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High definition has a similar meaning for both audio and video. HD is simply higher quality than analog or even digital services.
Clearly, HD audio conferencing can get pretty technical, especially with voice codecs and the role of SIP trunking. But think about the first time you saw HDTV -- the difference was clear, and most people won't go back to standard-definition television. This idea extends to video conferencing, especially with room-based systems where the experience tries to mimic meeting in-person.
The stakes aren't as high with audio conferencing, but HD audio can definitely make for better meetings. The value, however, largely depends on the use cases. When employees are calling into a conferencing bridge from their desk phones, audio quality is generally good. HD audio conferencing will definitely sound better, but it isn't a must-have.
For employees calling into these bridges from their mobile devices, HD audio conferencing isn't a factor -- at least, for now. Audio quality has never been a virtue of mobility, and end users have accepted this as part of the convenience tradeoff. More importantly, mobile devices do not generally support HD audio, but, in time, that will change.
HD audio conferencing is a factor in group settings, such as meeting or huddle rooms. Audio conferencing endpoints vary widely in quality, and the best ones are engineered to support the variability that comes with these settings. Some participants will be closer to the endpoint than others, and some will be moving around as they speak. Acoustics in the room can vary widely, and there is always the issue of multiple discussions in the room that make the audio hard to follow.
HD audio, coupled with a well-engineered conferencing endpoint, provides a level of clarity that addresses these challenges far better than legacy audio. The improvements may not be absolute, but they are noticeable enough that the overall experience will be more productive.
Audio conferencing users need to consider more facets to this topic, but it's worth noting that HD audio applies to audio conferencing.
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