In last week's blog, I teed up the topic of HD Voice for the first time in my blogs, and the fact that we have seen HD Voice codecs enter the enterprise. Unless there are clear productivity improvements though, with measureable ROI, IT managers will likely be reluctant to upgrade their existing systems. I can't imagine an IT manager upgrading to HD capable handsets and HD capable IP-PBXs just to get HD Voice. I can see for bids and RFPs today for IP-PBXs, for HD capable voice mail, for HD capable IVR, for HD capable conferencing, that HD Voice will be an item to be addressed. So my take is that IT managers will utilize HD Voice codecs over time as new systems are installed. This will take time. And will keep them islands.
But can more widespread deployment go faster? Sure it can, and it comes down to you (or me) as a consumer. The revenue we pay a mobile carrier every month is powerful. Very powerful. If a consumer started utilizing HD Voice, saw it as a differentiator, and then started demanding this feature, or put another way, started going to the first carrier to offer this feature, then that's a big voice to be listened to.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's start at the handset. The codec does require more DSP processing on the handset than is currently required. If the handset is reasonably priced, that is, not really more money than a premium video-enabled handset today, then we're getting somewhere. So yes, this means we're getting somewhere. Chipsets with wideband algorithms are available, with appropriate available DSP processing power, and are getting into these handsets now. As such, from my perspective, pricing shouldn't be an issue.
What about the network upgrades though? This is a trickier issue. There are protocols involved, so if the network supports TFO (for GSM) and TrFO (for CDMA2000), or can handle a software upgrade to support this, then the upgrade will be relatively easy.
The industry can technically do this. When then is the potential driver for installation of these HD Voice infrastructure elements? It's capturing your dollars.
One of the mobile operators will likely see this as a differentiator. It could be the one with the largest market share (to put pressure on the others) or it could be the upstart (to carve out their niche better). Or it could be that peer to peer HD Voice is impacting all of them and one wants to compete better. But whatever the reason, a mobile carrier deploys it. This operator is The Disrupter.