I had a good chat with Jeff Pulver last week. We were long overdue. Since the beginning of the year, Jeff’s been a whirlwind announcing no fewer than 4 events in the last six months. Among the many things we discussed was his recent HD Communications Summit. The event itself caused a stir. Afterward, Jeff was on fire, talking about the people that had shown up and the enthusiasm for the technology.
Anybody who has ever experienced a Skype call will identify with the benefits of wideband audio immediately. By increasing the spectrum of audible frequencies from the extremely limited capabilities of today’s telephone systems to something more akin to an FM radio, the experience becomes more engaging and less fatiguing.
So far VoIP has been about cheap minutes, and not much more. The VoIP “industry” (as opposed to the communications industry) has been a giant arbitrage play pitting toll based minutes against bandwidth. Jeff thinks that HD voice could change that. Now others are coming around to the same viewpoint. IDC’s Rebecca Swensen was quoted by VoIPPlanet.com saying: “Originally, cost was the number one reason businesses moved to VoIP, with features and functionality becoming a distant second and third. Now, features and functionality are running a tight race with costs for first place.” And according to a recent survey by Global IP Solutions, fifty-seven percent of those surveyed felt that conference calls would be the biggest beneficiary of HD Voice.
Today’s 3Khz audio standard dates back to 1937. In an age of crystal clear video, and concert quality audio, all streamable across digital networks, it seems inconceivable that we wouldn’t want more from the telephone.