At Mobile World Congress 2018, Ericsson has teamed up with Jabra, a company developing consumer headphones and professional headsets, to explore how to improve voice quality in VoLTE-enabled Cat-M1 devices. This demo shows an example of how telco service providers can work with the complete IoT eco-system to address non-personal communication IoT devices with VoLTE services.
VoLTE enabled non-personal communication devices
Besides the segment of voice communication in industries, there is also an expectation that a new segment of voice devices will arise: non-personal communication devices. Currently there is the increasing segment of smart speakers and wearables. These devices are normally assigned to persons or families.
Figure 1. The demo setup at Mobile World Congress 2018: a Jabra Speak 710 loudspeaker integrated with a VoLTE Cat-M1 chipset inside and a simple button to press to place a call to a smartphone.
Non-personal voice communication devices will be self-contained with battery and voice communication. They will not belong to individuals, but instead will be associated with a product.
When a call is placed through such a device, the service center will automatically know which product it was associated with, including the location, the serial number, and so on. Ericsson and Jabra have co-developed a first version of a voice button for this type of use cases. The foundation of the development is a Jabra Speak 710, a premium conference device. The Jabra Speak 710 was enhanced with a Cat-M1 module that supports VoLTE
Use case: improvement of the service call quality
From a use-case perspective, as soon as the button on the Jabra Speak 710 is pressed, a VoLTE call is issued towards a predefined number at a service center. An IoT platform (e.g. Ericsson IoT Accelerator) correlates the number with the database and retrieves information such as the location, the serial number, and so on and displays this information to the employee in the service center.
Figure 2. For some of these use cases, customers could be willing to pay a bit more for their IoT device to get as good voice quality as possible. Consider, for example, an elderly person or a child. In contrast, a dog collar should maybe be as cheap as possible as the voice service will be used rarely.
VoLTE over Cat-M1 supports only AMR-NB (narrowband voice, as in most mobile phones today that have not launched wideband HD voice [AMR-WB]) due to battery and bandwidth constraints. When it comes to the quality of a call, the importance of a good quality microphone, loudspeaker, and audio processing is quite often underestimated. The demo shows that the high-quality Jabra Speak 710 improves the quality of the service call.
For a commercial voice button product, the form factor of the device would be reduced even further, compared to what is shown in this demonstration at Mobile World Congress.
When showing and discussing this with visitors, visitors liked the flexibility of this kind of device to provide voice on different kinds of IoT devices for multiple kinds of use cases, and the voice quality was also perceived to be good.
If you want to explore this further together with us, please contact us or Jabra.