DEMO 2012: Better conference calling and 'how to' guides

Voxeet shows 'naturual conferencing' and Dozuki

After the enterprise presentation segment at the ongoing DEMO conference in Santa Clara, two presenters stood out for introducing solutions to long-running workplace problems.

Stephane Giraudie, CEO of Voxeet, says the top three complaints among those with frequent conference calling duties are speaker recognition, quality of sound, and the ability to transfer a conference call to a mobile device seamlessly. With what Voxeet calls "natural conferencing," all three of those pins were knocked down.

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In the presentation, Voxeet held a conference call complete with the software's user interface, which assigned a headshot to each voice accompanied by sound level indicators that moved as each participant spoke. When the icon for each participant was dragged from one side of the screen to the other, the audio playback shifted accordingly. So, dragging the icon from the left side of the screen to the right side caused the audio playback to change as if that person switched from speaking into the user's right ear to the left.

That ability, Giraudie says, is the result of years of development by Voxeet's team of sound engineers. Through a combination of an algorithm and noise canceling technology, Voxeet's natural conferencing tool isolates each individual voice so that when they are redistributed, each sounds as if it comes from a different direction, rather than multiple voices overlaying each other through each side of a headset. This allows multiple participants to speak simultaneously without sacrificing audio quality.

This entire experience, initially carried out on a hardline phone alongside a PC monitor, was then seamlessly transferred to an Android smartphone -- an iOS option is in the works -- without any of the other conference call participants the wiser. The icons for each user were then displayed on the smartphone and moved exactly the same on the touch screen.

At the same time, a young startup named Dozuki also grabbed the attention of many who sat in on the enterprise demonstrations. Dozuki provides a cloud-based content management system for the purpose of crafting detailed and custom instructional manuals, says company co-founder and Chief Architect Kyle Weins. It would be particularly useful in areas such as manufacturing or healthcare, sectors in which constantly updated and customized instructions can reduce the time it takes to train new employees.

A more high-profile case for Dozuki is its work with online memory vendor Crucial.com. Having gained interest from Weins' work with iFixit.com, an instructional website for repairing hardware that can be updated by its users, Crucial approached Dozuki about creating a customizable instructional guide so its customers could install their newly purchased memory without destroying their computers.

Through the interactive nature of the Internet, Weins says it's only a matter of time until more users can bridge the gap between learning new ideas online and putting them to use.

"I am really excited about starting to see things on the Internet that teach people how to do things in the real world," Weins says. "If you read a Wikipedia article, then you're smarter, but your life didn't tangibly get better. But if you fix something on iFixit, and at the end of it you have a phone that works, and it's the greatest feeling in the world because you did it."

Colin Neagle covers Microsoft security and network management for Network World. Keep up with his blog: Rated Critical, follow him on Twitter: @ntwrkwrldneagle. Colin's email is cneagle@nww.com.

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