Noise Cancellation: Server-Side or Device-Side

We discussed traditional multi-mic based noise cancellation in the previous post. Such technologies can be applied on user device (phone, laptop) only where multiple mics are available.

In this post we will discuss the challenges related with running noise cancellation technology on the Server Side.

When we’ve built a fully software based noise cancellation technology at 2hz.ai, a profound question came up — why can’t we run this technology on Sever side rather than phones or laptops?

There is a big value proposition for Communications Service Provider companies here: independent on what devices their users are using all these conversations can be noise cancelled at the backend side.

See, when a new iPhoneX with a better noise cancellation comes out — it doesn’t have much impact on a Service Provider such as Twilio, RingCentral, Fuze or WebEx. This is because iPhoneX is only a fraction of their overall device population. But if they could noise cancel (denoise) every communication independent on user devices — there is a big value in it.

Even more. When you are in the backend you have access to both legs of a call and you can denoise both legs. So you not only make your user’s life “noise-free” but potentially also all the other users they are talking to (users outside your network).

Sounds like a no brainer. However it isn’t as simple as it sounds. Let’s talk now about some challenges.

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Noise Cancellation: State of the Art

At 2Hz we’ve spent our last 1.5 years building a disruptive Noise Cancellation technology powered by Deep Neural Networks. And I must say it is a tough road.

In this article I’ll share with you the current state of the art for Noise Cancellation.

Before I start I want to clarify what exactly I mean by Noise Cancellation.

When I say Noise Cancellation I mean suppressing the Noise going from the caller and coming to the caller from other end. Imagine you are in a subway and you call a friend who is at the airport. By Noise Cancellation we mean suppressing the subway noise before sending to your friend (while you might still hear it) and also suppressing the airpot noise coming from their environment to you.

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) refers to suppressing unwanted noise coming to your ears from the external environment surrounding you. For Active Noise Cancellation you typically need headphones (such as Bose QuiteComfort).

Active Noise Cancellation

In this article we will focus only on Noise Cancellation and not Active Noise Cancellation.

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