You’ve probably seen lots of talk here on the VoIP Insider about HDVoice, Wideband VoIP, G.722 Codec, etc. Lead by VoIP endpoint manufacturers including Polycom, Snom, Audiocodes, Cisco and others, the VoIP industry at large is gearing up to push “High Definition Voice” in a big way.
Industry analysts are also evangelizing wideband audio technology. Jeff Pulver’s HD Communications Summit recently convened on May 21st in NYC, a gathering of like-minded technology vendors and technorati pontificating on the ramifications of wideband audio and telephony.
I have experienced HD audio firsthand on Polycom’s VVX1500 and their other HDVoice capable models, as well as Audiocodes’ new 320HD, and the difference between 16K “HD” and 8K traditional audio clarity is indeed striking.
In my opinion, one factor that currently limits the proliferation of HD communications is the lack of an existing deployed base of of “wideband audio capable” endpoint devices….ie phones. There are currently a nice variety of HD capable IP phones available in the marketplace from the aforementioned vendors, but they have not been available long enough to be widely installed, yet. I have several HD capable phones provisioned in our offices but precious few clients and colleagues with whom to converse in hi def.
I began wondering if/when a mobile provider would roll out HD calling services for wireless subscribers, and came upon a piece by Daniel Berninger of Gigaom entitled How HD Voice Can Save Wireline Telecom,. As good as the HD experience is on a hardphone in the office, I can’t help but think how great this technology would be if applied to mobile devices. If given my first choice, I think I’d opt to have the benefits of HD audio clarity on a mobile call while driving in my car, or on a layover in a noisy airport, versus in the office.
With 3G here and 4G coming, the bandwidth is certainly there to support HD calling on mobile devices. Seems all that is currently lacking is a traditional carrier or mobile VoIP provider and a handset manufacturer with a wireless device that supports G.722 or alternative wideband codecs. I wonder if there are existing mobile phone devices with a large deployed base that could be made “HD capable” via firmware update?
If anyone amongst our readership has any particular insight into HD audio and the near term impact on both fixed line and mobile telephony, we’d love to hear from you.