Waved for a perfect atmosphere

Originally written by Anne Caroline Thomlevold Tennøe for SMAKmagasinet

Waved Sensor

Waved is a Norwegian startup that aims to create a perfect atmosphere in restaurants and nightclubs using technology. High noise levels are one of the biggest causes of restaurant complaints, in fact greater than the quality of the food. Waved wants to do something about this. Using sensors placed in the room, the mood and energy level of the guests are picked up, and an algorithm then calculates the perfect volume of the music.

- The idea of Waved came in 2018 when we were gathered at a great restaurant with delicious food and nice company, but there was still something that did not match the atmosphere, says Fredrik Sande, sales and marketing manager at Waved, to SMAKmagasinet. - In one moment we had to shout at each other, and in the other moment there was so much human noise that it was difficult to follow the conversation. The music was simply incorrectly balanced. We decided that night that this was a problem we wanted to solve.

A few weeks after the restaurant visit, Waved was founded by Daniel Harper and Jonas Andersen. A few months later, Endre Hauge Paulsen and Fredrik Sande joined the team. All four have worked with Waved alongside studies and other work.

An algorithm calculates the perfect volume

The music at restaurants should be balanced to create a comfortable atmosphere for the guests. This means that the music must be so low that it is easy to have a conversation, but still loud enough to create a separation between the tables. With Waved, sensors are placed in the room, and these capture the sound level of the guests. This information is then sent to a central unit in the room, and the algorithm in Waved calculates which volume creates the right atmosphere.

- It is the collective mood in the room that sets the guidelines for the volume. In addition, the restaurants have access to certain settings that allow the volume to be adapted to their concept, says Sande. - This contributes to increased customer satisfaction, which in turn will lead to returning customers. Waved will also give employees one less thing to think about, so that they can focus all their time on the guests and provide even better service.

Although the sensors capture and analyze the sound image in the room, there is no cause for concern. Sande says that the units are not able to pick up conversations.

- The sensors only capture values based on the energy level and mood of the guests, and data about the various elements in the soundscape. Therefore, no conversations are picked up.

Above all expectations

After developing the product for two years, Waved began to front the product towards customers and potential customers. The feedback so far has been exceptional.

- One of the first installations we did was at a restaurant at Tjuvholmen in Oslo. Despite the fact that the product was not fully developed, it worked so well that the general manager at the time wanted to invest in the company. The person in question is now our largest investor, says Sande. - Since then, we have received the same confirmation from other customers, who are now also investors. We are very grateful for that.

Increased focus on product development

Like many other companies, Waved has also been affected by the corona pandemic. However, they have spent time developing the product further.

- The corona crisis has meant that we have had an increased focus on product development in consultation with our customers and potential customers. Among other things, we have added new functionality that benefits customers, says Sande. - I would also like to add that all of our customers have become customers in 2020, and we are incredibly humble and proud that we have been strengthened despite this tough situation.

The actual Waved hardware can be rented or purchased. In addition, they use a monthly subscription. However, it has been important for them not to be a financial burden for customers who are struggling in the current situation.

- We therefore do not charge when the restaurants are subject to restrictions that hamper operations to the extent that they have done in recent weeks, Sande says.

Great tool

Waved can be a good tool in the corona crisis. High noise levels have been one of the points raised by the authorities in connection with infection control. With loud music, one will speak louder and lean towards each other to hear what the other is saying, which increases the risk of infection.

- For example, the city council in Bergen has introduced restrictions on the volume of music, so that you can keep your distance when you have a conversation, Sande says. - Waved can help the restaurants with just this. In addition, we can generate reports that tell customers about historical noise levels, and we can notify them if they exceed certain values.

Future plans

Waved works to be compatible with all the sound systems used in the industry. They are also exploring other areas they can help the restaurants with digitization and automation, such as when it comes to lighting control, fans and other elements that are part of a smart restaurant.

- In addition, we work actively towards other industries, such as retail, offices, etc. We also have some exciting things going on in the hotel industry, Sande says.

Initially, they will establish themselves in Norway, but in the long run want to also establish themselves internationally. At the same time, Waved is working on improvements to the algorithm, so that the software can reliably estimate the density of people in a room. If the system estimates that the density of guests is too high, the owner or general manager can be notified. This will therefore be a good tool in a time with a high focus on infection control.