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Codecs, Wideband & Stereo: A Conversation At AMOOCON

Ok, now with that fresh in your mind I’d like to expand on a few of points from the conversation.

From 3:49 into the recording, it’s said in reference to wideband telephony based upon G.722;

“It shocks people how good what they think a phone is can sound. When you listening to it on a soft phone on a PC with a headset (or something) people don’t associate that with being a phone. But when you actually put a phone in front of them, and they pick it up and, WOW this a phone and it sounds so good! “

…and…

“…people are just using it to socialize….for that the audio quality matters in a way that for a quick phone call it doesn’t.”

This is a very good and interesting observation made by Tim Panton. Simply stated, the context of communication matters. A quick phone call to get some information is very different from a lengthy call that is truly a means of “telepresence.” That is, a sustained call making up for the fact that you are not physically there.

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My personal experience definitely supports the use of wideband in this application. I’ve been spending a lot of time away from home the past few months. A wideband call between two soft phones, and using high quality spearkerphone devices on our PCs, lets my wife and I conduct lengthy calls comfortably. The enhanced call quality makes it more like we’re in the same room. It’s as if, if I just looked up from what I was doing, she’d be right there.

Part of that sense comes from the fact that my brain is not laboring to understand what she’s saying. I can hear the sounds from the TV that she has on in the background. I know what she’s talking about as she comments on something she sees on TV.

John Todd’s tale of experimental use of Polycom video gear as part of his teleworking further illustrates this point. When the communication channel is more transparent, whether that is via enhanced audio quality or adding a visual component, the communication flows more naturally.

Simply stated…quality matters!

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