ChannelVision Sept-Oct 2017

Contributed by Yealink Conferencing is important for B2B as well as B2C communications and has be- come common among individuals as well. However, there are several trends that continue to shape this market, including the critical importance of audio quality. “Conferencing technologies have ex- panded beyond the desktop phone with speakerphone capability,” said Stone Lu, vice president at Yealink. “We are in the second and third generation of confer- encing devices. The advent of faster au- dio processors allows designers to pro- duce effective noise and echo canceling software. The quality of the microphones in the conferencing technologies has also improved allowing multiple speak- ers to talk simultaneously and adjust to the speaker’s voice volume.” Audio conferencing, which is part of unified communications (UC), is the most common form of conferenc- ing. Audio conferencing is included in videoconferencing. Audio is included when people share documents and discuss them. Audio conferencing is the default for everybody. Thus, it used to be that conferenc- ing services were offered by telephone companies. Conferencing was added to the PBX and Centrex. We have now mi- grated into cloud conferencing services in various forms. Sometimes conferencing services are even free (Google, Skype). The VoIP providers also offer conferenc- ing services. The thread among the many choices is the requirement for a device such as a desk phone, softphone or con- ferencing phone. The better the device design, the better the voice quality, the easier it is to set up the conference. It should be noted that although text has been growing in popularity, espe- cially with mobile devices, the mobile device is still a voice system with text as an adjunct. In a similar vein, video- conferencing technologies are com- mon, less expensive than they once were and offer high-definition picture quality – yet audio reigns here too: the video is no good without a good HD audio conference combined with it. Audio, web and video conferenc- ing are now part of the UC mix, which integrates enterprise communication services such as instant messaging (IM), presence information, IP tele- phony, mobility features, desktop shar- ing, data sharing, speech recognition and unified messaging (UM). RemoteWorker Growth The U.S. workforce has increased 12 percent since 2005. The number of people working remotely has increased 115 percent in the same time period. This means that more people will be conferencing who do not reside at a corporate or branch office. Conferencing technology has been invading the work-at-home market dur- ing the last decade. This means that the remote worker needs conferencing technology and tools available to them. Some remote workers prefer a confer- ence phone rather than a desk phone with speakerphone capability. Huddle Rooms Any room within an office can be a conference room. Traditionally, conference rooms have been specific locations within the office building. However, more people are setting up conferences, usually audio, temporarily in other rooms called huddle rooms. In many offices, huddle rooms outnumber conference rooms. The huddle rooms are not designed as conferencing facilities. They are temporary. Confer- encing technologies have to adapt to the huddle room environment as well as the traditional conference room. Collaboration from the Desktop Although many meetings are con- ducted in conference rooms, it is also becoming common that conferencing is done from someone’s desktop. The most important factor in desk- top audio conferencing is sound qual- ity. Sound quality typically delivered by a laptop or desktop computer is not particularly good. Sound quality, called clarity, is extremely important to ensure there is no confusion, misun- derstanding or errors created during the audio conference. BetterTime-to- Conference One of the major problems with conferencing technologies in the past has been the requirement for training Trends in Conferencing RevolveAroundVoice C onferencing and collaboration are common supporting business operations. Core Communications Channel Vision | September - October, 2017 76