VUC500: A Special Event Featuring Dr. Henning Schulzrinne

Friday, August 1st will see Dr. Henning Schulzrinne appearing as our featured guest for the 500th(!) edition of the VoIP Users Conference. While presently the CTO of the FCC, Dr. Schulzrinne has along history as a pioneer in the field of real-time communications over IP networks. He is responsible for the creation of such protocols as RTP and RTSP, and co-creator of SIP. He is a co-chair of the Internet Technical Committee of the IEEE Communications Society. His name appears on numerous RFCs.

In 2013 Dr. Schulzrinne was inducted into the Internet Hall Of Fame. The following clip is his acceptance speech from that ceremony. I offer it in the hope that it will help inspire some good questions.

The technical part of this weeks exercise will involve the use of Jitsi Video Bridge ( to host the call instead of our usual G+ Hangout. Thus we’ll be taking a pure, open source, WebRTC approach to things. Given a limited number of seats on the Jitsi video bridge they are by invitation only.

To allow more people to watch the call the Jitsi Video Bridge feed will be live streamed to our YouTube channel*.

Jitsi Video Bridge has a newly implemented ability to dial out to a SIP URI. This is how we’ll be interconnecting with ZipDX. Since both JVB and ZipDX support  the Opus codec that will be a good quality connection.

Interactive, if audio-only, participation in the call will be possible by connecting to ZipDX via SIP URI (

The audio will also be streamed live via Mixlr.

A big thank you goes out to Emil Ivov and the Jitsi team for setting this up!

*The mechanics of exactly how we’re feeding YouTube from JVB I will likely describe in a future post.

How To Connect A Google+ Hangout-On-Air To a Conference Bridge: Part 2 – Interconnection

It’s worth noting that a Google “Hangout” is not the same as a “Hangout-On-Air.” A Hangout-On-Air is streamed and recorded via YouTube in real-time. This gives it the potential for much greater reach. A normal Hangout is not streamed in this manner, although it does allow for PSTN connectivity.

This difference is arbitrary, although I’m told it stems from legal concerns about copyright issues that could easily occur if Hangouts-On-Air were allowed to have broad interop capability.

The fact that the VUC uses a Hangout-On-Air has compelled my search for a reliable, high-quality means of interconnecting the Hangout-On-Air and ZipDX conference bridge. Given my long-standing and vociferous support of HDVoice even the PSTN access provided by a plain vanilla Hangout is troubling. Connecting via a pure IP means, like SIP URI, would allow interconnection with much better audio quality.

Continue reading “How To Connect A Google+ Hangout-On-Air To a Conference Bridge: Part 2 – Interconnection”

How To Connect A Google+ Hangout-On-Air To a Conference Bridge: Part 1 – Background

Interconnecting A Google Hangout & ZipDXThe VoIP Users Conference is closing upon 500 weekly sessions, each one more-or-less a conference call. Along the way the manner in which the calls happen has evolved. A bit of background about this will serve to frame why I’ve been seeking a way to interconnect a Google+ Hangout and the ZipDX conference bridge.

Continue reading “How To Connect A Google+ Hangout-On-Air To a Conference Bridge: Part 1 – Background”

Celebrating Five Years Of The VoIP Users Conference on ZipDX

VUC-ZIPDX-5th-AnniversaryNext week will mark five years of using ZipDX. In that time we have used ZipDX to host 318 VUC calls, each and every one in HDVoice.

My earliest experience with HDVoice arose from being asked to review the new Polycom SoundPoint IP650 and IP550 back in Q1/2008. That review first appeared at Small Net Builder in August 2008. The initial experience of using those desk phones inspired me to seek out ways of incorporating HDVoice into my daily life.

That summer someone at Polycom introduced me to David Frankel, CEO of ZipDX, quite likely the very first commercial HDVoice conference service. It was only natural that I would invite David to a guest appearance on a VoIP Users Conference call to talk about HDVoice.

David’s initial appearance on a VUC call was on November 7th, 2008. That first experience went so well that from January 23rd, 2009 ZipDX became the sole conference bridge used to host VUC calls.

In May 2009 I attended the first of Jeff Pulver’s HDVoice Summits in NYC. At that summit it was noted that the weekly VUC calls were likely the single most accessible public example of HDVoice in-use.

IMHO, HDVoice is an absolute must for anyone producing a podcast. It might have been avant-garde back in 2009. It’s basically mainstream in 2014. ZipDX provides a great toolset for such activities.

Mix-Master Mike*: Bridging The Bridges Then & Now

Mocet-Communicator-White-VUC-Composite copyDo you remember way back when VUC calls were don using Talkshoe? That was the service that Randulo used to create the VUC, and it remained the primary conference  used until the end of 2008. It was in November 2008 that I arranged to have David Frankel of ZipDX make a VUC guest appearance.

David’s visit was unusual in that we used it as an opportunity to expose the assembled audience to conferencing using HDVoice. David was kind enough to provide some licenses for Counterpath’s G.722-capable Eyebeam soft phone. This allowed us to have a dozen people on ZipDX in HDVoice, while the rest of the audience remained on Talkshoe. You can still listen to the archived recording of the call if you’d like.

Continue reading “Mix-Master Mike*: Bridging The Bridges Then & Now”

Where’s Michael Now?

zipdx_logoThere have been quite a number of changes going on hereabouts, largely behind the scenes. Some have been mentioned in passing on recent VUC calls. I thought it was about time to break the news more generally.

On March 31st I left Pixel Power. After fourteen years on their staff, it was a very difficult decision to make. I had been in the broadcast business for over twenty years, and I still very much liked the work. Nonetheless, it was time for something new. I needed a change and a new challenge.

Early in April I began working with ZipDX. Friend and long-time VUC sponsor David Frankel has project that sounded interesting (pardon the HDVoice pun,) and gives me an opportunity to participate in the IP communications space in a more direct fashion.

Thus there have been a lot of changes going on over the past couple of months. A lot of broadcast-related hardware has left my office, destined for my former employers office in the west. Also, some interesting new hardware has arrived, which I will some day get around to describing here.

In a tweet some weeks ago I expressed the notion that “a new normal” was fast approaching. In recent weeks I’ve been trying to define that new normal. As I grow more accustomed to my new scope of activities I hope to re-engage on many different levels.

I’ve recently been reminded of the opening to the old Six Million Dollar Man TV Show, “We can rebuild him, we have the technology. We can make him better. Faster. Stronger…” and in my case, maybe just a bit bloggier, too.