Like most of us I think the brand Dolby is closely associated with going to the movies, e.g., Star Wars with Dolby Sound. When BT and Dolby invited me to a demonstration of their latest collaboration in audio conferencing, I wondered how long they had been making products for the enterprise telephony space. It turns out that the company begin developing ways to introduce products for the this space around five years ago, and brought its first prototype to Enterprise Connect in 2012.
Demonstrations and meetings with potential partners as well as analysts, showing that early prototype, have brought Dolby back to Enterprise Connect this year. This week Dolby is demonstrating an audio conferencing solution that they have created with go-to-market partner BT Conferencing, as well as presenting the results of a study done by Wainhouse Research on user preferences for connection to conference calls.
Like many of you perhaps, I saw a press release in September 2012 that the two companies would be doing a technology trial of a joint service. Here at the show, BT and Dolby are announcing that they will be delivering a service based on this trial this summer. They are also demonstrating a prototype conference room endpoint--think big speakerphone in the middle of a conference room table--that is expected to be available next year.
Speaking with Andrew Border (VP, Voice Business Group at Dolby Labs) last night, one of the first questions I had was whether users would adopt a solution that required the use of not just a headphone, but stereo headphones, to get the full effect. That's where Wainhouse comes in. They conducted a survey with users that first asked their current preferences for endpoints for conference calls; only 32% named a softphone. Asked if that would change if the softphone could deliver a better experience than cell or desk phone--would they use a softphonein that instance--74% answered 4 or 5 on a 5 point scale from 1 = Never Use to 5 = Use Exclusively.
Which brings me to the reason I am writing this post early on the Monday morning after St. Patrick's Day. BT and Dolby are here at the show demonstrating their solution. Having had the opportunity to experience it myself last night, if you are here in Orlando I urge you to head to their booth this week and hear it yourself. Words on a page may lead you to consider something, but the actual experience may drive you to DO something.
Enjoy the show.