Breaking the Sound Barrier: NOKIA Leads with the First 3D Spatial Audio Call

Nokia’s latest achievement, the first phone call with 3D spatial audio, will usher in a huge leap in telecommunications that could lead to a whole new way of communicating and seeing. The arrival of the first 3D phone call from Nokia can be seen as a potential revolutionary breakthrough in the future of telecommunication as we know it.

Elevating Communication: The Dawn of 3D Spatial Audio

Phone calls have long been mono, a single flat audio channel that, while functional, lacks depth. Now, with the 3GPP Immersive Video and Audio Services (IVAS) codec, Nokia can deliver audio that surrounds you, giving the impression of sound coming from every direction. Use of the technology, which is already finding its way into music and entertainment, offers a new and different application for video calls.

The Future is Calling: NOKIA and 5G Advanced

However, the experience of being able to lounge around being immersed in 3D audio thanks to an invention from Nokia isn’t quite in our grasp. That would come thanks to 5G Advanced, another step on 5G networks after the one we have today. Not only promising increased speeds and efficiency, it also promises ‘better localisation’, meaning each call or message will know where in a building each caller physically is. Reuters tell us to expect this a few years in the future, but we should all have goosebumps for the promise of what’s to come.

Accessibility: A Sound for All

Obviously, a big concern would be the technical requirements of the new, next-level listening experience – no need to worry there, either. Nokia has indicated that spatial audio works on phones with as little as two microphones, suggesting that access is designed for a wide swath of users, once carriers hop on the bandwagon. The transition to spatial audio suggests that this is just one of a raft of what I here call ‘universal design’ applications for tech.

Not Just a Call: A Spatial Experience

The leap to spatial audio seems to say we are moving from communication to sophisticated listening: If you could talk to a loved one or a colleague over a call but it felt like they were in the room with you, wouldn’t that be an amazing experience?’ says Nokia’s tones manager. ‘Since it’s impractical to have people that far away talk in the same room, it seems that our calls will become an experience rather than an interaction, and it would be a really unique experience.’

The Pioneers Behind the Tech

But it is important to note that this isn’t coming from the consumer-facing side of the company that produced the handsets – this is the research and technical arm of Nokia. A crucial point: no one here will put old-school flip phones in danger of any kind of reminiscing or misplaced nostalgia. Because what is really driving Nokia forward is innovation and technical excellence, not the handset legacy.

Beyond NOKIA: The Spatial Audio Movement

Nokia, in a class of its own but hardly the only one – the tech giant Audible has recently introduced spatial audio, as has Netflix. This is only one of the latest examples of this new trend: a change in our content-consumption paradigm, spatial audio being just one example of a technological innovation with the power to open up entirely new sensory worlds.

Understanding NOKIA: A Legacy of Innovation

From being known for its sturdy handsets to preparing to launch an industry-defining technology of 3D spatial audio, Nokia’s story is about following the innovation trail year after year and evolving in line with the times. Nokia’s DNA has always been about extending the boundaries of technology, considering whether and how enhancements and new technologies can further augment the human experience and experience. Nokia’s recent foray to develop and play an instrument in the emerging technology of 3D spatial audio is a testament that it remains committed to innovation.

Finally, by demonstrating the first phone call with 3D spatial audio, Nokia has shown us that 3D spatial audio will become a pivotal moment in the evolution of telecommunications technology. 3D spatial audio is another proof of Nokia’s groundbreaking digital spirit and vision, but more importantly, Nokia is inviting us to imagine the world’s possibilities for communication. When the whole world starts to transition to calls with 3D spatial audio, calls will never be two-dimensional anymore.

Jun 11, 2024
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