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The future of live voice communication is here

The future of live voice communication is here

The past decade or so has seen major transformations in the way we use our mobile devices to communicate. Video calls have become more commonplace and we now use a broad range of other media in our day-to-day interactions. Audio call technology, however, has moved at a slower pace - until now. Thanks to Nokia, fully spatial audio will soon be possible in live calls. This opens up completely new interaction - and AI-based use cases while creating a more immersive all-round user experience.

Nokia has been one of the most influential contributors to the industry-standard voice codecs used by mobile phones. Examples include Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB) in the early 2000s, and Enhanced Voice Services (EVS) which arrived a few years ago. This took the audio quality of mobile calls to its current level. The upcoming 3GPP Release 18 standard promises to take voice communication into a new, more immersive stratosphere, with Immersive Voice and Audio Services (IVAS). Nokia is one of the key contributors and innovators for this technology. Alongside this development, we have started to explore and develop the possibilities this new standard presents with our own software solution which we are now presenting to potential partners. We call it Immersive Voice technology.

Spatial sounds for live calls

The Immersive Voice project integrates Nokia OZO’s industry-leading spatial audio processing capabilities into live mobile communication for the very first time. It turns voice calls into more intimate shared experiences that feel like normal face-to-face conversations. For instance, the voice of the recipient - or recipients in the case of multi-party-teleconferences - can come from the same distinct direction as it would in a physical meeting. Streaming spatial audio from a multi-microphone smartphone or binaural headset allows you to hear exactly what your counterpart is hearing, whether they are out enjoying the great outdoors, at a live event, or just having fun with friends.

Immersive Voice isn’t only about getting friends together though. It will also create exciting new enterprise and industrial use cases. Extended reality with spatial audio can be applied to industrial cases such as remote operation in hazardous or hard-to-reach environments. Such cases benefit from the spatial awareness that comes with live 360° audio, and interactions like head tracking. This makes working environments safer, and processes more sustainable and affordable.

Technology that works on multiple platforms

Immersive Voice technology can be located on the device itself, or on a cloud or edge server, depending on the system architecture and use case in question. This means network operators, communication service providers (CSPs) and device manufacturers are all able to deliver brand new real-time audio use cases to their customers. IVAS will be a cellular codec that is expected to significantly upgrade the traditional phone call experiences. Our Immersive Voice solution is planned to optimally support this new standard but it is not dependent on it. In fact, there are plenty of use cases that can be implemented on top of existing IP-based communication systems to run on today’s smart devices. Our commitment to innovation is based on the belief that technology like Immersive Voice should be enjoyed by as wide an audience as possible.

If you want to experience the future of voice communication for yourself, then an opportunity is coming up: Nokia is showcasing its portfolio of new ventures at SLUSH in Helsinki 17-18 November. Come and experience the future of voice communication with us. You can find out more and book a meeting at

Kai Havukainen

About Kai Havukainen

Kai ‘Kaizu’ Havukainen is Head of Product in Nokia Technologies, overseeing the product roadmap and marketing activities of the company’s technology licensing business. Kai holds master’s degree in signal processing and 20 years of experience in Nokia. He has been working in various roles in Finland and the US, including audio engineering, business development, sales, and quality management. In his free time Kaizu enjoys building all sort of things out of wood and electronics.

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