Enterprise Connect 2014– Dolby shows Voice Conference Phone, BT promotes MeetMe service

Orlando, Florida – BT and Dolby are marking their third year at Enterprise Connect promoting BT MeetMe with Dolby Voice conferencing.  This time around, Dolby showed off its Voice Conference Phone. The world has changed, and it hasn’t.

Pricing on the beautifully designed Dolby Voice Conference Phone wasn’t announced, but would be “comparable” to other conference phones (i.e. Polycom) on the market. 

A demo for analysts and media highlighted the device’s ability to deliver both high quality audio via the Dolby-based conferencing service as well as a spatial (audio location-based) experience for participants sitting around the device in a conference room setting, as well as for remote users via PC or mobile soft clients.

BT discussed its initial traction and statistics in promoting the Dolby conferencing service, to which it has an exclusive.   The telecommunications firm has secured 7 customers, is in active discussions with around 50 more.   Executives said they were surprised that 50 percent of conference traffic to date was IP based, indicating some “peer pressure” within companies to get participants to use the service for its higher quality an/or opt-in by users to use the higher quality service over PSTN-based participation.

But it’s not just about quality.  BT says initial MeetMe Dolby users are averaging 30 percent cost savings over PSTN-conferencing, and have the potential to save up between 20 percent to 50 percent, depending on usage. 

One should also note BT will gain cost savings as well.  The company can shut down legacy PSTN conferencing gear and consolidate on newer, more flexible IP and software based services.

DECT Forum announces first CAT-iq 2.0 handsets to get GSMA HD Voice logo

The DECT Forum has announced the first CAT-iq 2.0 certified handsets to carry the GSMA HD voice logo.  Sagemcom’s D49HD and the Swissvoice IH250 are the first broadband – and non-mobile — handsets to get the GSMA logo.

DECT Forum and the GSMA reached agreement in 2013 to enable CAT-iq 2.0 certified devices to use the GSMA HD voice logo.  Many other CAT-iq 2.0 certified handsets are expected to carry the HD voice logo in the future.

GSMA’s HD voice logo was originally created as a branding and education tool to help consumers become aware of mobile handset HD voice capability. 

IT EXPO East 2014–Snom, Yealink introduce new phones

Miami, Florida – Snom and Yealink announced new IP phones at IT EXPO this week.

The snom 715 is a new member of the 7xx series of phones. The full-featured SIP phone includes a dual-port Gigabit Ethernet switch for $139 manufactured suggested retail price. Features include support for G.722 (HD voice), up to four SIP lines, four line backlit black & white LCD display, five programmable function keys, and Wi-Fi capable.  In addition, the phone includes a pre-installed security certificate and remote management and provisioning capabilities.

Yealink is showcasing its T48G IP phone at IT EXPO.  Announced on January 22, 2014, the phone includes a 7 inch color touchscreens and the ability to support up to six individual SIP accounts.

Editorial–Apologies for the silence

I’ve been up to my neck in dealing with the fallout from CES – just because I couldn’t get a flight into town didn’t stop an onslaught of mail and follow-up calls.

In addition, I’ve been working with TMCnet to get the SmartVoice conference spun up next week at IT EXPO East in Miami.  The Tuesday, January 28 event has sessions on call recording, voice biometrics, voice analytics, voice quality (HD voice and more), and HyperVoice. 

If you are in Miami for IT EXPO, I strongly encourage you to sit on on the SmartVoice sessions.  Martin Geddes will be giving the keynote kickoff address, “From Dumb Calling to Smart Voice” at 10 AM ET. 

HD voice is an enabling technology for SmartVoice services. Everyone from Digium to Level 3 has a hosted/cloud voice offering these days, so the next act will be adding value for the end user and ARPU (average revenue per use) for the service provider.

You’ll be hearing more about SmartVoice (or Smarter Voice or Smarter Calling or whatever falls to mind out of the marketing cloud after everybody’s chewed on it) in the months to come.  Traditional “dumb” voice is a commodity.  Service providers are going to have to step up to add value just to keep ahead of the pack.

I’m hoping I’m going to catch up with folks at IT EXPO and some of the other industry events in the spring.  No, I won’t be in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress (Unless I hit the lottery), but there are other opportunities on the calendar I am considering at this point.

- Doug

HD voice arrives in New Zealand

Mobile 3G carrier 2degrees has announced it is now supporting HD voice service in New Zealand.

Phones supported include the Apple iPhone 5 and later versions (5c/5s), various Nokia models, the LG Nexus 4 & 5, HTC One, and Huawei Ascend P6.  It looks like the Samsung Galaxy family will be supported via firmware upgrade in the near future.

