skip to Main Content

Video Calling: My Own Motivation

Video calling has been around for a long, long time. However, it’s yet to become commonplace. There have been studies, some very recent, that suggest that people really don’t want or need it. Yet Skype reports that a substantial amount, around 40% if I recall correctly, of their call traffic involves video. Of course, events like last years volcanic excitement in Iceland highlight how valuable video can be when travel is impossible.

Beyond the more general cases I have my own reasons why video could play an important part in my working life. It happens that I travel a lot in the course of my work. The scope of my working duties is divided three ways; pre-sales demonstrations of hardware/software systems, post-sales commissioning, installations & training, and finally end-user support activity. The demonstration aspect of my travel could be reduced significantly if I were able to deliver the demonstration via online means.

Read More

The Question Of Sidetone

Just a couple of days ago I received an email asking about side-tone. Marshall Wilgard asks;

“A VoIP expert has written that he would never buy an IP phone that did
not have “sidetone” in the handset because he would want to hear a
little of his own voice when he talked.  The Grandstream phones I use
do “not” have sidetone.  Do you believe that sidetone is important?  And
if so, which brands of IP phones have sidetone?”

As you note, sidetone is the mixing of a little of the users voice into the earpiece such that they can hear themselves as they speak. I believe that sidetone is critically important to comfortable user experience with a phone.

It’s very unnatural to not hear yourself, or hear yourself from another acoustic perspective, as you engage in conversation. Without sidetone you sound like you are very far away even though the other party sounds very near. It’s an inversion of acoustic perspective that can be discomforting.

Read More

IETF CODEC News: OPUS Is Ready For Testing

On the mailing list of the IETF’s CODEC working group Jean-Marc Valin made a significant announcement on Feb 4th. It reads as follows:

Hi everyone,

We’d like to announce that the Opus codec is now ready for testing. The bit-stream is now is a “pseudo-freeze”, which means that unless a problem is found during testing/review, there are no longer any changes planned. The only exception to this are the SILK-mode FEC and the stereo SILK mode, which should be landing in the next few days. Considering that these are not critical features, we felt like the testing phase could already begin.

<snip>

Cheers,

Jean-Marc

Please recall that OPUS is the new codec arising from the combination of CELT and Skype’s SILK. It’s multiple operating modes accommodate many different applications, from extremely low-latency high-quality links between production studios, to voice applications on very low bit-rate channels. OPUS brings us the current state-of-the-art in audio codec technology in a royalty-free, open source form.

Read More
Back To Top