Adding acoustic panels in your building lobbies, conference/lecture rooms, and offices can drastically reduce the sound levels and reverberation in these areas. While vast lobbies with high ceilings give a very luxurious feel, it also increases the echo of every voice substantially, and can make understanding conversations, even at close-range, difficult. And with the onset of the "creative office space", where open-aired, shared work-space is common, along with exposed ceilings and concrete floors that further an echo's energy, the need to reduce environmental and conversational noise is even more apparent.
Within an enclosed space, sound will bounce off of materials such as concrete, metal, stone, glass, and even painted drywall which makes up the majority of office spaces, and will continuously bounce off of these materials until its energy is depleted, thus creating the overlapping echoes. Acoustic panels are made from materials such as fabrics, fiberglass, and foam which absorb sound. When the panels are placed around a room they will, in an essence, capture the sound waves and reduce or eliminate its reverberation.