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Dolby.io Spatial Audio Adds Lifelike Experience to Social Networking App
Stephane Giraudie

“If anyone wants to have a WebRTC platform up and running really quickly, then sign up for an account with Dolby.io and get started.” 

-Dr. Soo Ling Lim, Founder and CEO of Hubbub 

Hubbub is a virtual networking service that enables meaningful conversations among colleagues and friends. Hubbub’s high quality audio, professionally designed meeting rooms, intuitive interface, and wide support for a variety of devices and browsers makes it a smart choice for virtual conferences and networking events. To provide participants with a lifelike audio experience, Hubbub needed an interactivity API platform that offered easy-to-implement spatial audio. 

Rapidly Developing a Virtual Conferencing App with Lifelike Audio 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most conferences in 2020 were either cancelled or converted to virtual events. Academia, in particular, was negatively impacted by this reality, as professors rely on in-person events to serve as a catalyst for innovation.  

“The experience was destined to be really bad, and science was going to suffer,” said Dr. Soo Ling Lim, Founder and CEO of Hubbub. “If you only do Zoom calls, the social element is not there.” 

With an international computer science conference just weeks away, Dr. Soo Ling Lim began prototyping a virtual networking app capable of delivering lifelike experiences for attendees. Conference organizers were interested in using Lim’s app—if she could develop a working solution prior to the conference.  

Days into development, Lim realized that spatial audio would be necessary to make conversations feel as natural as possible. 

“We wanted attendees to feel like they’re in a real room while interacting with other participants,” Lim said. “Unlike flat and mono sound, spatial audio provides a richer experience.” 

Lim researched several real-time voice providers, but none offered an easy-to-implement solution for spatial audio. 

“I tried for two weeks but couldn’t make spatial audio work on Agora,” Lim said. “I was beginning to think that we wouldn’t make it in time for the conference.” 

Dolby.io Spatial Audio Delivers a “Wow” Moment to Conference Attendees 

Needing an immediate solution to her audio challenges, Lim turned to Dolby.io. Within days of signing up for Dolby.io, Lim had a fully working prototype—with audio—to demonstrate to the conference organizers. Over the next two weeks, Lim focused on perfecting Hubbub’s UX along with finalizing the implementation of spatial audio.  

“It was such a pleasure to get spatial audio working,” Lim said. “After changing our API to Dolby, we found that the sound quality was much, much better.” 

Hubbub launched in plenty of time and was selected as the virtual networking app for the conference. Participants were especially impressed by the audio experience—powered by Dolby.io. 

“People turned on spatial audio and were wowed. They just couldn’t believe it,” Lim said. “Participants were so pleased that they thought the platform had been running for years. They didn’t realize it took less than three weeks for the whole thing to be up and running.” 

Because spatial audio in Hubbub mimics lifelike conversations, conference participants felt comfortable engaging through the platform. Voices of nearby participants were louder than those who were farther away in the virtual room, leading to a realistic and enjoyable experience.

“It was a four-day conference, and people spent more than 50 hours on the platform,” Lim said. “Participants were actively speaking for 27 hours, which is unheard of with any other video conferencing platform.” 

Since successfully hosting its first conference in July, Hubbub has been used by thousands of participants at more than a dozen virtual conferences. Companies small and large now use Hubbub to boost engagement among staff in an increasingly remote work environment. Consumers are also turning to Hubbub to facilitate socially distanced gatherings, such as virtual wine tastings and parties. 

Develop Faster with Dolby.io 

Looking for a better way to incorporate spatial audio into your app? Claim your free minutes and begin testing our Interactivity APIs. Learn more about our APIs for broadcasting, HD video, call recording, and spatial audio. 

 

Tags: case-study
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