VUC540 on Friday, May 8th, 2015 will feature Tim Panton, WebRTC guru, VUC regular and self-described protocol droid, detailing a recent pet project known as YoPet. YoPet is a WebRTC-based service built to allow pet owners a simple, secure way to video chat with their furry, scaly and/or feathered friends.
Yopet is comprised of a web service that connects the distant pet owner back to the home, where the pet has access to an Android device running the YoPet application. In the telling of this tale Tim will illuminate a variety of issues faced in developing the app & associated service.
As Randy is taking a vacation in Cuba, where internet access is extremely limited, I get to be pilot-in-charge for this little online misadventure. Now everyone please be seated, it could be a little bumpy on the climb to cruising altitude. Fear not, the unflappable Andy Smith of TruePhone will be in the co-pilot seat.
WebRTC is getting a lot of attention in recent months. There’s a lot of hype. There are passionate proponents and equally impassioned naysayers. Fortunately, Tim Panton of Voxeo, one of the most knowledgeable developers in the space, is willing and able to share his experience and thoughts on the subject.
In the course of announcing it’s new Bria iPad EditionCounterPath recently made some very bold claims. They claim that within their own company Bria iPad Edition has essentially replaced desktop phones. They further claim it has overtaken their use of dedicated conference phones in meeting rooms. Citing their own internal experience they have brashly declared that the death of the desk phone is upon us.
One would expect a leading maker of soft phones to be less than enthusiastic about the future of hard phones. There is a very clear uptick in the use of soft phones, inspired by Skype at first, but then accelerated by UC clients from companies like Avaya, Mitel and even Microsoft.
Be that as it may, there remain tens of millions of IP phones on desktops around the globe. Clearly, the death of the category has not been universally observed. I hear no weeping from the various Polycom devices that litter my working life.
However, it has been said that the future is already here, just not yet evenly distributed. Perhaps I simply hold a position later on the curve of this trend?
Yesterday Dan York, in his role as Director Of Conversations at Voxeo, gave a webinar* on HDVoice. Dan’s presentation included a good basic introduction to wideband telephony. He cited the well known limitations of the legacy PSTN before moving on to highlight the wideband capabilities of Voxeo’s new Prophesy and Prism product offerings.
This session was part of the companies Jam Session series that introduces new capabilities to developers. To put it simplistically, Voxeo is a tool-maker. The offerings of the tool-makers typically lead the services that we eventually see in the larger consumer space. That makes the tool-makers very important. That the tool-makers show both imagination and leadership is critically important.
A couple of weeks ago I started to play with a new service called Blue Jeans Network. This startup offers a cloud-based video conferencing service, effectively a cloud-based MCU. The service is presently free as it’s in a limited beta program. The beta program, originally set to expire this month, was just extended until June 15th.
At present their service supports connectivity via H.323, Skype and the PSTN. Of course,the PSTN dial-up means voice conferencing only…and thus only G.711. Clients connected via Skype get VGA resolution video and nice SILK-encoded audio.
In my travels there have been times when I’ve engaged in some very long phone calls. It may be that I’m speaking to my wife while killing time in some far off hotel, or perhaps consulting with an associate on a tech support matter. In such circumstances I’ve come to believe that a USB attached speakerphone and a soft phone can be a very convenient combination.
USB attached audio devices are handy when you have a computer readily available. Being USB attached they save you the trouble of finding a way to provide network connectivity for a traditional IP conference phone.