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Pulver: HD VoIP is the next ‘big thing’

VoIP visionary Jeff Pulver says higher quality voice can yield new revenues and is holding an HD Communications Summit to catalyze it

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VoIP industry visionary Jeff Pulver, who once created what became a VON event empire, is now betting on a new technology horse: HDVoice. At a new one-day conference, the HD Communications Summit,  May 21 in New York City, Pulver is hoping to galvanize an effort to bring a new level of quality to voice communications and, in the process, make wireline voice worth paying for once more.

“I believe it is going to be the most significant event in telecom in 2009,” said Pulver, in his usual understated way. “This is the dawn of a new era as we define new ways to communicate. We believe it will be empowering – people will feel positive about the prospect of revenue and opportunity in an industry that continues to feel doom and gloom. The purpose of this event is to bring together a leadership team, built around vision and change, and bring together telecom catalysts to effect this change to the future that is inevitable but should happen sooner rather than later.”

HD voice – or HD VoIP, since it will be IP-based – uses voice energy that lies outside the 3 kilohertz frequency of traditional telephone calls, according to Pulver and Daniel Berninger, chief executive officer of Free World Dialup and another backer of the HD event, creating a much richer voice quality that is easily noticeable and has the potential to generate new revenues and be a platform for new applications. There are existing HD Voice devices from manufacturers such as Siemens and Polycom, based on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) technology and the G.722 wideband codec standard.  

“We’re talking about the iPhone-ing of communications,” Pulver said. “It’s what Apple did with the iPhone –they taught everyone that you can teach an old dog new tricks. You can go into a very mature marketplace and disrupt it. By empowering a core of worldwide developers that write software. What I am envisioning is re-invigorating communications by letting each service provider have their own app store, as defined by their service platform, on an end-to-end IP communications network.”

The key is to enable the end-to-end delivery of HD voice, Pulver said. Today it happens in islands – many current PBXs use wideband voice as the default setting, so intra-company calls will typically use the higher quality capability, but calls leaving the enterprise revert to the lower quality value. Similarly, Skype and others may deploy wideband voice technology but only for their own islands of use.

“Wideband codecs – by Polycom, Audiocodes and Skype – may sound similar but mechanically are different,” Pulver said. As a result, transcoding or other technologies may be required to interconnect HD voice calls.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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