Posts categorized "Audio"

Have Skype and Global IP Solutions (GIPS) parted ways?

image Ever since Skype first launched, they have really been one of the showcases for Global IP Solutions' (GIPS - formerly "Global IP Sound") codecs, particularly the wideband iSAC codec which you could argue is largely what has accounted for the great audio quality you can often get on Skype calls.  Now, of course GIPS has many other customers - in fact their customer/partner list reads like a veritable "Who's Who" of companies within the VoIP industry.  Skype, though, has always been one of the great examples to point to.

It would seem, though, that Skype and GIPS have had a parting of the ways.  Back in March, there was discussion of new codecs in the Skype 3.2 beta and the possibility that this was as a result of an acquisition Skype had made.  Yesterday, though, there was a post to the main Skype blog that included this (my emphasis in bold):

And because we’ve replaced our audio engine in our most recent releases — it’s now fully built in-house — it’s worth bearing in mind that you may run into some bumps when a call is placed from an older version of Skype to newer versions.

So "it's now fully built in-house", eh?  That would seem to pretty clearly confirm that the GIPS engine is no longer inside of Skype.  We can speculate as to why... did the contract with GIPS come up for renewal and GIPS wanted more $$$?  Did Skype just want more control?  Politics?  Personalities?  Some other reason?

In any event, it will be interesting to see Skype's evolution as they work out the issues of the migration, particularly because there are undoubtedly a great number of people out there running an older version who have no clue that they should upgrade.  (Earlier versions had no notification that a new version was available.)

Rich Tehrani on DiamondWare, "3-D audio conferencing" and how the sound of telephony is changing

Those who know me well are aware that one of my hot buttons is my belief that one of the greatest disruptive potentials of VoIP is to fundamentally change the sound of telephony. With VoIP, we are no longer constrained to the 3.5kHz frequency range of the PSTN... I'll save my wideband rant for another day, but tonight I'll just point you over to Rich Tehrani's post "DiamondWare in HD", which talks about the power of DiamondWare's "3-D" stereo technology.  As Rich describes in his blog entry:

Once on the call I was able to easily position the three callers all around me. One could be directly ahead of me and one on either side. The computer can automatically position participants as well if you so choose.

When everyone was in place, Keith had one coworker start counting from 1 and another reciting the alphabet from letter “A.” While these two participants spoke, Keith proceeded to speak with me and the strangest thing happened. I could focus on anyone I wanted and was able to absorb what all three participants were uttering.

It was an amazing experience and the sound quality was beyond compare. I could hear everything in a conversation and more. A sniffle. Lips moving, etc. I swear I could almost hear eyes blinking.

I've not yet personally tried DiamondWare's stuff (although I've met CEO Keith Weiner several times at various shows and he's offered to take me through it) but I am aware that it's also being used in the SecondLife voice beta trial (also another topic for another day).  To me I just think this kind of thing (and publicity by folks like Rich) is great to see... with VoIP (or IP Telephony or whatever we want to call it today) we have the very real capability to have far better audio communication than we've ever had with "traditional" telephony.  It's here now already (just ask a Skype user, but that's yet another topic)... but companies like DiamondWare are showing us just how much farther the boundaries can be pushed.  Cool stuff!

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