#ClueCon2022 Wrap-up

#ClueCon2022 was a huge success! We were so glad to be back fully in person this year, and want to thank everyone who made it possible – whether you were an attendee, speaker, sponsor, or you joined our livestreams. Below you’ll find a recap of the week, along with all the info you need for next year!

First and foremost, we kicked the week off with a new FreeSWITCH release! This is a minor release containing important bug fixes and stability improvements. Click here to view the release notes for v1.10.8.

As always, we started off ClueCon with the Coder Games hack-a-thon. This year we challenged attendees in the Maker Challenge to build their own Arduino car and live stream an epic stunt! We used sensors and cameras to live stream what was going on in the race track to a SignalWire Office. For FreeCYCLED hacks, attendees were challenged to build functioning projectiles that tested aim and accuracy by shooting various objects through different sized hoops. There were no rules about how this projectile had to function… all that mattered is how far the projectile could fly while maintaining peak accuracy.

A self-driving car hurtling toward the finish line.

Each year, the awesome presentations are a huge part of what makes ClueCon so memorable. Tuesday morning included our keynote presentation by Anthony Minessale. At lunch, attendees got to choose their workshop: Kamailio and its powerful iterators for management of SIP headers and body, or All Things Campaign Registry, depending on whether they wanted to learn about the recent version of Kamailio’s new tools for configuration files, or the current state of 10DLC messaging (The Campaign Registry) and messaging best practices. An open source roundtable ended the conference day, where we were joined by several open source experts from various projects. We heard about the latest developments, community building, financing projects, and got some questions answered.

Our open source roundtable! From left to right – Luca Pradovera, Fred Posner, Daniel-Constantin Mierla, Jachen Duschletta, Liviu Chircu, Michael Jerris, Anthony Minessale, Brian West.

Of course, after day two, we celebrated with our annual Gigabit Reception – as a Halloween party! Attendees dressed up in their best costumes for the costume contest, belted out their favorite songs at karaoke, ate pizza and enjoyed some games and networking after a long day of presentations.

A collection of some of the best costumes from this year’s Halloween Gigabit Reception.

Wednesday was another day full of presentations, and over lunch, attendees had the option to get an Introduction to QRYN with Jachen Duschletta! They learned how to set up, integrate and use QRYN – the open-source, high performance and cost-effective platform for logs, metrics and telemetry events designed for the next-generation of Telecoms and RTC Enterprises.

Evan Woolley hosted a panel for attendees to Ask a VC their questions about investing. Our top-notch investors spoke about some of the key things they look for in a growing company, or entrepreneur, before they make a move. We brought back a new annual favorite for that evening  – Poker Night! Attendees competed in a tournament, enjoyed some drinks and snacks, played board games, and won some cool prizes for their efforts.

Poker Night!

The presentations for ClueCon 2022 finished on Thursday, with plenty of familiar faces from the world of open source. We even got an update on the newest FreeSWITCH release from Andrey Volk, who called in from across the world to talk about the latest fixes! 

Thursday’s lunch and learn was led by Liviu Chircu of OpenSIPS, where attendees learned about Building STIR/SHAKEN services with OpenSIPS 3.3. The workshop included a live coding session and demo, and attendees brushed up on knowledge of leveraging the “stir_shaken” OpenSIPS module in order to build open-source, production-ready STIR/SHAKEN services.

We wrapped up the conference with Dangerous Demos, hosted by James Body, where we had SO MANY great entries for demos that had to get dangerous in 3 minutes or less. Participants even bribed attendees with Golden Tickets to win votes in their favor, to receive the coveted crystal Dangerous Demos trophies.

Those elusive Dangerous Demos trophies…

The Grand Prize giveaway of the custom-etched MacBook Pro marked the end of the conference! If you want your own, you’ll just have to attend next year…. (save the date for August 14th-17th, 2023!) But there’s good news if this year gave you FOMO… Early Bird tickets are now available! These will be as cheap as ClueCon tickets will possibly get, so take advantage of the sale while you can! Get 2023 ClueCon tickets for just $599.99.

