Corporate policies on the installation and use of sound cards

I have recently been discussing a project with a  potential customer. It’s a sub eLearning type thingy and audio is a crucial element of the content in its’ present proposed form.

However it has now been established that the greater majority of the PC’s in the organisation are  sound card-less. Readers may be really surprised by this, particularly if you have a tech background and/or work in a tech environment.

That was my initial reaction a few years back as well when chatting with a friend in the banking sector, where sound cards not part of a standard build and Windows 3.1 was still the OS of choice.

I can see how this rule could have evolved, but I don’t believe it should still exist. Here’s why
  • Cost – I wouldn’t  be surprised if the box actually costs more for requesting it without, given that all boards come with integrated sound cards by default.
  • Save the network – A system admin configuring a firewall will straight away close down ports for streaming content.
  • Illegal downloading – As above. sites and ports closed down for illegal file sharing sites (regardless of whether sound cards available or not)
  • Annoyance factor –  If you are using speakers, then you will always ask other if it’s ok to listen to some music.
  • Headphones –  Just loud enough so you can hear the phone ring. Negates the annnoyance factor as well.
  • The Boss – If you are doing your job in a conscientious fashion, the boss should be happy – regardless of your musical tastes. If you are not doing your work because you are listening to music or watching DVDs – it’s probably sign of a greater problem.
  • Feelgood factor – How could anyone get through the week without the pick-me-up-monday or smooth-friday-tunes playlist?

My own experience would lead me to believe that sounds cards should be part of the standard office PC. There might be exceptions – say call centre environments or client/public facing offices.

What about the points I haven’t mentioned – things like VoIP and podcasting? I think this stuff also falls under the remit of the  system admins. Another might be perceived lack of real content for the corporate organisation – training, communication, etc.

Would love to get some feedback on this one to see if there any other reasons why this policy should not be updated…


About Kevin Peyton

Creative Director @ Electric Mill. WordPress solution provider. Collector of retro home computers.
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