Martin Geddes

The Hidden Value of HD Voice

Although HD Voice is a leap forward in quality of service, surprisingly (for some) it has not been a significant source of profit for the carriers. Why is that? The job of the telecoms service provider is to create performance and reliability. Application providers cannot do that for themselves. And it is that lack of reliability that inhibits OTT players, like Skype, from collecting a premium.

Yet the OTT services have trained the consumer to accept less and pay even less for connectivity services. This shift in the consumer mindset means that HD Voice, no matter how much better, is unlikely to manifest new profits. Today, end users think quality connectivity is something they are rightly due.  

And this is precisely where Hypervoice comes into the picture. 

Whilst HD Voice and Hypervoice are distinct technologies, they are certainly cousins in the voice innovation space, sharing many similar technical, commercial and organisational issues. The essence of Hypervoice is to treat voice as a rich source of (persistent) data, not just a two-way (ephemeral) audio channel. Therefore, it would seem on the face of it that HD Voice has little to do with Hypervoice, since it just enriches the latter, without changing the former. However, that would miss several interesting opportunities where the two intersect.

HD Voice commercially aligns with Hypervoice in a series of intriguing ways. Telephony has mostly been an undifferentiated commodity offering. However, there have been successful efforts in the past to create differentiated voice services. A good example is Sprint’s entry into the long distance market, with its “pin drop” campaign, that emphasises the clarity of all-digital fibre optic calling. HD voice has been brewing for a while, and is just reaching the mainstream. 

Hypervoice technology is the next stage in the game of creating differentiated, value-added voice service offerings. 

Inevitably, what is a differentiator eventually becomes table stakes for market participation, as customer expectations rise. HD Voice and Hypervoice will both have this fate, and that is a good thing: we call it progress.