If you just can’t wait for next August, you can find all the presentations, panels, and demos on the FreeSWITCH YouTube channel!

We’ll see you next year!

ClueCon: An Initiative of the FreeSWITCH Community to Empower the Worldwide VoIP Industry

Guest post by Inextrix

A “clue” is very important for any business, professional, or individual. The right “clue” for getting started, moving forward, and growing step by step to reach success is vital. ClueCon is the developers conference where these clues are collected by VoIP experts with years of experience and impressive vision, and presented to the VoIP industry to succeed in their journey. ClueCon is “by developers, for developers.” It is not just another corporate event where multiple keynote speakers deliver different sessions and the audience listens to them in a monotonous way. It is an interactive conference for VoIP, IP telephony, and other technology lovers.

Looking back at ClueCon: From Conference 1 to Now…

Originally, this conference was started back in 2005 by an ambitious team of Asterisk developers. The goal of the very first ClueCon was to bring different open source platforms together on a single stage, create a thriving environment, and build one of the strongest open source communities in the VoIP industry.

The very first event inspired the team to launch another open source telephony platform, which is now known as FreeSWITCH. Since then, year by year, the conference has taken place with key members of the FreeSWITCH community attending and hosting this event.

Top reasons to participate in the ClueCon Developers Conference

  1. To get that much needed clue

ClueCon has some great sessions, social networking events, demos, and more for its participants, hosted by industry leaders and experts. The thoughts shared during these keynote sessions or ideas discussed during social networking events can help entrepreneurs and business owners get the clues they need for their next innovative project. Aspiring VoIP developers and business owners will get the clues to succeed or move forward in this industry.

  1. To get support

ClueCon brings major players in the open source VoIP industry together. Company owners, expert VoIP developers, business enthusiasts, consultants, and community members participate in this event to exchange ideas and network to grow together. Interactive sessions give an open opportunity to know the speaker better and collaborate with them. This welcoming and warm environment offers ample opportunity to support each other and get supported.

  1. To build success tools

The ideas shared here will help you build the best success tools for your business. You can grab some futuristic technology product ideas to implement or you can get an answer to your long standing VoIP questions from telephony industry leaders. There is so much to explore and adopt for your career or business success. You can even find a partner that is as crazy as you are to live your dreams by building these tools together. Most importantly, many open source VoIP and telephony platforms and companies give some alluring offers that can help you build your tools with ease.

  1. To be part of a growing open source community

ClueCon brings together the top open source VoIP and telephony platforms like FreeSWITCH, Asterisk, Kamailio, OpenSIPs, ASTPP, and more on a single stage. You will be able to learn about all of these and many other open source communities and technologies. You can join these communities to convert your passion into a valuable contribution. These communities recognize the efforts of their contributors, which will further benefit you.

  1. To thrive together

ClueCon lives by the motto, “for developers, by developers.” In interactive events, you will be able to get support from the community and ever increasing VoIP industry to thrive.

  1. Unlimited fun

In this 4-day long conference, there will be multiple fun events to learn and laugh together. You will get a chance to be part of meet-ups and networking sessions. There is not only learning, but also a lot of fun that will rejuvenate you completely.

The emergence of FreeSWITCH as a platform and its USPs

FreeSWITCH and SignalWire are the main organizers of ClueCon, along with multiple other sponsors that contribute to the success of this conference every year. FreeSWITCH has been benefiting businesses for many years with the most robust, scalable, and secure telephony platform. 

Major USPs of FreeSWITCH as a telephony platform:

  • Ability to handle a variety of media with greater performance 
  • Ability to handle massive call volume and VoIP traffic with minimal hardware requirement and exceptional performance
  • Excellent multi tenancy support
  • Innovative features and modules
  • Modular structure
  • Outstanding stability 
  • Commendable failover support
  • And many more

More than 5000 businesses use this platform, including Zoom, Amazon, Vonage, and others. ClueCon is the place to meet visionary developers, community leaders, and business owners. 

