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The Ins and Outs of HD Audio

on May 26, 2016

HD audio may not be a must-have for businesses right now, but advances in new technology and mobility may change that in the future.

It’s 2016. You head to your local theater to see the latest Star Wars film, but instead of John William’s Oscar winning score blaring through the HD surround sound—the music comes from a 20 inch boom box. You’d likely walk out. No, you'd definitely walk out.

For some time now, HD video has been the selling point of many corporations’ conferencing technology systems, while the audio aspect of the system tends to be forgotten. And while don’t expect a videoconference to transport us “to a galaxy far far away,” considering its many applications, it’s surprising that HD audio hasn’t had the same attention put to it as HD video has, especially as we rely so heavily today on audio and video collaboration—often globally—while doing business today. One reason high def audio hasn’t taken off in the same way as HD video has is because, in part, we’ve chosen to sacrifice quality for convenience.

Create Better Huddle Rooms with Better Sound

While videoconferencing brings the person-to-person experience to people no matter their location, audio quality needs are largely dictated by the group and setting. Large conference rooms may have to contend with less-than-ideal acoustics, and multiple discussions in the room may make the conference difficult to follow with standard audio.

This is especially true in group settings, s reported recently on Tech Target's searchunifiedcommunications.com site, “HD audio conferencing is a factor in group settings, such as meeting or huddle rooms. Audio conferencing endpoints vary widely in quality, and the best ones are engineered to support the variability that comes with these settings. Some participants will be closer to the endpoint than others, and some will be moving around as they speak. Acoustics in the room can vary widely, and there is always the issue of multiple discussions in the room that make the audio hard to follow. HD audio, coupled with a well-engineered conferencing endpoint, provides a level of clarity that addresses these challenges far better than legacy audio. The improvements may not be absolute, but they are noticeable enough that the overall experience will be more productive.” And, at the end of the day, increased productivity is what we're all after.

Embrace HD Audio for Better Conferencing

Most people who connect to meetings remotely use bridges (devices used in telecommunications to connect local area networks (LANs) to their LANs with the same protocols) that typically supply reasonable audio, but reasonable may no longer be enough to prove the quality of your corporation or business to clients. Just as glitchy images can tank a proposal – low quality sound can too. It can also make your company look like a freshman trying to play on a varsity team. 

In group settings, HD audio can be enormously beneficial by creating an atmosphere where the sound quality is so seamless the technology can be ignored; people can move while they speak without worrying about where to talk into, meetings can be held with larger groups, and rooms noises like a/c or loud typing won’t affect the meeting’s productivity. With HD audio, once the volume is set, no one will have to think about the audio system again. Modern business relies heavily on mobile technology and remote collaboration, so ensuring clear connections and accessibility are crucial.

The Future of HD Audio for Business

The technology behind HD audio doesn’t require enormous upgrades, and the bandwidth requirement is very comparable to narrow band audio connections. Legacy audio systems may be good enough for most conferencing needs – but that’s all they are – good enough. For businesses investing in video and audio conferencing, it would behoove them to consider upgrading to HD audio. What feels like "an option" today, will soon be the norm, as more and more organizations opt for remote business practices and aim for global productivity.

Image source: StockSnap.io