Hardly anyone looks forward to a conference call on the Web, in large part because the quality of the audio is anywhere from hollow to inconsistent. After a few minutes, most calls wind up being dominated by one person because trying to have an actual conversation is just too difficult.
BT and Dolby Laboratories are out to change that with a new BT MeetMe with Dolby Voice audio service that brings high-quality audio to conference calls over a Voice over IP (VoIP) connection.
According to BT Conferencing CEO Howard Dickel, the quality of the audio on a conference call goes well beyond what people hear; it also affects how much people actually participate in a meeting. Andrew Border, vice president of the Communications Business Group at Dolby adds that the quality of BT MeetMe with Dolby Voice makes it possible to have much more natural conversations because it’s simply easier to discern who is speaking at any given time. That’s an overlooked capability, notes Dickel, that is especially important during any customer-facing conference call.
Dickel says BT plans to charge a premium to use the BT MeetMe with Dolby Voice service above and beyond what it currently charges to use the existing BT MeetMe service. In addition, BT also plans to make client software available for devices running Apple iOS or Google Android to extend the BT MeetMe with Dolby Voice to reach into the realm of mobile computing.
Whether the BT MeetMe with Dolby Voice will put the final nail in the coffin for the conventional phone remains to be seen. But the primary reason that people don’t use their PCs to make phone calls is because of the quality of the audio. If that issue goes away, then it’s probably only a matter of time before telephone handsets go the way of the dodo bird.