Jeff Pulver on HDVoice

Today Jeff Pulver posted a blog entry giving his sense that HDVoice will spark a renaissance in the VoIP world. He feels that carriers will be able to differentiate themselves on the basis of quality and earn customer loyalty. He’s outright enthusiastic about HDVoice.

I find Jeff’s focus in this area encouraging. Jeff has a lot of clout and could help push wideband telephony into the thoughts of people who might otherwise pass it by.

pulvercommunicatorI would hope that part if his energy in this area might be channeled through the now languishing FWD. Adding a suite of wideband codecs to their Pulver Communicator could provide the missing link in terms of a broadly available wideband capable soft phone. Now that G.722, G.722.1 and G.722.1C are all available on a royalty free basis that a good place to start.

The term “HDVoice” is wholly inappropriate as its trademarked by Polycom. I prefer to use the term “wideband telephony.”

One comment on Jeff’s Facebook page is fairly telling of the public perception of VoIP in general.

The real question I have Jeff, is whether we’ll have toll quality (or better) VoIP calls. Achieving better-than-cell quality is easy, even with two tin cans and a piece of string – but beating the equivalent of a full 64kbps call will be tough, IMHO. (One could argue that using G.711 would do the trick – but that seems hardly optimal.)

This is obviously someone who has never heard a wideband call. Lets banish the term “toll quality” from our vocabulary. In the face of wideband calling “toll quality” is simply a misnomer. Why listen to AM radio when you can listen to FM?

G.711 will, at best, be the equivalent of a POTS line…never better. There is an enhanced G.711 codec but its enhancements primarily adapt it to better deal with packet networks.

OTOH, genuine wideband capable codecs (G.722, G.722.1, G.722.1, G.719, AMR-WB, CELT,  SPEEX-WB) simply sound dramatically better.

Wideband telephony is not just the stuff of theory. It’s being done today!

I’ve done it. So have many others.

You should, too!

  • I posted on Pulver’s site directly, but basically, I don’t think HD is very interesting. Yes, it is nicer than narrowband, but it doesn’t do anything for sales and in fact, it somewhat embarrassing to offer as a feature.

    Yes, this new expensive phone system offers better voice quality on internal calls.

    I think the IP phone has a lot more to do than offer us broadband voice to justify its price. If it wants to be invaluable, it has a ton to do. We need to disrupt the value proposition,not just improve the voice spectrum.

  • I’m not completely in agreement with Pulver. I don’t see a VoIP rennaisance in the offing, but I do see value in wideband voice. As someone who has worked from home for over a decade, and worked closely with overseas coworkers I appreciate the benefits that wideband brings even if it doesn’t impact calls to the PSTN.

    Quality is always a hard sell to the masses. And yet Mercedes, Lexus, Acura and others have carved out a niche selling on quality.

    I think it will be a significant factor in driving the adoption of IP peering, driving more calls off the PSTN.

  • I am looking for Service Providers across the board to adopt wideband “FM” VoIP platforms. There is no reason for any of us to suffer from low bit rate codecs anymore.

    I envision a time where FM quality VoIP will be seemless across mobile phones, IP Phones and will eventually transform the PSTN. I expect the public telephone network to move to FM quality VoIP over the next 3-5 years starting in 2009.

  • I suspect that this transition will be driven as much by the natural turnover of equipment than any rush to deploy wideband. Equipment manufacturers, such as Audio Codes, will soon start to offer wideband capability more broadly. That will be a competitive reality in the hardware space. As such the natural turnover of gear will see more wideband capable plant installed.

  • What surprises me is that FreeSWITCH is now 3 years old, open source and supports 8khz, 16khz, 32khz and 48khz yet Mr Pulver has never come across our software. I would have suspected a proponent of open source of his stature would be delighted that there is an existing FREE software that works, and has worked for some time, with several Commerical HD phones including Snom, Polycom, Grandstream and Aastra. It also supports TLS SIP and sRTP for the security minded which is the other exciting new feature to crop up in IP phones.

    • Indeed. Jeff’s blog post stems from a meeting with the CEO of Audio Codes when he was last in Israel. If you follow Jeff’s activities at all you’ll know that his focus has been almost exclusively in Social Media for some time. It’s unclear if he’s been vigorously involved in VoIP in recent years. Even so, he remains a pioneer, and a major influence in the space.