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The Advantages

Providing a spatial representation for telephone conferences is promising. Here, a virtual sound environment can be created in which all speakers are positioned. In addition to providing a more natural representation, a listener can exploit the added spatial information to identify and differentiate individual speakers. A listener can also direct his auditory attention on individual speakers that he is actively listening to. This is denoted as cocktail party effect.

With regard to telephone conferencing, the advantages of spatial representation have been investigated to some degree mainly with regard to perceived quality (Quality of Experience). Here, the advantages of spatial representation have mainly been investigated for high-end audio reproduction (fullband sampling, no compression, and high-end microphones and high-end pair of headphones) in laboratory experiments and rarely using production-ready or even production-capable systems. Using such high-end systems, it could be shown that test participants preferred the spatial reproduction and it reduces the cognitive load (e. g., Skowronek, 2015). Initial work has also been conducted on perception of telephony-related degradations in terms of packet-loss (Spur et al., 2015).

Nevertheless, the potential advantages which a spatial representation might provide depend heavily on the technical implementation in terms of robustness against telephony-related degradations (recording, transmission, and reproduction) as well as practical considerations in terms of usability.

Further Reading