack definitely helped us the most — we used them throughout the lockdown and continue as vital solutions which empower the IRIS team to collaborate and develop incredible products.

Figma is another great tool our creatives adopted to share and collaborate seamlessly. And Notion has been a brilliant project management tool for our fast-growing team.

IRIS aims to block unwanted background noise in video calls. Where have you seen this help your clients most and how has this helped boost their productivity/efficiency in meetings?

IRIS Clarity has a core market in powerful solutions for call centres. That industry is all about communication between a company and their customers and by eradicating background noise from both sides of those calls, we can transform the experience, driving not only commercial KPIs such as call time, customer satisfaction, and positive outcomes, but also staff wellbeing for an industry with a notoriously high staff turnover rate.

Imagine being on the phone all day everyday, speaking to customers that are often outside walking alongside traffic, or with kids screaming in the background. These dynamics increase the stress in a role that is already high pressure, IRIS Clarity can transform this experience and it’s why we are seeing such positive traction in this space.

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If we can eradicate noise from a call centre and from a Formula One pit lane — which is where this technology originated — we can do it for anyone working in a disrupted environment, too. That’s why we developed the IRIS Clarity desktop app: to enable people working in collaborative or public spaces to also benefit from having IRIS Clarity. They can tackle any conversation with confidence, knowing that they’ll sound professional wherever they choose to work, they’ll keep the focus on the conversation instead of the barista’s next order, and they’ll stay productive on their terms, without compromising others.

By fostering crystal clear conversations in any setting, IRIS Clarity reduces stress and vastly improves customer and business experience. Finally, because it’s bi-directional, IRIS Clarity doesn’t only benefit the agent or entrepreneur using the app, it also benefits the person on the other end of the line, cancelling out noise on both ends, for both parties.

Want to talk more about tech? Catch the latest instalment of our Tech Talks series, featuring Mem here.