HD voice – otherwise known as wideband audio – is making a splash as it hits the call center scene, as it promises to make callers sound like they are literally in the same room as the agent. When you sit down and really think about it, who would oppose to having such a technology in their call center? The guys behind upstart or otherwise unknown VoIP services are the ones who actually began this trend. It makes sense, seeing how VoIP, or voice over Internet protocol, currently claims more than 900 million users, as reported by ABI Research last year.
Take, for example, Skype, a video chat service born in 2003 and then acquired by major player Microsoft (News - Alert) last year for about $8.5 billion. It seems that you have to have been hiding underneath a heavy rock to not know what Skype is, and that exactly proves my point, as the program was one of the first ever to tout HD voice.
Google also jumped the bandwagon when it recognized the value in HD voice, having paid $68.2 million in 2010 to acquire Global IP Solutions (News - Alert) (GIPS), a Norwegian firm that specializes in VoIP and video processing platforms.
So while HD only seemed like a term meant for TV, think again, as it is now being boasted by telephones all over the world. HD voice capabilities can certainly be expanded into the future for voice calls in and out of the call center, this Destination CRM article explains. “IP telephony delivers lower costs, greater flexibility, and higher voice quality than traditional telephone services, which is why several analyst firms predict that the vast majority of contact centers could have the technology in place within two years,” they add.
“VoIP has definitely gone mainstream now,” says Paul Stockford, an analyst at Saddletree Research, who also estimates that over 60 percent of contact centers currently integrate VoIP technology and that 13 percent are still “evaluating” it. “With VoIP, you can do HD voice fairly easy,” Stockford notes.
Implementing HD voice could just be the push that call centers need, and while it is still a relatively new addition and may not be completely sorted out (yet), it still stands as a shining example of something which could bring call centers to an untouched level of sophistication. Additionally, keep in mind that all “new” forms of technology or advancements made to any industry usually take time to be fine-tuned, usually proving to be worth the wait.
Furthermore, as call centers increasingly use voice recognition technology to manage and route inbound calls, the increased clarity which HD voice provides can only improve this interaction within interactive voice response (IVR) systems, says Destination CRM.
Let’s not forget that this increased voice understanding will increase the comprehension levels of call center agents, too, which will ultimately work to make call center interactions as seamless – and painless – as possible. When thinking about a call center, which places great emphasis on the proper pronunciation of words, numbers and the spelling out of letters, this seems like a great advancement to be made.
"HD voice will eliminate a lot of the misunderstandings and make the conversation go faster. The agent wouldn't have to ask the caller to repeat himself as often," says Jim Machi, senior vice president of marketing at Dialogic (News - Alert), an advanced communications systems provider.
By using digital signal processing technology, HD voice captures and transmits high-quality sound through SIP trunks over a broadband Internet connection or on a traditional data T1 circuit. While regular calls have a frequency of 300Hz to 3.4 kHz, frequency via HD voice ranges between 50 Hz on the low end and 7 kHz on the high end.
“That’s closer to the true human speech range, which includes sounds well above the 3.4 kHz range. As such, human tones at the very low and high ends of the audio spectrum can be lost with traditional, standard-definition audio.”
To stay in the know about everything IVR, be sure to follow major player in the IVR industry, Plum Voice, on Twitter (News - Alert) @PlumVoice.
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Edited by Rich Steeves