While not exhaustive, the following are five distinct ways you can deploy HD audio today. Not only will your business sound great, but doing business will become a better experience for both your employees and customers.

1. Improved internal communications. The initial impact of HD voice is similar to the feeling you get seeing HD television for the first time. Everyone notices the improvement, and it's hard to go back to what you had before. Employees will find that all modes of voice contact will be more engaged, and should result in better productivity.

Think about all the various scenarios where better quality audio would enhance the task at hand. One-to-one calls would be one example, but group situations would benefit even more. These could be regular team meetings, training sessions, or project-related work sessions. HD voice makes all of these scenarios more life-like, and a closer proxy for in-person meetings. Most businesses would agree that a lot of time is wasted with in-person meetings, and HD voice simply makes it easier to get things done.

2. More productive sales calls. This may have strongest impact overall, and for some businesses, may be the only reason to use HD voice. Thinking about all the touch points businesses have with customers and prospects, voice is central to most of them. With HD voice still being fairly new, the initial impact should be immediate, resulting in a higher level of engagement. Again, there are many scenarios where the conversations will simply be better, such as one-to-one sales calls, product demonstrations, sales presentations and training sessions.

Another aspect to consider here pertains to businesses with a global reach. When selling internationally, poor voice quality is not uncommon, especially in less developed regions. Think about how much better those calls will sound, and how much easier it will be to communicate and get business done.

3. Better contact center experience. For most businesses, the contact center is truly the front door, and voice is by far the most important mode of communication. Whether utilizing traditional toll-free numbers for inbound or outbound calls, or Web-based click-to-call features, the HD experience is simply better. Callers will be more responsive with agents, and communications will be clearer. Ideally, this should lead to higher closing rates, improved upselling, faster problem resolution and increased volumes of call processing.

With clearer audio communication, both parties will better understand each other, meaning less repetition and clarification. This, in turn, should result in shorter times for call completion, more accurate order taking, and faster processing of transactions. Again, these qualities are especially important for global businesses, which often have contact centers in regions with sub-par telecom infrastructure, or rely heavily on remote agents who may also have sub-par telephony service in their homes.

Finally, a minor benefit of HD audio is that music-on-hold will sound better. On one level this seems trivial, but the longer customers wait on hold, the more annoyed they become, and the more likely you are to lose them if the call ends badly. This anxiety may be relieved somewhat if the audio quality is better than what people often experience in these situations.

4. Mobile calling is better. VoIP sits in the middle of an interesting spectrum when it comes to telephony. In the wireline world, TDM has long been the gold standard that VoIP is trying to match. Cellular service quality, on the other hand, has always been problematic, and over time, we've come to accept this tradeoff for the convenience of being mobile. VoIP is slowly gaining inroads with wireless, and when there's access to WiFi, mobile users have options for placing calls over the Internet.

This may not be the ideal environment for making calls, but is another way to experience HD voice. Many hosted/cloud-based providers offer some form of wireless integration, and by extending HD to mobile devices, the prospect of a better quality voice experience on the road becomes much brighter. With mobility becoming an indispensible part of how we work, it doesn't take much to imagine how HD voice makes this tool better.

5. Staying ahead of the curve. Deploying HD voice should not add much cost - if at all - and is easy to do with today's technology. Eventually, this will become an everyday feature, but for now, there is a window for staying a step ahead of your competition. HD voice is a great way to show that the business is reasonably tech-savvy, and it reflects well on both your customers and employees. Of course, this is especially true if you are in a technology-based business such as software or IT. Thinking more broadly, HD voice will also make you look - and sound - good if you are in an industry where audio quality matters, such as music, video, film, sports or gaming.