MODIO Guestroom Acoustic Control
MODIO Guestroom Acoustic Control helps hotel guests sleep easy.
By Staci Davidson, Managing Editor at Knighthouse Media
Offering rest and relaxation is big business for the hospitality industry. Whether traveling for personal or professional reasons, no one likes to attack their plans for the day while also fighting off the grogginess caused by a poor night’s sleep. Although hotels know how to limit light coming into a room and allow guests to easily regulate temperature, it can be trickier to control how much noise enters their guest rooms. K.R. Moeller Associates Ltd. (KRM), however, has mastered that challenge and brings its expertise to the hospitality market in the form of MODIO Guestroom Acoustic Control.
KRM is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. For much of its history, the company primarily focused on developing sound-masking solutions to address speech privacy and noise control needs within corporate offices. In these environments, the goal is to improve productivity and confidentiality, but the company’s work in hospital patient rooms allowed it to see how the technology could also be used to help occupants fall asleep and stay asleep. That attention to slumber brought KRM into the hospitality field.
“We started to think about other facilities where a good night’s sleep is important, and decided to take a deeper look at the noise issues experienced within hotels,” Vice President Nik Moeller explains. “We discovered that noise is one of, if not the top, guest complaint across the industry. And a large part of the problem is one with which we were already very familiar based on our experience with other types of buildings: the ambient sound in guest rooms is too low, leaving occupants exposed to all kinds of intermittent noises. This is exactly the type of problem that can be mitigated or even eliminated by implementing a masking solution.”
Hotel managers began coming to KRM with “serious concerns relating to noise,” Moeller notes, so the company started by trying to use its commercial sound masking system, LogiSon Acoustic Network, inside guest rooms. While it worked well from an acoustical perspective, installing the components in this type of environment proved challenging. So, the company’s R&D team went back to the drawing board, resulting in the launch of MODIO: a sound-masking device specifically designed for guest rooms.
Effective, But Not Noticeable
MODIO was developed to meet the needs of hotel guests and staff. The technology only takes minutes to install, and can either be implemented in rooms with persistent noise issues or in all rooms to prevent unforeseen complaints. The masking sound is on when the guest enters their room. If they want to adjust the level according to preference or need, all they have to do is turn the dial on the control pad. After checkout, staff restore it to the default setting.
“We use a very particular type of sound,” Moeller explains. “Unlike the hissy ‘white noise’ machines some hoteliers might have experienced in the past, MODIO provides the full range of frequencies required to not only ensure guest comfort, but to cover the widest variety of typical hotel noises. We use a high-quality speaker and also position MODIO in a way that ensures the sound is evenly diffused into the bed area and across the room.”
While the property can choose to simply apply a standard masking curve in all rooms, they also have the option to attain site-customized masking curves based on room type or request precise tuning of the masking sound within each room. The company recently launched an app, Maestro, which allows hotel staff to manage the masking profiles for the guest rooms.
“Most people compare the sound to airflow, like a very smooth fan,” Moeller says. “It’s electronically generated and perceived by the ear as constant, so it’s inconspicuous. HVAC, on the other hand, produces mechanically-generated noise and has patterns that are noticeable, particularly if it cycles on and off. With MODIO, guests tend to forget it’s on in the room.”
The general manager of a hotel chain, for example, recently stayed in a room with MODIO. Moeller says he intentionally was trying to evaluate the system, but woke up in the morning and forgot it was on. “Achieving that balance is our goal,” he notes. “We’ve designed the sound to be effective against noise and comfortable for guests.”
As a result, there is a tremendous amount of interest in MODIO from the hospitality market, and although most of the company’s hotel work is within North America right now, requests are coming in from around the world. Moeller says the technology is currently certified for use in over 80 countries and the company is open to bringing the technology anywhere.
“We’re dedicated to doing this right, as well as to increasing the market’s understanding of what that means,” Moeller says. He notes that white noise devices “never really caught on because they don’t work, but when done correctly, sound masking is a highly effective contributor to guest rooms’ acoustic performance and, hence, to guest experience.”