It’s one of the oldest woes of the cubicle age.

How can you possibly get your work done when your neighbor picks the exact-most-frustrating moment to start jabbering about day-care plans and arguing with their spouse about who’s got pick-up duty that day? Privacy and quiet in a work environment is paramount for most people, but in some buildings, the stakes are even higher. Take a law office, where hundreds of depositions are gathered every day, or military facilities, where a closed-door meeting is tied up in serious issues of national security. Suddenly, quiet becomes a whole lot more important.

That’s the challenge Lencore Acoustics addresses with its systems, engineered to create sound control and privacy in buildings. Sometimes a project involves outfitting a single room or a few rooms; other times, as much as 20,000 square feet (that’s about the size of half a football field). Entire buildings or campuses can be outfitted with the technology meant to turn otherwise very-public space into private space.

Companies ranging from Google and the Gates Foundation to FoxTV and Blue Cross/Blue Shield depend on the Lencore technology.

The same wiring that allows Lencore to mask sound also lets it produce and emit sound -- say, music, or emergency notifications and alert systems.

The platform’s interconnectedness makes it a natural platform for integrating any number of other technologies already available and being used in workplaces, said David Smith, director of business and channel strategy at Lencore -- including “digital displays, text messages, tweets and much more.”

"Privacy and quiet in a work environment is paramount for most people, but in some buildings, the stakes are even higher."

Echelon chips are installed throughout the building using similar strategies to any building engineering operation. They link up to a central server and can be controlled via an iPad application or a standard web interface. From that portal, a building operations manager could adjust the level of sound control or play with volume for an emergency alert. The easy interface also keeps maintenance of the system quick and simple.

Smith said Echelon’s Internet Protocol-equipped SmartServer, which serves as the controller behind the operations, is the key to a seamless integration of all of these technologies.

That server is more than a controller, however; like all of Echelon’s technology, it’s a data-gatherer, too, empowering the user to act on the information it collects.Amid all the hype of new technology, corporate and professional environments are still looking for clean, integrated ways to manage this new technology -- otherwise, managers are left fielding a slew of frustratingly disjointed possibilities. In Smith’s eyes, that’s why the ease of the SmartServer is so important. He said the integrators who work with Lencore on installing systems into varied and unfamiliar environments depend on the easy programmability of the Echelon technology.One of the core goals at Echelon is making buildings smarter in as many ways as possible -- whether it’s reducing energy consumption or removing the maintenance hassle from building operators or protecting privacy, peace, and quiet.