Interview with IMTC SIP Parity AG Leader – Charles Eckel

Charles Eckel

We continue our series of interviews with IMTC members by speaking with Charles Eckel, the Technical Leader II, Media Experience and Analytics at Cisco, and the IMTC SIP Parity Activity Group Leader.

IMTC: How many companies participate in your group today?

Charles Eckel [CE]: We had 12 participating companies from SIP Parity at the last SuperOp Event: Acme Packet, Avaya, BlueJeans, Cisco, Huawei, LG, Lifesize, Magor Corporation, Polycom, Avaya, Teliris and Vidyo.

IMTC: What is the key technology you are testing and what role does it play in UC and communication in general?

CE:  The SIP Parity Activity Group focuses on multimedia telecommunications applications, including providing a video profile for SIP that matches all the capabilities of H.323.conferencing.

IMTC: What standards are being tested?

CE: SIP (RFC 3261), SDP (RFC 4566), RTP (RFC 3551), and H.264 (RFC 6184)

IMTC: What is the group value to the industry?

CE: We do the following:

  • We organize interoperability SIP Parity test efforts, both virtual and face-to-face. This is done in cooperation and coordination with both the Conferencing Interoperability Activity Group and with SIPit (where practical).
  • We provide a forum for members to agree on an overall SIP profile for video. The objective is to bring it to full-feature parity with H.323 video communications.
  • We educate members on the most recent developments in SIP standards and market evolution.

IMTC: Why are you a member of this group and what value does it bring to your company?

CE: Third party interoperability is important to Cisco, and this is the best place for dealing with interoperability issues related to enterprise video conferencing.

IMTC: What were the most important achievements of your group in 2012? How did it support the industry?

CE: Among our achievements:

  • Security Best Practice liaison review period and addressed comments.
  • SuperOp! 2012 characterization of SIP Video Profile and Role Based Video.
  • Best Practices, and ad-hoc testing of Security Best Practices.
  • We began investigation of potential areas for SIP Parity AG/PSS AG interworking.
  • SIP Video Profile Best Practice as IMTC document approved by SIP Parity AG.
  • Draft version circulated and comments received.
  • IETF BFCPBIS nearing completion of BFCP via UDP.
  • The Binary Floor Control Protocol (BFCP).
  • Session Description Protocol (SDP) Format for Binary Floor Control Protocol (BFCP) Streams.

IMTC: What are your plans for 2013?

CE: There are a few: 

  • SuperOp! 2013 characterization of SIP Video Profile, SIP Role Based Video, SIP Security Best Practices.
  • Update Role Based Video Best Practice and Test Case documents based on output of IETF BFCPBIS WG.
  • Publish SIP Video Profile Best Practice as an IMTC document (available to IMTC members), which aims to list the use cases that are associated with the bandwidth, flow control, intra-frame request functionalities, and to provide recommendations on best current practice in this field. This document should serve as a reference for video services based on SIP/SDP, from the point of view of a user-agent with video capacity.
  • Publish Role Based Video Best Practice as IMTC document, which describes the best practices for implementing role-based video stream (RBVS) functionality in SIP that is comparable to H.239 for H.323 systems. In particular, it covers the use of video for content sharing, including floor control, alongside main video..
  • Update SIP Security Best Practice and Test Cases documents based on output of IETF BFCPBIS WG.
  • Publish Security Best Practice as an IMTC Document, which describes best practices for implementing security in SIP-based video conferencing end devices.

IMTC: What do you think will change in your field or technology you are testing in the future?

CE: Protocols and implementations will continue to improve and evolve, and there will be blending of what was traditionally enterprise-specific with that which was traditionally consumer focused (e.g. BYOD).

IMTC: What kind of value do you think IMTC brings to your company?

CE: The SIP Parity group is the best place for dealing with interoperability issues related to enterprise video conferencing. The best practices and SuperOp events are very useful to moving our implementations and those of the rest of the industry forward.

IMTC: Thank you, Charles, for the interview.

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