Guest editorial: What can CAT-iq do for HD Voice?

With the CAT-iq Developer’s Conference coming up next month in The Netherlands and the DECT standards embraced by France Telecom and CableLabs, it seems worthwhile to hear what CAT-iq supporter DSP Group thinks of the technology.

Contributed by:

Oz Zimerman
Corporate Vice President of Marketing
DSP Group

Most TV viewers are now accustomed high definition video quality and won’t settle for anything less, but high definition audio for telephone communications is still in its infancy. Recent studies prove that subscribers can hear a substantial improvement in audio quality with HD Voice and they are willing to pay more for natural, easier listening. In addition there are a host of applications in the call center and medical industry where advanced voice recognition capabilities provided by HD voice could have significant business benefits.

However carrier adoption remains the biggest obstacle. That’s because moving to HD requires a network with an IP core, and a network equipment upgrade which is time consuming and costly. It also requires more overhead in terms of the bandwidth to support the increase in data traffic. Furthermore, to make the traffic run in a multi-carrier environment requires some consensus as to codecs used in the network and for endpoints — right now there is no industry standard.

Besides all of these challenges there is the additional hurdle of interoperability. In order for callers to enjoy the full benefits of HD Voice, gateways handsets and bases must be compatible. Here is where CAT-iq™, or Cordless Advanced Technology – Internet and Quality comes into play.

CAT-iq™ is the global technology platform for wireless voice, light data communications and broadband home connectivity, and is the registered trademark of the DECT Forum (www.dect.com). Widely embraced by all leading European operators and already implemented in some home gateways and handsets, CAT-iq ensures interoperability between DECT phones and other VoIP and Internet-based services.

CAT-iq provides standards for basic and advanced phone functions that enable callers using equipment from different manufacturers to enjoy the benefits of high clarity voice and all the advanced features of IP phones. Recent interoperability testing with DSP Group and Lantiq confirmed that advanced features of HD Voice including caller ID, multi-line support, synchronized call lists and call forwarding, will function fully across gateways and handset makes and models.

In addition, to ensuring successful communications between two different calling parties, CAT-iq standards provide more flexibility for consumers. For example, multimedia phones in the kitchen can include web browsing for recipes, family photos, and address books, and can still use intercom and call forwarding while connecting with more basic phones in each of the kids’ rooms. Consumers can pick and choose the functionality they need without having to bet everything on one manufacturer.

History has shown that innovations that improve the user experience such as FM Radio and HDTV can succeed even though they require revamping infrastructure. For HD Voice, compatibility is also critical. Once the IP core networks and supporting equipment are in place, CAT-iq standards for advanced phone features can be the key that will enables subscribers everywhere to experience the benefits of improved voice quality.

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