Conference call echoes

2018-12-06 2 min read

    I’m sure conference calls have improved significantly over the past decade yet they still feel incredibly behind. They’re generally stable but it’s boggling that we still haven’t been able to figure out how to get rid of the echo. Whenever there are two unmuted people in a single room dialed in to the same meeting you hear the effect. As soon as one speaks you hear loud and whiny static that only goes away when one of the participants mutes themselves. The solution is incredibly simple and it’s shocking that there’s no automated solution.

    Noise cancelling headphones are not designed for voice cancellation and do much better at low frequency sounds but it just seems that a video conferencing system should be able do a better job. It has a bit more time for the processing, has the data from both channels, and should be able to identify and prevent the echo as it occurs. It can be as simple as detecting a high frequency sound and silencing it or temporarily muting one of the channels. It’s obviously more difficult than that or we would have had this functionality already but it’s just surprising that this hasn’t happened yet. We have systems that can make calls on our behalf and yet we don’t have a system that could get rid of a conference call echo.