London - Although conferencing and collaboration tools have evolved dramatically in just a few short years, the most commonly used conferencing service audio conferencing has largely remained unchanged in terms of quality. According to Frost & Sullivan, a new solution introduced recently by British Telecom (BT) in partnership with Dolby is predicted to change the sound of audio conferences worldwide.
User experience of audio conferencing has become synonymous with poor quality sound, echoes, interruptions, and uncertainty about when to interject. As a communications tool, audio conferencing can suffice where the alternative is expensive travel fares. However, as a tool for collaborative working and enhancing the productivity, it falls far short of providing a truly collaborative working experience.
In response to a growing body of research detailing the shortfalls of audio conferencing as a collaboration tool, BT has partnered with Dolby Laboratories to launch BT MeetMe with Dolby Voice, a premium audio conferencing solution that aims to make conferencing participants sound as if they are in the same room. During testing the solution both in a conference room on dedicated endpoint, and on a smart phone - the audio quality was exceptional, and conversation flowed naturally, void of the speaker hesitation that is characteristic of standard audio conferencing, said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst, Mark Hickey. The mobile experience was easy to configure via the MeetMe app and provided a similarly high quality experience.
The Dolby Voice soft client integrates with MeetMe WebJoin, which runs as standard on PCs and Macs. It also integrates with Cisco WebEx and Microsoft Lync platforms through MeetMe. Callers can also join via standard phone lines where there is no Internet connection, while apps for iOS and Android are expected in 2014. High fidelity audio is much like switching from analogue to HD television. Once one has experienced it, it is very difficult to go back, summarised Mr Hickey. Improvements to the quality of audio conferencing are long overdue. Price has persisted as a barrier for many years. If BT and Dolby deliver their high quality service at a competitive cost to the consumer, they are poised to capture a greater share of the global conferencing services market, which is set for continued growth.
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