After five long years from the first edition, our Janus conference was finally back, once again in our beautiful Naples! More precisely, we met RTC developers and aficionados from all over the world on the 29th and 30th of April 2024, for two days of fun and interesting presentations. Great food was eaten, amazing weather was enjoyed, and I think we all had a lot of fun! If you want to check the recordings or the slides of the talks, you can find them in the schedule section of the JanusCon website.

This is something I was really looking forward to. As soon as the first successful event ended, I really wanted this to become a “thing” every year: as we all know, though, shortly after that the world closed down for the COVID pandemic, and it took a while for us to be comfortable enough to sit down and say, “let’s do this again!”. And when our friends at QXIP, who were fundamental in helping us make the first edition a reality, told us they’d be super happy to help us again, we finally got to it.

10 years of Janus!

This second edition came at an important milestone for Meetecho. Not only does 2024 mark the 15th year since the foundation of Meetecho itself: it also marks the 10th year for good old Janus, which has just become a teenager! In fact, the repo was created and the first commit pushed on the 11th of February 2014. We were all so young and naive back then!

A new venue

Thanks to the generous sponsorship from the DIETI department of the University of Naples Federico II, this new edition of JanusCon was hosted in the gorgeous Centro Congressi Federico II on the “lungomare” (seaside). If you attended the first edition, it’s basically next door to the hotel that hosted us five years ago: different door, same spectacular location! Right on the seaside and in front of Castel dell’Ovo, with tons of restaurants all around.

Our excellent sponsors!

Of course, we couldn’t do this on our own. We mentioned the precious help we got from our friends at QXIP, and the amazing venue the DIETI @ UniNA managed to secure us, but any event also needs sponsors to cover the many expenses that meeting in person entails. Luckily for us, our call for help did not go unheard, and we managed to find many companies willing to help us make the second edition of JanusCon a reality!

Since we’re talking of Naples, we pretty much had to use pizzas as the unit of measure for the levels of sponsorships… bronze/silver/gold work, but they’re boring after all :mrgreen: Why not Marinara/Bufala/4Stagioni instead?

Our “Quattro Stagioni” sponsor was Sipfront, a company providing calls automation services: while they were originally born to address SIP infrastructures, they’re also adding support for WebRTC, and they made a really cool presentation at JanusCon demonstrating how they can do it for Janus too! As our main sponsor, they also sponsored the social event on the first night of the conference: it once again happened at the Circolo Rari Nantes as last time, and we had a great time! (as you can see in the “before” and “after” pictures below)

Our “Bufala” sponsor, instead, was Digital Samba, a company providing a WebRTC conference call API and SDK. They were the very first company to get onboard as a sponsor for JanusCon, and we truly appreciated them for this, especially since they sponsored our tasty lunches too! Robert, the CEO, was actually among the participants of the very first edition of the event: at the time he only attended, while this time he and Conal also made a very interesting presentation on how they use Janus as a foundation for their services! They recently wrote a really cool blog post going in depth on why they chose Janus in the first place, which of course we loved to read 😀

Last, but definitely not least, our “Marinara” sponsors: WebRTC.Ventures (which sponsored our delicious coffee breaks) and Software Mansion! Both companies have a great deal of expertise when it comes to developing WebRTC solutions, and have been working on some really cool stuff over the years. Alberto from WebRTC.Ventures and Wojciech from Software Mansion both made excellent presentations over the course of the event.

Yeah, but what about the content?

Yes, content! A good location and amazing food, after all, can only bring you that far: you also need interesting people presenting interesting things to be convinced to attend an event, and luckily we’ve been graced with both, and in big amounts! We ourselves had a lot of cool stuff to talk about during the two days of JanusCon.

Yours truly kickstarted the event by talking a bit about the past, present and future of Janus (we needed to celebrate this 10th birthday after all!). And the number 10 was indeed a huge part of our event: the 10 years of Janus, the second edition of JanusCon (and what is 2 in binary? 10 of course), and 10 being such an important one in Naples. As such, we pretty much HAD to prepare a t-shirt for the event that would encompass all that in a few inches of cotton!

I was followed by our own Simon Pietro Romano, a founding member of Meetecho, who gave a detailed introduction on how his course at the University of Naples Federico II is forming students to become new WebRTC talents as part of their studies: basically the whole Meetecho team went through Simon’s lessons, so you can see how that really worked!

The first slot was concluded by QXIP’s Lorenzo Mangani (who I always call “Lorenzo #1!”), who introduced the monitoring capabilities of qryn, with special focus on how it can be used for Janus specifically.

After a tasty coffee break, Andrei Leontev from Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, Denis Sicun from Kaltura and Robert Strobl/Conal Mullan from Digital Samba all made really cool presentations that went quite in depth on how they use Janus as part of their services, with particular focus on aspects like scalability that are sure to be of interest to anyone willing to use Janus at scale as they (and we) do.

