Global IP Solutions: Positioning Codecs, Including SILK

Last week Skype announced that their new superwideband SILK voice codec would be made available royalty-free to any vendor who wants to incorporate it into their calling infrastructure. So how does this impact a voice engine supplier such as Global IP Solutions?

Very simply Global IP Solutions focuses on selling “engines” – voice engines for voice calling, mobile voice engines for mobile devices (initially iPhone) and video engines for video calling and messaging. These engines are then embedded in customer applications developed by IBM Lotus Live, Yahoo, Oracle and many other software publishers.

A voice or video codec is one component of these “engines”. The value-add and differentiation comes with the feature set of the entire “engine” which will address issues such as:

  • bandwidth management (adapting to network and end point conditions)
  • jitter and packet loss (addressing packet errors and synchronization)
  • establishing a connection between parties (with GIPS this will be a SIP connection)
  • user’s audio environment: echo cancellation, background noise
  • battery life (for voice engine on mobile devices)

Bottom line for the GIPS customer is to supply a bidirectional Internet connection as well as a speaker and microphone connection. GIPS then worries about all the digital signal processing and related voice quality management issues. From the GIPS “Implementing Voice and Video over IP for the iPhone and Smartphones” White Paper (registration required):

GIPS iPhone Voice Engine Diagram

While GIPS developed the highly respected  iSAC codec several years ago (and which was used in Skype clients for the first few years), their voice “engine” architecture allows for the use of any codec within the overall voice engine. Speaking with Global IP Solutions CEO Emerick Woods last week he welcomed the availability of Skype’s SILK codec and, being customer driven, said it would be available within a GIPS voice engine for any customer who requested it.

Recall that Jonathan Christensen, is his announcement at eComm 2009 last week, pointed out that the SILK codec is not only available to any vendor but also its use will not require any association with a Skype offering. Skype basically wants the voice communications industry to have available an HD Voice capability that will lead to clearer voice calls, reducing confusion due to low audio bandwidth, accents, speech inflections, expressive intonations, etc. Recall that studies have shown that HD Voice, such as offered on many Polycomm products, will lead to more productive call centers and customer support operations for this reason alone.

Following an “engine” vendor such as Global IP Solutions will provide us with a view into how readily accepted the SILK codec becomes as its availability and feature set awareness increases across the voice communications market space.

Sometimes an industry is more about co-opetition than competition delivering a win-win-win for all parties, especially the end user.

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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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