I’ve long had a fascination with spatial audio processing. This was in part why Voxeet caught my attention when the service initially launched. It was over a year before we were able to have them appear on VUC #471 on January 10th.
From that session you may recall that Voxeet offers a binaural conference service. Participants join a conference using a PC smart phone application. They use a stereo headset allowing the client application to provide placement of the individual participants within a controlled sound stage.
Voxeet is interesting. However, it’s not exactly clear what aspect of the service is most compelling. At point of launch they used the Speex audio codec, which allows wideband audio (aka HDVoice.)
In the recent v2 release their PC client has been moved to a WebRTC foundation, leveraging Opus. I’ve done a quick analysis of their updated online demo. Newly fitted with American voices where there were once French accents, it presents 16 KHz usable audio path, suggesting a 32 KHz sample rate. It certainly sounds very good.
JMR left a comment on the post saying that he had just installed the Android release on his Nexus 7. Since the Nexus 7 is my preferred tablet I decided that I’d give it a try on that device as well.
Happily, the app seems to work pretty well on the Nexus 7. I registered it with my OnSIP account from which point it could call my Polycom VVX phones. Next I used it to call a Polycom RMX 2000 video conference bridge. That also worked nicely.
Just FYI, I’ve recently listed my Samsung Galaxy Nexus cell phone on E-bay. It’s a great phone and less than a year old. It’s in very good shape. Of course, it’s running the latest Android Jelly Bean, which is v4.2.1. Jelly Bean gives you the 100% pure Android experience with none of the carrier goop to muddle the works or delay firmware updates.
Some time ago I was a Vonage customer. We had a Vonage line for my home office to compliment the POTS line that service the house. Our only internet access was via DSL over that POTS line.
We haven’t had a POTS line here since 2004.
While Vonage was a pioneer in what we now call-over-the-top internet telephony, for most of its existence the companies primary means of delivering service was by way of an “analog telephony adapter” or ATA. An ATA provides the RJ-11 connection required to connect to a traditional telephone.
Service providers using ATAs are essentially emulating the PSTN. It makes perfect sense since they want to offer an easy, drop-in replacement for traditional phone service. The advantage that they sell is simply that they’re cheaper. Most care little for esoterica like HDVoice.
Steve Perich, also of Australia, pointed me to an older post on Telstra’s coprorate blog. It highlights the fact that earlier in the year they launched HDVoice capability across their mobile network. Given the size of their coverage area they claim to have the largest HDVoice footprint on the planet.
The blog post includes nice video that highlights not only the improvements to the audible frequency range, but also the fact that it’s possible to do a better of job of background noise suppression with the richer audio data provided by the HDVoice stream.
In the segment on voicemail security Executive Producer John Keefe tried one of the common “hacks” on his own cellular service. Using an online service he spoofed his caller ID such that the cellular carrier thought he was calling from his own cell phone number from his own handset, a circumstance where they may not require the use of the voicemail PIN code.
They go on to give an overview of the state of basic voice mail security with some of the major US carriers. Apparently only AT&T and Sprint by default allow caller ID based bypass of the requirement for use of a PIN code.
It’s good to see someone looking beyond the face of the scandal to consider how the cellular carriers blatant disregard for even the simplest matters of security allowed the exploits occur.