[AG-TECH] echo-cancellation on the cheap?

Marty Hoag Marty.Hoag at NDSU.NODAK.EDU
Fri Feb 1 13:39:58 CST 2002

   This discussion of costs of echo-cancellation have been interesting.
While I'm as cheap as anyone (probably cheaper than most!) I think we
should keep this in perspective.

   For a collaborative room environment for several people and larger
conference rooms (multiple mics) I don't think we should underestimate 
the audio challenges.  We spend far more on projectors but we don't 
seem to grumble about that.  I think sometimes we undervalue the 
contribution of good short latency broad frequency response audio.
Anyone who has had to fall back to a telco connection during a meeting
knows what a big difference it is.  We've all fought echo problems and
know how distracting they can be. I'd contend that philosophically
it makes sense to spend about as much on audio as we do on video
(try a conference without either one would be much less - actually, 
maybe audio gets the edge in a fall back mode).  

   There are lots of "teleconferencing" audio systems designed for 
the phone network.  But those are designed to much less than the 
16 khz audio we usually use.  In some cases I think sites have been
able to hear high pitched artifacts from some devices which may
normally not be a problem with a telco connection since they get
filtered out.  But it has been a long time so maybe the problem was
elsewhere.  It does sound though that there are smaller devices out
there that are targeted at higher quality audio rather than telco
and that is good.

   I agree that for smaller conferencing systems it is good to drive
price points down.  But I think there will be other things that we
need to do and Richard is right that we need to probably differentiate
these from the Access Grid vision.  Maybe Mini/Micro Grid (mg?), 
Personal Grid (pg?)...  Hmmm...   Of course, then the issue is
how do we differentiate while we probably want to integrate these 
personal/mini systems with other classic Access Grid nodes?  How
is what we want to do on the desktop different than VRVS?  Will these
systems provide the same sort of experience for participants as a 
"full" Access Grid node?  


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