A lunch made of Neapolitan foody goodness only made participants more eager to listen and learn, and that started with our own Paolo (Saviano, since we have two in Paolo’s in the team) introducing the real-time CDN we created for the virtual event platform (and other scenarios) we use to power IETF and RIPE meetings. Wojciech Barczyński from Software Mansion introduced a really cool and flexible GPU based live audio/video compositor, while Jose Aguerre from Evercast continued the GPU discussion by introducing an open source, and again GPU based, video frame conversion library.

We concluded the first day with a bang, since Dominik Ridjic from Sipfront first introduced their WebRTC call automation framework, by even demoing it in real-time with Janus itself. Our own Alessandro (Toppi, since we have two different Alessandro’s too… I know, that’s very confusing to us as well!) then went through the different things you can do with our Janode Node.js SDK (that we use in a ton of different applications, including the aforementioned RTCDN). Finally, Celeste Mangani from QXIP gave us a break from too technical content, and shared a very well received overview on how SWOT and CAME can be very useful for strategic planning, especially for managing open source projects.

At this point, the sessions for the day ended, but we were far from over: it was time to relax a bit, and enjoy some time together in our social event! Delicious food, nice weather, interesting conversations, all on a terrace two steps away from the calm sea of Naples. If you’re curious to see what that looked or felt like, just have a look at this video some of Simon’s students took at the event with a drone: you won’t be able to taste the food (your loss!), but it should give you an idea of how much fun we had!

Can you do a conference without talking of AI?

Obviously not, and indeed the second day started with a heavy focus exactly on that, since we had multiple speakers addressing the role of AI within the context of real-time multimedia applications from different perspectives.

It fell upon Evan McGee from Signalwire to wake us all up after the revelry of the previous night at the social, and he did an incredible job at that, by providing an excellent summary on AI voice cloning technologies, with the related challenges and opportunities. Alberto Gonzalez Trastoy from WebRTC.Ventures followed with a practical and very interesting use case involving LAMs and Janus, providing intriguing ideas on what they could be used for in the near future. Saúl Ibarra Corretgé from the Jitsi and 8×8 team then covered the potential role of bots within the context of real-time meeting, providing real scenarios and posing interesting ethical question as part of the presentation.

Our own Antonio (Bevilacqua), then, blaming the loss of his beloved clicker as a motivator for creating something automated to replace it, covered our efforts on real-time transcriptions, by introducing (and demoing in real-time over the course of his whole talk!) a new project called Whispy (that we’ll soon release as open source software, as soon as it gets cleaned up a bit). Maksym Sobolev from Sippysoft concluded the AI block by introducing Infernos, the result of his efforts on creating a framework for AI inference meant for real-time applications, which involved an impressive hosted setup.

More WebRTC!

There’s so much more than just AI happening in the WebRTC world, though, and we were blessed to have very smart people presenting their recent efforts in that space.

Dan Jenkins and Marco Vidonis from Nimble Ape covered their newest creation: a tool in the vein of DNSPerf to compare and evaluate the speed and performance of different relay servers from a home network, and while the effort is ongoing, they already shared some interesting insights on the results they’ve collected so far. Tim Panton from pi.pe, instead, presented his work on how to get proper WebRTC streaming from race cars, using 5G as a technology to make it possible: as it often happens when watching Tim’s talks, we were all amazed, impressed and amused more than once over the course of his presentation!

It’s not all about WebRTC, though!

And “Not just WebRTC” was indeed the title of the presentation by Marcos de Vera Piquero from Quobis, who described in detail how Janus helped them properly interface with the complex SIP-based architecture they devised for their use cases. Dan Bogos from CGRates then described a very interesting effort they’ve been carrying on, specifically on how to provide CGRates-powered billing capabilities to Janus-based services, which could be very useful to complement authentication functionality in some use cases. As a nice appetizer before the last coffee break, Răzvan Crainea from OpenSIPS Solutions then introduced the work they had to do to address the 3GPP requirements for IMS/WebRTC interoperability.

The last block included a couple of presentations that were, just as Celeste’s, less technical, but that I really looked forward to for different reasons. Javi B from the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona gave a refreshing overview (and history lesson! I’m looking at you, Mozart!!) on digital piracy, covering past, present, existing patterns, and things to look up to in the future (including an easy way to pirate his own presentation :mrgreen: ). Last but not least, Daniel Mierla from Kamailio/Asipto shared his experience as an open source maintainer, by presenting the related opportunities and challenges the different aspects of being a maintainer entail: as one myself, I found the presentation really interesting and relatable!

All in all, I think you’ll agree that we did indeed receive a lot of really cool submissions from many companies and individuals, which allowed us to prepare a juicy schedule full of interesting content related to heterogeneous use cases and scenarios, whether related to Janus or not! I definitely learned a lot, and I think the same can be said for the other participants as well, since each talk prompted interested questions from the audience, and follow-up conversations after that.

Let’s not wait 5 more years!

After the last presentation, it was time for goodbyes. I was really happy with the outcome, so as part of my short parting slides, I added this note:

It did draw a few laughs from the audience, but I was dead serious… I’m most definitely not getting any younger, and I really want us all to meet again! And to possibly meet you too, dear reader, if you haven’t been with us in any of the previous two editions :mrgreen:

I'm getting older but, unlike whisky, I'm not getting any better