High Definition (HD) Voice

While iPhone app’s are stealing telecom headlines, another revolution is stirring in an ancient phenomenon – human voice. With the new VoIP codecs, significant telephony improvements in audio are being made, and hearing is believing!

With the rapid transition of traditional phone service to VoIP, enabled by the tremendous flexibility of IP technology, new applications are emerging to create a richer user experience. IDC research shows that “the end user experience in current implementations of VoIP can be improved in a manner that is simple yet clearly demonstrates the value and superiority of IP-based communications.” (IDC: “Can You Hear What I Mean? Polycom Delivers HD Voice”, Stofa, 2006). With most of the hype surrounding mobile data applications, texting and social networking, voice is still regarded as the most important communications vehicle for conducting mission critical business, as well as the first choice in addressing the most important personal matters.

Decades ago, FM radio trumped the clarity, depth and range of sound transmitted by AM radio. Its “higher fidelity” was the result, in part, of its greater bandwidth component. A similar evolution in voice quality is being made in VoIP communications. Phone line quality, standardized by the old Bell Telephone system, which was measured in Hertz (Hz), was designed for voice in a low frequency band at around 3,000 Hz or 3 KHz. This “narrow band” frequency remained the standard for more than half a century. While voice quality saw some improvements in the 80’s and 90’s with digital switching and the deployment of fiber optics in carrier networks, the difference in quality was slight, and it was mainly in voice amplification and ambient noise reduction.

Today, a “wide band” IP technology is emerging, which is known as high definition (HD) voice. With HD voice, a carrier network device called a codec samples the sound stream 8,000 times per second and more than doubles the width of the sound spectrum reproduced – up to 7KHz, which adds significant depth and range to the audio – a much broader difference over standard phone line voice than just loudness, like FM is to AM. Phone line audio becomes as clear as face-to-face conversation.

You can hear the difference through a simulation on our HD voice web page and separately clicking on both buttons for “Standard Voice” and “Polycom HD Voice.” In order for you to achieve this level of quality in your office phone communications, you must have VoIP service with an HD voice application built into the carrier network, like our InfoTalk Pro product (most VoIP providers still don’t offer HD voice). In addition, you will need HD-enabled IP phones, like the Polycom SoundPoint series. These phones, we believe, are the best in business VoIP technology and are affordably priced. And the best news is HD voice is available through InfoStructure at no extra cost.