How Inextrix Technologies uses FreeSWITCH to benefit its clients

Inextrix Technologies Pvt. Ltd is one of the sponsors of the ClueCon Developers Conference. The company has been using FreeSWITCH as one of the core technology platforms to offer custom telephony software development services to its clients. It has developed several multi tenant and digital VoIP solutions to help companies build sustainable businesses.

Inextrix is also one of the philanthropist companies that love open source VoIP communities. It has been managing and empowering an open source telephony platform for years – ASTPP: A Smart TelePhony Platform.

How ASTPP uses FreeSWITCH to benefit its clients

ASTPP is built using the core power of FreeSWITCH. It is the only VoIP telephony platform that supports the add-on concept to ensure the upgrade of software with new add-ons does not disturb the core functionality. Each add-on of ASTPP either has a VoIP solution or core functionality to add value to this smart platform. 

The stability, performance, scalability, and security could only have been incorporated into this platform with the help of FreeSWITCH. 

End note

In a nutshell, ClueCon has been inspiring professionals, bringing VoIP open source community leaders together, setting a stage to grow and succeed together, and taking advantage of the united power of technology, talent, and teamwork since its inception. 

In 2022, ClueCon is back again with more amazing keynote sessions, fun activities, coder games, roundtable discussions, meet-ups, demos, and much more. Book your calendar from the 17th to the 20th of October and be part of this event that brings digital revolution to all!    

What to Expect from #ClueCon2022

#ClueCon2022 is only a few weeks away! Join the FreeSWITCH team in Chicago for all your VoIP, WebRTC, cloud communications, and open source needs. Here’s what to expect from your favorite annual developers conference, October 17th – 20th:

Monday will kick off the week with the Coder Games hack-a-thon, hosted by SignalWire’s Abbi Minessale. Whether you want to code your way to the prize or you’re a builder at heart, there’s a challenge for everyone at the Coder Games! You can work as a team or go solo as you utilize the provided materials to build your creation. Tons of awesome prizes will also be handed out throughout the day.

This year there will be three challenges to choose from:

Maker Challenge: Are you an engineer? This year we are challenging you to build your own Arduino car and live stream an epic stunt! Kits, supplies, and code will be provided along with a few extra sensors and surprises to play and build with.

FreeCYCLED Hacks: Not a developer? Show off your skills by building a functioning projectile that tests your aim and accuracy as we challenge you to shoot various objects through different sized hoops.

SignalWire Challenge: If you want to win a cash prize for coding, this is the challenge for you. Create an open source application using SignalWire’s APIs/SDKs to receive $500! Because this is ClueCon, a key part of the submitted application needs to be communication (e.g. voice, video, dialing phone numbers and calling people or automated voice responses, or SMS/MMS).

When the day is over, we’ll all be getting together for a tasty Chicago meal at Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap. Come hang out and unwind after a long day of hacking for some good food and even better company!

The middle of the week will be packed with presentations from industry experts. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, catch informative talks and interesting demos by leaders in the world of open source and telecom. ClueCon is all one track, so you won’t have to miss out on anything. Click here to find out who’s speaking when! Use the breaks during the day to chat with our exhibitors or hang out with the team in the SignalWire lounge. 

Tuesday morning will include our keynote speaker, Anthony Minessale, so be sure to join us right away at 9:30. At lunchtime, choose your workshop – Daniel-Constantin Mierla will be leading a Kamailio lunch & learn, while SignalWire will be hosting a Campaign Registry workshop. The conference day will wrap up with an open source roundtable where we will be joined by experts from the world of open source telecom: Anthony Minessale, Brian West, Michael Jerris, Daniel-Constantin Mierla, Fred Posner, Liviu Chircu and Lorenzo Mangani. We’ll relax in the evening at the annual Gigabit reception, which this year will include a halloween costume contest! Join us for drinks, hors d’oeuvres, the annual Jam Session and ClueCon karaoke.

