Microsoft Teams will remove chip packet sounds in virtual meetings—in real time

Microsoft and other video conference platforms let you enjoy a packet of chips, and even a satisfying clink of a spoon and mug during your virtual meeting without bothering anyone else who is listening in. However, a more sophisticated version of a background noise filter will be available for Microsoft Teams this November.

A noise suppression feature already exists, however the improved feature has been designed to address background sounds that make business communication less effective. For example, Teams will be able to tell the difference between stationary noises (like a fan) and non-stationary noises (like police sirens).

“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. This is an update to the existing noise suppression. Users will now have control over how much noise suppression they want. The “High” setting is new and will suppress more background noise,” Microsoft explained.

To achieve this, Microsoft trained the A.I. by training it for noise-suppression on GitHub. However, Microsoft says that it can’t isolate the sound of human voices—like singing or laughing—since they occur at similar frequencies.

There are also privacy concerns, but Microsoft Teams group program manager Robert Aichner said that “it shouldn’t be a worry”. He also says Microsoft can’t look at customer data or look at Teams calls.

When it launches in November, Windows desktop users will be able to toggle the on/off switch of this setting from their Settings menu under devices. However, we don’t know yet when Microsoft plans to bring this feature to iOS and Android users.

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Besides Microsoft, Google Meet can also help cancel out stationary background noises like chip packets and pen clicks. However, it might not be as sophisticated as the upcoming Microsoft Teams update.


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Dzamira Dzafri