Nokia CEO makes the world's first "immersive" 3D audio phone call

Nokia CEO makes the world's first "immersive" 3D audio phone call
Nokia logo | Credit: Nokia

Nokia recently unveiled its latest breakthrough: "immersive audio and video" technology. This innovation aims to transform the way we experience phone calls, making them more realistic and engaging than ever before. The company's CEO, Pekka Lundmark, who interestingly was also present for the first 2G call back in 1991, made the world's first call using this cutting-edge technology.

At the heart of this advancement is the shift from monophonic audio, which is currently used in most phone calls and can sound flat, to 3D audio. This transition promises to create a more lifelike soundscape, where callers feel as if they are in the same room, thanks to the spatial dimension added to the sound. The company's president of Nokia Technologies, Jenni Lukander, heralded this as the biggest leap in voice calling since the introduction of monophonic audio.

While the most obvious application is in person-to-person calls, Nokia's vision for this technology extends further. Imagine a conference call where you can easily distinguish different speakers based on their location, as if they were physically present in the room. This could revolutionize remote meetings and collaboration, making virtual interactions feel more natural and intuitive.

Nokia CEO, Pekka Lundmark, at MWC23 | Image credit: Nokia

Perhaps even more impressive is that this technology doesn't require specialized hardware. By leveraging the multiple microphones already present in most smartphones, Nokia's solution can transmit spatial audio information in real-time, enhancing the call's depth and realism.

The timing of this development is also noteworthy. This immersive audio technology is aligned with the upcoming 5G Advanced standard, suggesting that it could be integrated into future network technologies and become widely available. Nokia is already exploring licensing opportunities, indicating that they see this technology as a potential game-changer in the telecommunications industry.

The recent demonstration call, made over a standard 5G network with a regular smartphone, highlights the technology's potential for seamless integration into our everyday lives. While it may take a few years for immersive audio to become commonplace, this is a significant step towards a future where phone calls are not just about hearing, but about experiencing.

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