The usual terms apply to make HD calls – calls must be on-network and there’s no additional charge for HD voice service.

Limited briefing time available at International CES 2014

Editor-in-Chief Doug Mohney will once again be submitting himself to the pain that is CES (More formally, International CES 2014) in Las Vegas.

Mohney will be available for meetings at the following desktop press events–

Sunday, January 5: CES Unveiled (Mandalay Bay) and Startup Debut

Monday, January 6: Digital Experience (PEPCOM)

Tuesday, January 7: ShowStoppers.

Of the events listed above, I have had nothing but good experiences with ShowStoppers. The Leons have always been cordial and I’ve never had to stand in line for 50 minutes waiting for a badge to get into a pre-registered press event.

In addition, Mohney will be available for limited press briefing time on January 7 and 8. His schedule roughly runs–

January 7 morning – LVH suites

January 7 afternoon – LVCC North & Central Halls

January 8 morning – LVCC South Halls

January 8 afternoon – Venetian suites & Sands exhibit area

Priority will be given to companies that have previously briefed with HD Voice News, followed by anyone with “breaking news” announcements in association with voice quality and/or HD voice.

Doro, MTS Belarus get HD voice

Swedish-based Doro and MTS(?) announced HD voice moves this week.   This is Doro’s first HD voice announcement while MTS added Belarus to its list of Russian-speaking countries.

Doro is a handset manufacturer targeting senior citizens.  Two 3G clamshell feature phones—the Doro PhoneEasy 621 and PhoneEasy 622  — now support HD voice in all modes of operation. The company expects to roll out HD voice to more feature and smart phones in the months to come.

HD voice trials by MTS Belarus were announced in September of this year.  This week’s announcement marks the latest “fill in” of coverage for Eastern Europe, leaving  Sweden and Estonia as the final “hold outs.”  Some reports earlier this year implied Sweden would get HD voice through a VoLTE rollout, but it hasn’t happened yet.

MTS is the largest mobile operator in Russia and has licenses to operate in a number of bordering countries. It launched HD voice in its home territory in September 2012.

SmartVoice conference launched

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TMC Unveils SmartVoice Conference

Industry event devotes program to effectively adding value to the voice cloud

Norwalk, CT – December 5, 2013 – TMC and HD Voice News today announced the addition of their SmartVoice Conference, held January 28, 2014, at the Miami Beach Convention Center. This event will focus on the benefits of Smart Voice services such as call recording/archiving, Hypervoice text-to-speech indexing, voice biometrics and voice analytics. The expo provides attendees with actionable insights from top industry experts and companies on current and future state of the technology.

Call recording/archiving provides a detailed record of sales and call center interactions, as well as standard compliance activities in financial, health care, and legal firms. Adding Hypervoice text-to-speech indexing provides an easy search of all business conversations by key word or phrase with the ability to play back the corresponding. Voice biometrics provide an easy way to authenticate employees and customers, eliminating passwords and pass phrases while speeding up call center interactions. Voice analytics is the tool to datamine call archives, allows businesses to identify the best call center practices and sift through calls to discover market trends.

· From Dumb Calling to Smart Voice

· Call recording/call archiving

· Voice Biometrics – "My Voice is my passport"

· Voice quality – The cornerstone for Smart Voice Services

· From speech to text to HyperVoice

· Voice analytics -Mining call center traffic for competitive intelligence and business improvement

· Smart Voice, UC, and WebRTC – How do they all fit together?

“Smart Voice is a more efficient and cost-effective way to make calls and in a market filled with Cloud-Based VoIP/UC Services, carriers need innovative new services like this to compete,“ said Doug Mohney, HDVoice News Editor-in-Chief and conference chairman. “Having an event focused solely on Smart Voice Services gives attendees the chance to explore this growing opportunity and see what products, trends and technologies are coming down the pipeline and how it will increase ARPU.”

Registration is now open. The SmartVoice Conference is collocated with ITEXPO, held January 28-31, 2013, at Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Florida. For more information regarding the SmartVoice agenda please contact Doug Mohney.

For media inquiries, contact Ashley Baster. Companies interested in exhibiting, sponsorship or advertising packages for SmartVoice Conference should contact TMC’s Joe Fabiano at 203-852-6800 x132.


