As I departed the glitz and glitter of Sin City, my head was packed full of bits and pieces of information about voice gleaned from numerous interviews spread across three days of meetings. There’s HD voice and APIs and voice-as-data all jockeying to be divulged.
UberConference announced its service now supports the Opus audio codec, enabling the company’s IP-based conference service to offer high quality audio to people dialing via Google Chrome and its built-in WebRTC voice support. UberConference CEO/Co-founder Craig Walker touted the variable bit-rate ability of the codec to adjust to changing bandwidth conditions on the fly.
At this point in time, UberConferencing appears to be the first IP-based service to support Opus. The company has an uphill battle convincing businesses on the virtues of higher-quality audio, however. Everyone from Callvine to ZipDX has offered HD voice support via G.722 for years, but uptake has been minimal. More recently, BT and Dolby partnered together to offer an HD voice service with spatial audio rolled in to provide virtual “positioning” of conference call participants.
Phone.com continues its business services evolution, planning to open up a set of APIs this fall to enable service customization through its value-priced VoIP service. CEO and founder Ari Rabban said he’s working with building a group of developers businesses can work with to tailor solutions to specific needs.
Smart calling and voice-as-data discussions took place on several occasions. HarQen is one of a new wave of more intelligent services processing voice into “Hypervoice” search-indexed and clickable information, enabling large numbers of recorded conversations, interviews, and lectures to be searched by key word and played back at the point(s) where the key word was used. President Ane Ohm spoke of how application of Hypervoice through its VoiceAdvantage service is speeding up interviewing at customer centers.
Fonality didn't have any formal announcements, but the company is now cash flow positive and continues to build its customer base.
Finally, businesses building a BYOD policy and/or looking for a new mobile carrier should put HD voice on the checklist of required features. HD voice service doesn't add cost for delivery in the handset and carriers don't charge extra for the service, but you get clearer phone calls. Time is money, especially for sales people, so less time spent on the phone having to repeat and clarify things over a poor connection translates to more productivity.
With T-Mobile US fully supporting HD voice, AT&T to support HD voice later this year, and Verizon promising HD voice in the first half of next year, it's time to make sure your workforce will be able to communicate more effectively both internally and externally.