The future of VoIP walks into a room…

Posted on August 14, 2013 by

Tomorrow’s telecommunications were in jeopardy if anything happened to the Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile last week (Aug 6-8). A collection of the world’s leading VoIP experts assembled for a three-day update on the frontiers of VoIP technology. Cluecon was well attended by developers, engineers, CTOs, CIOs, CEOS, and founders of ITSPs, Broadband providers, and generally innovative organizations.

The event kicked off with a state of the union address regarding FreeSWITCH, the open source telephony platform at the center of Cluecon, from Anthony Minessale, Lead Developer and creator of FreeSWITCH. Anthony introduced new features such as SMS routing and manipulation, Device ID that allows for complex tracking of call legs for CDRs, and an update to the FreeSWITCH WebRTC module released earlier this year.

After that speakers came from countries and back grounds all over the world to share their latest work and ideas on the forefront of telecom. Developers, entrepreneurs, PhDs, researchers, and even a cognitive scientist from China, Japan, France, England, and more. There was even a former Formula One engineer turned telecom developer at the podium one morning.

Topics ranged from Alex Goulis’s talk on the benefits of getting CNAM right (more calls answered), to Phillip Zimmerman’s talk on building a secure VoIP client for his encrypted communications service, Silent Circle, (which turned into an interesting history of the Government’s fight against encryption in civilian hands through the 90s), to Dayton Turner’s call to arms against the PSTN when he asked, “What would it take to overthrow the PSTN with SIP?”

Hot topics covered in a few talks each included WebRTC (obviously), High Availability, and security.

The WebRTC track began when Flowroute founder and CMO, Sean Hsieh, introduced PiBX, an innovation that uses FreeSWITCH to turn a Raspberry Pi into a portable, and very affordable PBX. Other WebRTC talks included Brian Klang’s introduction to what WebRTC really means, Dave Taht’s explanation of bufferbloat and how WebRTC communications can be streamlined by eliminating excessive buffering, and Gustivo Garcia’s work bridging that gap between WebRTC conferencing and the PSTN.

High Availability sessions were well attended for reasons revealed in the tragic stories of carriers with neglectful redundancy policies unable to recover from the wrath of hurricane Sandy. Ali Pey talked about how to provide redundancy and high availability using a proxy server. Luigi Calabrese presented success he’d had using globally distributed clusters in eliminating dropped calls. Darren Schreiber, CEO and co-founder of 2600hz, spoke of work they’ve done to achieve high volume call processing. And in his talk about everything really hitting the fan, Mahesh Paolini-Subramanya, CTO of Vocalocity, introduced the idea that the only assumption you should make is that bad things are going to happen, and suggested building concurrent systems throughout your operation.

As the single biggest issue effecting the VoIP industry, security plays a role in every decision made in telecom. Moshe Yudkowsky talked about security from the perspective of keeping your communications safe from prying state eyes, suggesting the use of private, hidden networks. Playing a little seek and destroy, Flavio Goncalves demonstrated how to detect and prevent toll fraud on FreeSWITCH servers. Then Daniel Mirela, co-founder of Kamailio, talked about Kamailio as a SIP firewall for carrier grade traffic by integrating with your billing system.

The sessions were all fun, fast-moving and well attended. Even the attendees represented a cross section of the top VoIP talent – experts and innovators as far flung as Argentina and Norway. Walking away from Cluecon, it was hard not to be excited. The passion and innovation showcased in just a few short days by presenters and attendees alike proved that even though the world of VoIP is small, the possibilities are limitless. It seems the future of VoIP in in the right hands.

For a more in depth look at all the talks, watch the videos on youtube.