On Wednesday morning, we’ll be joined by some expert investors for our “Ask a VC” panel. Ever wonder what goes on in the mind of a Venture Capitalist? This panel of top-notch investors will speak about some of the key things they look for in a growing company, or entrepreneur, before they make a move. Get a HOMER workshop at lunchtime hosted by Lorenzo Mangani, and in the evening face off with your fellow attendees in the annual Poker Tournament! Beginners are more than welcome, and there will be board games if cards just aren’t your thing.

On Thursday, the final day of the conference, catch the last of the presentations and enjoy an OpenSIPS workshop over lunch led by Liviu Chircu. In the afternoon, we’ll wrap up the conference day with Dangerous Demos hosted by James Body, where danger is part of the fun and you never know who will crash and burn. Don’t forget your raffle tickets, because the final event of the day will be the grand prize drawing for a custom etched MacBook. 

If you stay Thursday night, there are a few more activities you can look forward to – we’ll be hosting a SignalWire roadshow onsite at the hotel after ClueCon is done! Friday, FreeSWITCH training is available for purchase, and in the afternoon, free SignalWire training is available with your ClueCon registration. Lunch is included if you attend both. Learn more about all the training and workshops here.

We can’t wait to see you there! 

Register now!

A Guide to ClueCon’s Evening Events

ClueCon has a lot going on every day: educational presentations, workshops, hands-on hack-a-thon challenges. So each night of the conference, we’ve carved out time for networking and fun to unwind, relax, and get to know your peers.

After a long day of presentations or building engineering marvels, join the FreeSWITCH founders, the developers who maintain the project, the ClueCon team, and others in the community for some food, drinks, and games. 

When you’re purchasing your ClueCon tickets and wondering whether to check ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on your sign up form for each evening event, this guide will give you some insight on what exactly those events are. Here’s a brief overview of the 2022 evening activities for you to consider when registering for this year’s conference.

Monday Night: Dinner at Melnick’s

We start the week off easy. After a day of hacking and building at the Coder Games, we’re off site from the hotel for a classic Chicago dinner at Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap. Join us for an evening of Chicago wings, barbecue, and drinks. We’ll spend a couple of hours enjoying some good food, good company, and relaxing before the week to come. Who knows? We might even keep the festivities going after dinner.

Tuesday Night: The Gigabit Reception

Every year, the Gigabit Reception is high energy and highly anticipated. This is our annual party where everyone has the chance to get together and mingle with all the other attendees, speakers, and sponsors, and we wouldn’t recommend missing it. With Halloween just around the corner, we even added a costume party to this year’s event! There will be food, there will be drinks, there will be games, and there will be music. Bring your favorite instrument, because the annual Jam Session always features Anthony Minessale on guitar and any other willing musicians who want to join. And if you aren’t a particularly skilled musician, don’t worry…  ClueCon karaoke will feature the rest of us who just want to have a good time.

Wednesday Night: Poker Night

Last year we hosted our first ever ClueCon Poker Night, and it was such a success that we’re bringing it back around for a second time. The tournament will be sponsored by Prompt.io and World Poker Tour Champion Phil Gordon. Let your competitive side out a little! If you haven’t played much poker before, don’t worry – this event is beginner-friendly. Anybody could be the winner. Flex your poker skills or just enjoy some drinks and watch the drama unfold. If you win a game, you might even get some cool prizes.

We hope to see you there!

Register Now!

2022 Sponsorships Available Now!

Do you need to get your name or new idea out there? Have you been searching for the perfect opportunity to get brand recognition from a global audience? Maybe you want to do some networking with brilliant telecom professionals, you want to shape the future of communications technology, or you just want to support the FreeSWITCH project.

If any of these priorities resonate with you, consider sponsoring ClueCon 2022! ClueCon attracts some of the best and brightest innovators in the industry from around the world. Help us make it all happen and your brand will be recognized globally as supporting the future of the industry while you build lasting connections. Not to mention, all levels of sponsorship come with conference passes for your team to join the fun at ClueCon.

ClueCon will be taking place October 17th-21st at the Swissotel Chicago, and the sooner you sign up to sponsor, the more recognition you’ll receive! There are various levels of sponsorship available, so you’ll get the kind of exposure that suits your brand’s needs. Whether you want an exhibit booth to share your ideas, or you just want to see ads with your logo getting out to our broad social media audience, there’s something for everyone.

