Doug on IP Comm – An independent voice on VoIP, telecom, and IP Communication

HD Communications – A call to upgrade “The Hotline”

Posted on: July 12, 2009

Over on Jeff Pulver’s blog, guest columnist and Pulver-cohort Daniel Berninger calls for an HD upgrade in the near-mythical communications “hotline” between the White House and Moscow, as well as other dedicated diplomatic communications channels around the globe.

Originally set up during the scary days of the Cold War, the original teletype service has been upgraded with voice and fax capabilities and is still tested every 24 hours between the two countries.

Upgrading to HD would drastically improve conversations between parties, especially when understanding a non-native speaker or when a translator is involved.  More importantly, it is a very cost-effective upgrade given that the infrastructure is already in place — OK, you have to establish a secure IP pipe, but this is off the shelf stuff, not rocket science and not ginormous expensive — and HD phones are available for under $200 bucks these days.

I suppose this is where Cisco, Polycom and/or Tandberg appear and says “You should spend big bucks and go for a telepresence solution!”  Of course, the cost of implementing even a humble telepresence solution is around $70K per end point, plus a lot more bandwidth to secure on an intercontinental basis. Can you smell the dollars cooking?

You can buy a lot of HD phones for that $70K, and distribute HD a lot more widely.  Admittedly, it isn’t the same thing as a full-bore telepresense solution, but this looks like one of these “most bang for the buck” solutions when you bring HD phones into a government agency.

And if there are any implementation questions, France Telecom can no doubt provide its expertise, since they already have over 400,000 consumer HD VoIP users on their network.. (Yes, I expect screaming after that statement).

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