Located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Stratford Insurance works to provide British Columbians with competitive auto insurance policies through its innovative safe-driving technologies and commitment to customers. It was important for Stratford to have a space that visually reflected its professionalism and innovation while also providing an environment for the team to communicate with each other and customers efficiently and comfortably. Fortunately, Stratford utilized AtlasIED’s sound masking technology to reduce the distraction of ambient office sound and protect sensitive client discussions without compromising the visual appearance of the space.
Founded in 2019, Stratford Insurance provides customers with a better insurance experience through affordability, coverage, and service. With industry veterans leading the team, Stratford is a general underwriting agency that offers competitive optional auto insurance policies to the majority of the British Columbian population. Taking pride in its commitment to providing customers and partners with honesty, accuracy, clear communication and mutual respect, Stratford has quickly become a leader within its sector.
When moving into Stratford’s new space in Vancouver’s historic Gastown district, the industrial style of the office, including wood ceilings, brick walls, and polished concrete floors, posed an acoustical challenge. As is often the case in office design, what is beautiful to the eye is not always to the ear. Stratford wanted to maintain the modern and visually appealing aspects without compromising its team’s ability to communicate with customers and each other effectively. Teams of employees worked with differing noise levels, ranging from quiet work groups to a bustling claims group fielding many calls daily. The result was a high potential for reduced productivity and increased frustration due to speech sounds traveling around the office. Additionally, Stratford wanted to ensure the boardroom, with a long glass wall that separates the space from the adjacent open office area, was masked to protect the confidentiality and privacy of its teams, customers, and partners’ conversations.
With a move-in date fast approaching, Stratford worked with Vibra Sonic, Western Canada’s leading solutions provider of vibration isolation products and sound masking systems. Vibra Sonic then mobilized a team to recommend and integrate a turn-key system, which included AtlasIED’s sound masking technology, that needed to be fully installed and operational within two business days.
AtlasIED’s technology emits low-level, unobtrusive sounds specifically tuned to the space and designed to make conversations heard at a distance more unintelligible, thereby improving speech privacy.
“By adding sound masking in all areas, we were able to address our acoustic concerns without compromising aesthetics by building additional walls or adding absorption,” Alex Butz, Vice President of Finance at Stratford Insurance explains. “Being able to adjust the settings to fit each space was extremely valuable. For example, we increased the sound masking level in the spaces where teams needed to work quietly so that speech sounds traveling from the claims group were much less noticeable and distracting.”
Vibra Sonic installed the AtlasIED Z4-B, a high-definition all-in-one acoustical system that supplies high-quality sound masking signals and delivers background music and paging. The installation team paired the sound system with AtlasIED’s sleek black M1000 dual cone loudspeakers, designed to accurately reproduce the required spectrum of a masking signal in the ceiling space while blending seamlessly within the office.
The Z4-B includes 4-zones of 70V output and can operate in multiple configuration modes, including four zones of indirect field sound masking for up to 14,000 square feet of coverage, two zones of direct field sound masking, or a combination of indirect sound masking and background music zones to fit the needs of any given space.
The ceiling heights differed throughout the space, and the 4-channel capabilities gave us a lot of control over the space,” said Danielle Macey, Workplace Acoustic Specialist at Vibra Sonic. ”The Z4-B allowed us to break up the zones and then individually adjust the volumes for different spaces since each is individually programmed.”
The Stratford management team uses the Z4-B’s Speech Privacy Enhancement mode to increase the masking volume to a pre-set level in the adjacent open area, which adds another layer of privacy by making conversations originating in the boardroom unintelligible to outside personnel.
Bluetooth connection doubles as a sound system for music, allowing office managers to easily stream music to the system from their favorite music app, whether playing soft tunes alongside the masking during work hours or turning it up and letting loose after hours. The system’s flexibility has been a perfect fit for Stratford.
“This was a lovely and unique space for an installation — a wood-framed building with exposed timber and an industrial feel is different from many spaces we install products in,” continued Macey. “This particular space really showcased what the AtlasIED products could do. The ability to control sound masking at different volumes in various zones served a key purpose given the various needs in the space. Add to it the ability for staff to stream music directly and the Z4-B was really a perfect solution.”
The versatile and easy-to-use AtlasIED sound masking platform is now becoming the go-to solution for Vibra Sonic clients. In particular, because the Z4-B is installed in a wall in common or discrete locations, it provides more flexibility in mounting locations for most environments compared to rack-mounted solutions.