HD Potential

By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2007-09-11 Print this article Print

HD Potential The potential for high-definition VOIP technology is certainly intriguing. Phone systems are generally a very long-term investment, and the promise of improvements in the IP telecommunications space within the next few years makes the technology worthy of consideration—particularly as well-designed devices will enhance standard narrowband communications in the meantime. Digital-signal processor manufacturer Texas Instruments sees high-definition VOIP as a possible foundation for powerful applications down the road.
For starters, the improved voice clarity of high-definition VOIP will lead to more accurate speech recognition.
"If I have high-resolution sampling, I have high-quality audio, and I have speech recognition built into a system or product or service," said TI Director of Technical Strategy Tom Flanagan, in Germantown, Md. "The ultimate manifestation will be when we have enough bandwidth and high definition is widely used—I could be calling someone in France and having real-time translation going on." Such real-time translation is still a ways off, however. Processing capabilities need to continue to improve to a point where the translations can do phrases, rather than individual words, to maintain contextual meaning but without taking so long as to introduce too much delay into the call stream. What is VOIPs missing link? Find out here. Of more immediate interest to corporations may be the potential improvements high-definition voice could bring to fixed-mobile convergence solutions that bridge the use of cell phones to the corporate Wi-Fi network. High-definition voice could use a number of wideband codecs other than G.722, including one known as G.722.2, or AMR-WB (Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband). Wideband AMR has already been approved for use with UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System)-based third-generation cellular transmissions. This codec supports wideband audio samples but has the flexibility to scale back with limited connectivity. With support for this codec on the internal corporate PBX and desk phones, the potential exists for rich, high-definition voice calls between mobile workers and those back in the office. Page 4: Should You Heed the Call for HD Voice?

Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for eWEEK.com, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at agarcia@eweek.com.

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