Editorial – Top 5 reasons to go to the HD Voice Summit at 2010 CES

On Wednesday, January 6, 2010, the HD Voice Summit at 2010 CES will take place at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  Here are five reasons (and one bonus factor) to sign up today–

Reason #1 – Proliferation

HD voice is here and spreading around the globe a lot faster than many people think. Europe is implementing HD voice services on broadband and wireless services at a rapid clip.  France Telecom has over 500,000 HD voice broadband users and has recently launched mobile HD voice service in Moldova; other carriers are following suit.

Numerous service providers in North America ranging from Phone.com to Optimum Lightpath have launched HD voice services this year. Ooma – yes, the guys with “The Talker” commercials – is quietly rolling out HD voice service on its second generation telo hardware in North America while 8×8 will have around 50,000 SMB phones using HD voice once it finishes its firmware upgrade by the end of the year.

In short, HD is happening, and it might be happening right next to your ear.

Reason #2 – Policy & Politics

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is calling for comment on how to structure a regulatory path to move the legacy PSTN into an all-IP world and moving USF money away from “yesterday’s communications infrastructure” and into broadband.

HD voice is bound to be on the list of “Must have” features for an all-IP voice network as the phone system moves into the 21st century and dumps outdated audio standards established in 1937.  (Yes, 1937!).

Reason #3 –  Technology

Just what defines HD voice? Is Skype’s new SILK codec “more” HD than the established G.722 standard? How do those two play with AMR-WB, the emerging standard for mobile HD voice traffic?  And how do you transcode and interconnect all of those formats with each other and the legacy PSTN?  Panels will delve into the full technology chain of delivering HD voice.

Reason #4 – People

Over 20 of the top HD Voice “players” in the telecommunications industry will be participating in the HD Voice Summit, including Polycom CTO Jeff Rodman, Skype GM Jonathan Christensen, Ooma CMO Rich Buchanan, Ericsson VP Patrik Ringqvist, Panasonic Communications Company of North America President Bill Taylor, DSP Group VP Mike Rude, and GIPS VP of Engineering Jan Linden.  There will literally be a couple hundred of decades of experience of IP communications experience in one room and you’d be well advised to listen to what they have to say.

Reason #5 – Focusing and Face-to-Face

Webinars have their uses, but there’s a big difference between listening to one while you’ve got three to five windows running in your office and taking an afternoon to commit and focus on HD voice.  And I’ve yet to meet the webinar that spurred spontaneous discussions among the participants during a session and in the hallway following the event.

What’s more, you can follow up with the people and participating companies on the CES exhibit floor the following day, getting your hands on the products and people who are making HD Voice happen around the world.

The Bonus Factor — Hammered by the recession and the “You shouldn’t go to Vegas because it looks like you’re having too good of a time” factor, most Las Vegas hotels are cutting rates and offering deals to get CES conference attendees in their rooms. Check out www.harrahs.com/geekout and the official CES hotel reservations page for some interesting comparison shopping.

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