About TMC:

TMC is a global, integrated media company that supports clients’ goals by building communities in print, online, and face to face. TMC publishes multiple magazines including Cloud Computing, M2M Evolution, Customer, and Internet Telephony. TMCnet is the leading source of news and articles for the communications and technology industries, and is read by as many as 1.5 million unique visitors monthly. TMC produces a variety of trade events, including ITEXPO, the world’s leading business technology event, as well as industry events: Asterisk World; AstriCon; ChannelVision (CVx) Expo; Cloud4SMB Expo; Customer Experience (CX) Hot Trends Symposium; DevCon5 – HTML5 & Mobile App Developer Conference; LatinComm Conference and Expo; M2M Evolution Conference & Expo; Mobile Payment Conference; Software Telco Congress, StartupCamp; Super Wi-Fi Summit – The Global Spectrum Sharing and TV White Space Event; SIP Trunking-Unified Communications Seminars; Wearable Tech Conference & Expo; WebRTC Conference & Expo III; and more. Visit TMC Events for additional information.

About HD Voice News:

Since 2009, HD Voice News has tracked the growing ecosystem of wideband voice services, solutions, and hardware around the globe. The publication’s third report on the industry, “HD Voice 2013: Explosion,” is available on the TMCnet website.

Media and Analyst Contact:

Ashley Baster

Connect2 Communications.com

919-435-9112

Ashley@connect2comm.com

GSA confirms 222 LTE networks commercially launched worldwide, more coming

The Global mobile Supplier Association (GSA) latest update confirms commercial launched LTE services in 83 countries within the past 12 months.

All total, 474 operators in 138 countries are investing in LTE networks around the world, with a breakdown of 421 “firm operator commitments” to build networks in 128 countries, 53 additional countries engaged in trials and studies in 10 more countries. GSA predicts there will be 260 commercial LTE networks running in 93 countries by the end of this year.

Needless to say, LTE is the literal future of wireless, delivering peak downlink speeds of up to 150 Mbps in enhanced configurations.  LTE supports HD voice through Voice over LTE (VoLTE).  The VoLTE standard incorporates the AMR-WB codec as its default.

VoLTE is currently in commercial operation with several South Korean carriers. A number of carriers around the globe are running VoLTE trials, while AT&T and Verizon have vowed rollouts by 2014.

Editorial: From HD voice to Smart Calling

Since this venture fired up back in 2009, the world has (slowly, painfully) started to move away from narrowband and into better voice quality.

It will take (painfully, still) longer before the mobile world has adopted HD voice as its de facto standard, with delays to Voice over LTE (VoLTE) continuing to pop up despite more press releases about SRVCC and promises for more HD voice.  Even the consumer broadband world (outside of the U.S.) is moving to HD voice, as evidenced by recent service rollouts in such places as Lithuania, Turkey, and the Middle East.

Better voice quality, at least the idea and concept for it, has started to take root as service providers and services alike embrace voice as a hands-free user interface.

Hardware vendors have seen the light, with more of them putting two and three microphones in phones, tablets, and even laptops to do better onboard noise cancellation and voice processing. Dual speakers have become popular, enabling stereo and spatial audio effects with off-the-shelf devices that would have cost hundreds of dollars and specialized hardware a decade ago.

But for the most part, voice is still very “dumb” and frankly (with no apologies to the UC crowd) very dis-unified from other data types.  You make a phone call, taking notes on the side, you hang up, that’s it for over 70 percent or more of the business world. Follow-up is down through email.

Voice mail, this year’s whipping boy, can provide some intelligence via speech to text services, but the email transcript is often garbled.

Calls are recorded in various financial, health, and legal industries for regulatory requirements, but unless something goes wrong, the raw recordings typically don’t get reviewed.

Call centers represent the pinnacle of Smart Calling usage in the business world.  All inbound calls are recorded.  At the end of the day, the recordings are processed via speech-to-text with the resulting text data mined for best practices, improving call center agent performance, and sifted for competitive intelligence – who is offering deals to switch services, typically.

The greatest barriers for any business to engage in Smart Calling have been analog phone systems and the high cost of systems capable of grunging through narrowband recordings.  With businesses moving to IP PBXes and cloud-based services, voice is now (literally) data.  It can be recorded and processed just like any other inbound data type without the overhead of having to have humans transcribe recordings.

But voice also becomes more in a digital context.  People can stop taking notes, because transcriptions of calls become automatically available.  Indexing makes those transcriptions searchable for sales leads, support disputes, accounting review, and all other aspects of operations. 

HD voice and its successors are the building block for Smart Calling.  In the weeks to come, you should hear more about Smart Calling over at TMCNet, discussing recording, voice biometrics, voice analytics, and Hypervoice practices. 

Why am I pushing Smart Calling now? We have the technology (apologies to Oscar Goldman) for services to be delivered in a cost-effective manner.  Cloud-based VoIP/UC services are a dime a dozen, so carriers are going to have to get smarter and more innovative about offering value-added services that deliver better, more productive voice services on top of vanilla voice – while adding to ARPU.

– Doug