Dolby Voice From a Distance

In my gig at ZipDX I work with some very interesting people. Barry Slaughter-Olsen is one of those people. Barry is a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, where he teaches the art of simultaneous interpretation to a new generation of language professionals. He’s also the co-founder of Interpret America, a group dedicated to raising the profile of interpreting. Further, he’s the GM of Multilingual Operations for ZipDX.

All of the above builds upon the fact that he’s a tremendously skilled conference interpreter. He also happens to be a self-professed geek, which is handy in business that, like so many others, is facing an onslaught of new technologies.

Barry Tweets.jpg

The other day Barry posed a question via twitter. In reference to Dolby Voice he asked “is this any better than #HDVoice?” It’s good question, so I did a little digging.

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No Jitter: Still No HDVoice Either!

Here’s yet another case of the telecom punditry failing to live by their own guidance. What’s the common term? “Eating one’s own dog food.”

No Jitter, a UBM property, in support of their Enterprise Connect event, produces a podcast. This time around editor Beth Schultz spoke with Alan Quayle about the coming TADHack Mini Hackathon which will run in Orlando March 25-6, just before Enterprise Connect.

That’s nice. Alan certainly knows his stuff. He’s been a VUC frequent guest in recent years.

NoJitter on Lenovo X-1-Carbon

It’s a pity that the podcast was produced via a plain vanilla PSTN telephone call. Narrowband in the best tradition of Ma Bell, circa 1945.

The failure to tap a new age, HDVoice-capable means of podcast production just feels wrong. Most especially given the widespread emphasis on WebRTC as a key aspect of the new age of telecom creativity.

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It’s Official! The patents on G.729 have expired

Somewhere in today’s news I was tipped to this update from SIPRO Lab about the status of the G.729 patent arrangements:

“As of January 1, 2017 the patent terms of most Licensed Patents under the G.729 Consortium have expired.

With regard to the unexpired Licensed Copyrights and Licensed Patents of the G.729 Consortium Patent License Agreement, the Licensors of the G.729 Consortium, namely Orange SA, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation and Université de Sherbrooke (“Licensors”) have agreed to license the same under the existing terms on a royalty-free basis starting January 1, 2017.

For current Licensees of the G.729 Consortium Patent License Agreement, no reports and no payments will be due for Licensed Products Sold or otherwise distributed as of January 1, 2017.”

In truth, I haven’t given much thought to G.729 since I ran a local Asterisk server. Back then, when embedded Asterisk appliances were a brand new idea, I was running Asterisk on a Soekris Net4801 with a paltry 266 MHz AMD Geode CPU. It could barely manage to transcode two calls into G.729, if I paid Digium $10/channel for the licensed codec.

That said, G.729 is likely the most widely deployed low-bitrate voice codec. It’s embedded is all manner of hardware, which means that it probably won’t be going away any time soon. With the licensing requirement dropped it’ll just be cheaper for grey route operators to deploy the codec.

That’s a pity since G.729 sounds nasty. Otherwise normal phone calls transcoded to/from G.729 to pass across cheap international long distance links are notably degraded. Cascading transcodes make matters dramatically worse.

Further, there are newer and much better options today…most especially Opus.

Argh! Google’s Neat Ethernet Adapter For Chromecast is Proprietary

You may recall a month ago when I stumbled across Google’s way-cool power supply + Ethernet adapter for  Chromecast. At just $15 I thought it novel and a great way to give Chromecast the reliability of a wired network connection. That it is.

I also thought, hoped even, that it was a relatively standard use of Androids USB-On-The-Go capability. Meaning that I had hoped it would serve an Android tablet just the same as it handled Chromecast, providing power + Ethernet. That’s where I was wrong.

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