Audioconferencing is sometimes termed teleconferencing, but it is to do with the ability to hear and interact in full duplex with at least one other location.
There is more and more a need to reduce travelling time, consider cost savings and increase productivity and therefore audioconferencing alone (sometimes mixed with sharing data in real time) can be an excellent low cost communication solution.
VoIP (Voice over IP) and analogue (PSTN) based systems are available for small and large group scenarios.
All too often we see installations that have a large room and one conference phone in the middle of the table. This is fine if only a small number of people seated around the phone’s location wish to participate, but for larger groups and where VC (videoconferencing) is required in the same facility other options are possibly more appropriate.
Solutions include the following:
Standard Conference Phones
Standard phones are available and operate at 3 kHz bandwidth. Some models have the ability to have additional microphones fitted.
Wideband Conference Phones
This is the minimum performance level that AvexiA generally recommend. Such phones will operate at 3 kHz in a ‘narrow’ band call but also operate at 7 kHz when teamed with a suitable wideband device. The difference in audio fidelity is remarkable. Optional extended microphones and loudspeakers are available and some units have the ability to link directly with VC CODEC’s to replace the VC microphones and therefore operate at even higher bandwidth rates of up to 14 kHz.
Whilst some conference phones are better than others (especially the wideband models) they still do not provide an adequate solution for some larger rooms or where it’s not appropriate to have a phone on the table. Therefore, fully integrated group systems can be installed as part of the audiovisual solution.
Typically, small condenser microphones are either placed on the table (or engineered into the table) and linked with an AEC (Acoustic Echo Canceller). In fact the AEC is generally made up of multiple echo-cancellation circuits (one for each microphone is recommended). Linked or built into the AEC is a telephone hybrid that allows telecommunication, and in most installations this is controlled via an AV control panel (typically an LCD touch screen that controls all the AV components and often, also the room environment).
It should be noted that teleconferences and videoconferences can be conducted at the same time if so desired. There is essentially no limit as to the number of participants (in the local room) with this type of solution and it is generally the preferred solution for large and prestigious Boardrooms.