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Monday, April 12, 2021

Microsoft adds AI-enabled noise cancellation feature to Skype: Here’s how you can enable it

Skype's new noise cancellation feature suppresses the background noise and filters it out without affecting the voice of the user

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |
March 16, 2021 10:57:44 am
skype noise cancellation, skype how to turn on noise cancellation, how noise cancellation skype works, skype new features, microsoft skype upcoming featuresSkype's noise cancellation feature is available on desktop app (Image: Skype blogpost)

Skype’s latest feature, coming to desktop version, is AI-enabled noise cancellation. In its blogpost, Skype announced that the feature originally developed for Microsoft Teams is rolling out now and users should get it in a couple of days’ time.

This feature suppresses the background noise and filters it out without affecting the voice of the user. Skype also said that its noise suppression algorithm is different from others as its “neural networks can learn the difference between speech and more complex, inconsistent noises.”

“This technology relies on machine learning (ML) to learn the difference between clean speech and noise and is frequently referred to as artificial intelligence (AI). A representative dataset is used to train the ML model to work in most of the situations our Skype users experience. There needs to be enough diversity in the dataset in terms of the clean speech, noise types, and the environments from which our users are joining online calls,” Skype explained in its blogpost.

In the blogpost, Skype revealed that their dataset consisted of approximately 760 hours of clean speech data and 180 hours of noise data.

The long hours of clean speech data consisted of more than 10 languages to ensure that there is no distortion when the feature is turned on. A balance of male and female speech was maintained while developing the feature. Also, the 180 hours of noise data contained 150 noise types ranging from keyboard typing to dogs howling.

How to turn on noise cancellation on Skype app

# On the desktop app, go to your profile and click on “Settings”.

# In the settings option, click on “Audio and Video”.

# Scroll down on the right and the ‘Noise Cancellation” feature will be visible.

# When you turn on noise cancellation, you can choose between “Auto”, “Low” or “High”.

Currently, the option is available only on the desktop app and not on Android and iOS devices. In addition, Microsoft is developing background blur for the web version. Also, a feature that will let the host lock a meeting and search for contacts by phone numbers.

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