Wednesday, May 5, 2010

SIP Communicator - amazing SIP softphone

I am not a big user of Java, being a C coder, but now you have it everywhere not matter you want it or not, tied to Open Office, Mac OS X or web browsers. However, these days makes sense to install Java just to run SIP Communicator (SC), it is an amazing features rich SIP softphone, besides the fact is open source. Also, since we talk about Java, is cross platform application, you can run it on Windows, Linux or Mac OS X.

At FOSDEM 2010 I got an update about latest version from its creator, Emil Ivov, yet again nice surprises. His talk at the event was about Skype-like conference calls and yes, it is something very useful. While being in a conference call via SIP, it is very often I have no idea who is speaking. I have to memorize and map to names the voice stamps in order to make a remark addressing by name to who is speaking.

Latest SIP Communicator brings audio levels indications for each participants -- it is able to host audio conferences, acting as mixer, furthermore nicely letting you know who is speaking and his/her voice volume, thus making easier to distinguish when many people speak at the same time - what skype had for long time. All together make SC a perfect solution for any kind of enterprises or residential users.

Here is a relevant screenshot:

See more screenshots here.

Based on this neat features, we started a joint project with SIP Express Media Server (SEMS) to implement similar audio mixer (in SEMS) and presence agent (in Kamailio) for centralized conferencing system -- all to be coded over summer within GSoC 2010 program.

SC, besides supporting SIP, can be used as client for other protocols such as XMPP/Jabber/GTalk, AIM/ICQ, MSN, Yahoo! Messenger, Bonjour, IRC, RSS.

Regarding SIP and real time communication, among features:
  • multiple SIP accounts
  • audio and video calling
  • instant messaging and presence
  • IPv4 and IPv6; UDP, TCP and TLS
  • zRTP and OTR encryption for instant messaging chats
  • call on hold, call transfer, ...
  • multiparty audio conferencing (conference mixer, 3 or more participants), with audio level indication
  • desktop sharing
  • file transfer
  • internationalization - English, German, French, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, ...
You can watch the SIP Communicator presentation at FOSDEM 2010 on YouTube. The slides are available in PDF format here.

SIP Communicator is a very dynamic project, with many developers, one of the best choices out there if you need extensions. Sure it gets my recommendation for a SIP softphone to be used in daily manner. Read more about on project's site:

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