Nokia Rings In Era Of Spatial Audio On Cellular By Making First-Ever 3D Phone Call

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Nokia announced the “world’s first” immersive voice and audio call using the company’s new 3GPP Immersive Voice and Audio Services (IVAS) codec. Nokia’s President and CEO, Pekka Lundmark, showed off the technology in a video call with Stefan Lindstrom, Finland’s Ambassador of Digitalization and New Technologies, even though the technology has yet to be implemented in mobile networks.

In a press release, Nokia remarked that the IVAS codec allows users to hear 3D spatial sound in real-time, instead of the current monophonic smartphone voice call experience. The company touted that its new 3GPP Immersive Voice and Audio Services codec is the “biggest leap forward in the live voice calling experience since the introduction of monophonic telephony.”

“The live immersive voice and audio experience enabled by IVAS improves the richness and quality of the call, and the three-dimensional sound experience makes interaction more lifelike and engaging, bringing a wealth of new benefits to personal and professional communication. Immersive communications technology will also take XR and metaverse interaction to the next level,” remarked Lindstrom.

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Even though the technology has yet to be enabled on mobile networks, Nokia could still make the call over a public 5G network. IVAS codec technology enables live spatial audio across any connected device, such as smartphones, tablets, or PCs, bringing with it three-dimensional sound.

According to Nokia, the 3GPP IVAS codec standard has been in development by 13 companies under the framework of the IVAS codec public collaboration. The company added it is key to include this innovation as a worldwide standard to enable interoperability between operators, chipset, and handset manufacturers, and in so doing, making it available to everyone.

Lundmark added, “We have demonstrated the future of voice calls. This groundbreaking audio technology takes you to the caller’s environment creating a spatial and massively improved listening experience for voice and video calls, offering significant benefits for enterprise and industrial applications.”

The new immersive audio technology is part of the upcoming 5G Advanced standard, which Nokia hopes to get licensing opportunities with the technology. While the sound of having such an immersive experience may ring true for many, it is not expected to be available for a few more years.