Dolby Voice boosts conference calls by understanding the human brain

Anyone who’s had an office jobs will know that conference calls can be a real nightmare, plagued by poor audio quality and accidental interruptions.

However, Dolby may have resolved these issues by studying the science of the human brain to bring conference calls into the 21st century.

Read more: High costs and time constraints push 60% of companies to choose conference calls over face-to-face meetings

Dolby Voice uses advanced signal processing to make those taking part in a conference call feel like they’re in a face-to-face meeting.

Researchers at Dolby found that most of the issues surrounding conference calls emerge because the human brain is not designed to understand conversations where multiple voices come from one place. It means that individual voices can be hard to distinguish and it is difficult to know when an individual is preparing to speak and when they’re waiting for you to step in.

“Traditional conference calls destroy most of the information that we instinctively rely on,” wrote Dr. Mike Hollier, vice president and chief technical officer at Dolby Laboratories. “All the voices come from one place, so we have trouble distinguishing who’s talking. The audio quality is terrible, so it’s hard to understand what is being said. And we can hear only one person at a time, so we lose all those audio cues that signal when someone disagrees or wants to be heard.”

Dolby Voice, which will be included in the BT MeetMe with Dolby Voice service, will make it feel like each individual voice is coming from a different place in the room, meaning it’s easy to identify each participant. The audio fidelity of each call has also been improved, while the technology also blocks out background noise to ensure the upmost clarity.

Dr. Hollier believes that the benefits of Dolby Voice mean that conversations and, therefore, businesses will be more productive.

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“Conference calls go from being something people dread to a tool that allows significant collaboration among teammates across the city or across the globe,” he said. “And that unlocks the full potential of an organization in a way that we believe will be transformative.”