Audio Quality in Video Conferences
- On November 19, 2016
- echo cancellation, noise reduction, Video Conference
In the last couple of years the percentages of employees that work from home rapidly increases. There are three main reasons for this phenomenon: (1) Efficiency. No need to spend hours driving to/from the office and in many cases the amount of interrupts while at home is lower than at the office. (2) Cost. When the employees work from home the infrastructure/office cost for the company are dramatically reduced. (3) Technology. This is the key enabler for this phenomenon. In the last years robust communication lines and tools have evolved that enable to seamlessly bridge the geographic gap between the physical office and the virtual work place.
In this post we will cover the technology area.
Following are the top important technology improvements that enable affordable high quality video conferences:
- Worldwide adoption of the VoIP technology. This technology enables passing audio & video using standard network protocol. Many tools use VoIP to pass the call on the freely available Internet cloud.
- Sufficient Internet bandwidth in the “last mile”. In the last couple of years the Internet bandwidth that reaches most households in the world has increased dramatically. This is a critical factor especially for video calls which require a lot of bandwidth compared to the legacy audio calls.
- The cost of powerful computers (including mobile ones) and high quality web-cams was significantly reduced.
Although the technology is great and the usage of video conferences for business purpose has risen dramatically, there are still few issues remain that yet needs to be solved.
Echo and Feedback
Whenever one of the participants in the call is in hands-free environment, there is a risk of echo and feedback that might also ruin the quality of the call for all other participants. This can be caused by many factors, like: software or hardware malfunction, low quality of devices/software, inappropriate/conflict of drivers etc. In some cases drastic measures like forcing “half-duplex” calls are deployed to minimize the risk for echo but these drastic measures reduce the overall quality of the call.
If one of the participants is located in a noisy environment, this will influence the quality of the call for all other participants. Noisy environment does not necessarily have to be outdoors it can as well be indoors – for example whenever children are playing/talking/shouting near one of the participants in the call, the noisy will be heard by all other participants.
Is there a solution ?
SoliCall provides a variety of software solutions for echo cancellation and noise reduction. For example SoliCall Pro was designed to be the ‘Go To’ solution for PCs that are used in video conferences. In addition, SoliCall has recently teamed up with Jell Networks to provide tailored high quality solutions for business in the US.