Page 27 - Summer2019
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Figure 4. Diagram showing eammunication paths between multiple peaple seated in a restaurant. Assuming that the seating area is fill! and
the background naise is high, the speech transmissian index (STI) Value here will he lower. meaning that speech will not be uniierstaad Very
well. Grzzn linzs, direct speech; thick and thin red linzs, reflected speech,‘ blue curves, ether noises sueh as the air aziflusers.
to other seating locations as well as the sounds of dining find a quiet spot to take a date in New York City. The idea
including the clanking of dishes, preparation of food, bus- springboarded, and users all over the United States have
sing tables, and cleaning. begun measuring and submitting their sound levels to the
database. According to Scott, the SoundPrint app has, to date,
An analysis was also performed of the same 13 restaurants received data of over 60,000 sound samples in 30,000 venues
where an “occupied” environment was simulated. When the around the world, the majority within the United States. The
same rooms were simulated to be occupied with more patrons, database will be expanded to countries abroad soon.
the STI levels decreased to a range of 0.21 to 0.31. These STI
values are considered “bad or poor” according to BS EN This kind of app gives restaurantgoers the power to report
60268-16 and perhaps provide some confirmation of users’ venues that are too loud, make management aware that noise
experience that they are unable to understand conversations issues exist, and hopefully open a dialog for the owners/ oper-
clearly at their own table, especially when the restaurants are ators to engage in and determine how they can tone down
more fully occupied. Figure 4 shows conceptually what hap- the space to make it more acceptable to patrons. The app
pens when many sound sources are present in a restaurant, is being used not only in restaurants but in bars and coffee
making it more diflicult to carry on conversations. shops and recently in retail stores, movie theaters, libraries,
and arenas! In a sense, it is a way of educating the public
SoundPrint and crowdsourcing Sound Levels about building acoustics and the i.mportance of good acoustic
at Restaurants design in buildings.
The SoundPrint app has the potential to make restaurant
owners and operators aware of whether the sound levels at What can or Should Be Done About Acoustic
their venue are acceptable to patrons or not, with the idea Comfort in Restaurants?
of hopefully inspiring them to change their acoustic envi- The concept of “proper acoustics” in places of public accom-
ronment when needed. The app combines basic sound level modations including restaurants, diners, and bars has been
meter technology with crowdsourcing functions that essen- an ongoing issue for quite some time. ASTM International
tially allows restaurantgoers to measure sound levels in an (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials)
establishment and report them to the SoundPrint database, considered writing a standard 20 years ago for the measure-
where they can be stored and viewed by other members. The mentl performance of such spaces, but it died an uncertain
restaurants that receive data are ranked into four categories: death during development because no consensus could
quiet [70 dB(A) or lower], moderate [71-75 dB(A)], loud be found on specific acoustic requirements that would be
[76-80 dB(A)], and very loud [81+ dB(A)]. The founder of acceptable to all the interested parties (owners, workers,
SoundPrint, Greg Scott, initially created the app as a way to and users). Then, in 2017, the ASA was requested to look
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