About IVAS

Immersive Voice and Audio Services (IVAS) is the new EVS-based communication codec currently being standardized by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). It enables a lifelike spatial acoustic experience, for example in conference calls and video conferences. As a conversational stereo and immersive codec, it can process signals captured by various microphone configurations in different conversational scenarios. Just like EVS, IVAS is a mobile communication codec and can therefore operate at bitrates as low as 13.2 or 24.4 kbit/s and with a very low latency.

Developing a lifelike communication experience

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As immersive VR experiences become more common, the communications sector faces the demand for an equally lifelike experience. This holds true not only for the private market but also for business environments. Traditional voice services are typically limited to monaural audio transmission and reproduction. This makes it hard to distinguish multiple speakers, causes discrepancies in speaker localization when combined with video, and often results in listener fatigue. Immersive audio technology like IVAS makes it easier to follow conversations with multiple participants during video calls and other virtual conferences and to distinguish between meaningful sounds and background.

A 3GPP study on the influence of Virtual Reality (VR) on 3GPP services showed that communications applications would be expected to become more lifelike. This resulted in the work item of developing a codec for immersive communications. In answer to this, Fraunhofer IIS is currently participating in the development of IVAS.

Multidimensional communication with IVAS

IVAS will enable realistic conferencing and drive the most recent developments in communication. To make it a viable choice for most settings, it supports stereo encoding and rendering, the minimum requirement for spatial conferencing and VR.

But it does not stop there: IVAS will support the coding and rendering of truly immersive formats such as audio objects, Ambisonics, and multi-channel audio. It is meant to work with the microphones usually employed for communication, for example in 5G mobile devices like a phone or tablet, as well as with various static microphone setups or arrays. In combination with its integrated flexible rendering capabilities, IVAS will be able to play back this content on various speaker configurations – be it on computers, cars, living-rooms, or by means of binaural rendering via headphones for mobile use.

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