Last week I published an article from TI on the future of VoIP. The most interesting prediction of this article is that we are about to see a revolution in voice quality thanks to wideband codecs.
And TI is only one of the many companies predicting a future of high-definition voice. For example, Infineon launched it high-definition DuSLIC-xT2 VoIP chip last week.
I love to play the role of the skeptic, but this is one prediction I can't dispute. The benefits of high-definition voice are just too obvious. Now that VoIP has driven the cost of telephony so low, voice quality has become a major differentiator between service providers. This gives service providers a strong incentive to go high-definition.
And the quality improvements will be much more than a marketing gimmick. Standard-quality codecs sacrifice a lot of quality for the sake of bandwidth. As a result, their performance leaves a lot to be desired. For example, it can be very difficult to distinguish between consonants like "s" and "f." Things are even worse for speakers of Mandarin and other Asian languages, which tend to have higher frequency content than Western languages. Thus, I believe consumers will be quick to recognize and demand the superior performance of wideband voice codec.
For me, the big unanswered question is how VoIP providers will address the problem of delay. VoIP systems can have unpleasantly high delays, and high-def voice won't do anything to solve this problem.