SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Gary Audin
Gary Audin is the President of Delphi, Inc. He has more than 40 years of computer, communications and security...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Gary Audin | November 15, 2012 |

 
   

Expanding HD Voice to Audio Quality

Expanding HD Voice to Audio Quality "It is quite surprising that we still have to endure phone calls today at a level of quality that is rooted in the technical limitations of the early last century."

"It is quite surprising that we still have to endure phone calls today at a level of quality that is rooted in the technical limitations of the early last century."

I have used HD voice (150 Hz to 7000 Hz) and I like it. I have also used full-sound-range audio (50 Hz to 20,000 Hz). It's even better. Why can't we have audio phone calls instead of HD voice calls?

I spoke with H.P. Baumeister, Director, Mobile and Communications Markets, Fraunhofer USA Digital Media Technologies, to discuss the future of HD voice. He refers to audio quality voice as Full HD voice. Fraunhofer is Europe's largest application-oriented research organization. Their research efforts are focused on issues around health, security, communications, energy, and the environment.

1. We have had POTS voice for the last 100 years. Why expand the analog voice bandwidth?
All our audio experiences today are digital, full bandwidth, "CD-quality", from broadcast sources (ATSC, cable, IPTV, FiOS, FTA/DVB, DAB or ISDB outside the U.S., even AM radio's "HD Radio/IBOC"), physical media (CD, DVD, BD), or when delivered over the Internet. No one would even consider anything but full audio bandwidth when delivering a rich media service, nor would the market accept anything less than that. That even applies to smartphones with increasingly capable camcorders.

The only glaring exception to this is classical telephony. It is quite surprising that we still have to endure phone calls today at a level of quality that is rooted in the technical limitations of the early last century. Add to that the observation that the quality did not get any better with the introduction of the mobile phone.

2. How does expanded bandwidth help in the conversations? (understanding, accent reduction, productivity, error reduction, customer retention)
If we had full audio bandwidth in telephony, not only would a phone call be much easier on the ears, it would be much less stress to follow a conversation, especially with higher-pitched voices, speech accents, and foreign languages in the mix. We would not need to spell words and for that matter would not be limited to speech in the first place. We could play music, sing, or whistle to illustrate something. Would it not be nice to not only talk, but also communicate an ambience, for example crashing waves when calling from the beach, or church bells in the background when visiting a Bavarian village, all this in Full HD quality?

Many studies discuss a new realism, a new "closeness" when making calls with higher audio bandwidth, resulting in longer calls, or at least in staying with the mobile call. No more "can I call you back on the landline?"

3. Your website references three voice bandwidths, POTS, HD voice and Full HD voice. What are the differences?
"POTS" is limited to 300 Hz to 3.4 kHz, so called "HD Voice" to 150 Hz to 7 kHz, and Full HD Voice has at least 50 Hz-14 kHz audio bandwidth. AM radio stations in the U.S. modulate up to about 10 kHz audio bandwidth.

4. How is the Full HD voice codec technologically different than the other narrower-band voice codecs?
Most narrowband codecs are voice codecs today, which means they are optimized for "mainstream" voice. They are based on modeling a single human vocal tract. Everything but the voice is being distorted, often to the point of not even being able to recognize the original sound. Voice codecs inherently have problems with multiple voices, music, and ambient sounds. Noise cancellation with all its drawbacks is an absolute must.

Full HD Voice implies that audio codecs are used. Audio codecs are not limited to voice signals and at least fundamentally don't need noise cancellation. Audio codecs are the only codecs used in today's digital rich media world. The leading, most popular examples are MP3 and AAC. Full HD voice digital bandwidth can operate as low as 24kbps up to 64kbps.

5. Is an audio codec different than a Full HD voice codec?
The only major difference really is the requirement to have low latency for real time communications applications. AAC and MP3 are not tuned for low latency and are not really suitable. We have developed special, low latency communications versions of AAC, called AAC-LD and -ELD.

Next page: Considerations for vendors





COMMENTS



May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

April 5, 2017

Its no secret that the cloud offers significant benefits to enterprises - including cost reduction, scalability, higher efficiency, and more flexibility. If your phone system and contact center are

June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.