Thinking big? Opportunities are still available to host a branded evening event! Too big? We’ve got you covered: sponsor the snacks for our hack-a-thon, host a private meeting space, or have us air your company commercial during the conference. Six levels of sponsorship are available at varying prices, from 8bit all the way to 256bit. You can find out more about sponsorship opportunities or meet with us to discuss your ideas by reaching out to info@cluecon.com.

You can see a brief overview of the sponsorship benefits below:

We can’t wait to see you there!

Become a Sponsor!



ClueCon 2021 Wrap-up

Thank you to everyone who attended ClueCon TGI2021, our first hybrid ClueCon! Whether you attended in person or online, we appreciate you joining us for this hybrid event experiment. This new format allowed for those attending online to interact with those in person and vice versa, which was a ClueCon first. If you have any feedback about your experience, you can fill out this quick survey to share it with us so we can make ClueCon even better next year. Though the format was a little different this year, ClueCon followed its traditional lineup of events throughout the week. Monday kicked off with the Coder Games, our annual hack-a-thon that includes several challenges for developers and non-developers alike. Attendees built boats, engineered bridges, and played trivia with virtual attendees to win an exciting array of prizes.
A beautiful boat styled as a chariot.
The presentations started on Tuesday after the release of FreeSWITCH v1.10.7! In FreeSWITCH founder Anthony Minessale’s keynote, he addressed how we made the hybrid event happen by using the video technology built over the years on the back of FreeSWITCH, and how we try to make life easier for developers, including the devotion to open source that fuels ClueCon each year. Videos of all the ClueCon presentations and workshops will be available soon – subscribe to the FreeSWITCH YouTube channel so you don’t miss out! The annual Gigabit Reception took place Tuesday evening as well, but this year, with a spooky twist! After a long day of presentations, attendees put on their Halloween costumes, grabbed their favorite drinks, sang karaoke, and played games. Virtual attendees were able to pop in and hang out with us in the lounge too!
Playing Rock Band at the Gigabit Reception.
Wednesday included more presentations, a Kamailio workshop led by Daniel-Constantin Mierla, some seriously Dangerous Demos, and a FreeSWITCH roundtable until the evening, when attendees participated in a poker tournament thanks to the sponsorship of Phil Gordon and Prompt.io. The week wrapped up on Thursday with a few more presentations, a HOMER workshop led by Lorenzo Mangani, and our Grand Prize giveaway of a custom engraved MacBook Pro.
Giving away the MacBook Pro
We want to give a warm thank you to all our sponsors and speakers who made ClueCon possible in what was a difficult and uncertain year. With social distancing measures in place, like our bigger venue with spaced out seating, and the option to attend online, we hoped to keep everyone comfortable and safe as we reconnected with the FreeSWITCH community. Overall, this ClueCon was a successful first hybrid event and we had a ton of fun getting back together in person at last. If you miss ClueCon like we do, or you’re suffering from moderate to severe FOMO, consider joining us October 17th-20th in 2022!

Sharon’s Top 12 Reasons to Come to ClueCon – Part 3

By Sharon White

Sharon White has been the main organizer of ClueCon for many years! This is a little behind the scenes look into ClueCon and all her favorite things about the conference.

Click here to learn more and register for ClueCon TGI2021!

4. The Gigabit Reception

Most conferences worth their salt have a reception – a chance for the attendees that make up the community to mingle. The Gigabit Reception is the annual party that happens on Tuesday evening during ClueCon. This is one of my favorite events. After a long day of absorbing the vast knowledge that the speakers will share, partaking in prize drawings (at least 3-4 each day!), stuffing yourself with a delicious Chicago lunch and visiting with our amazing sponsors, it’s always great to relax, listen to music, play video games, and unwind.

This year will be one of the most amazing receptions of all time. Equal to the Met Gala in grandeur, the who’s who of ClueCon and FreeSWITCH will dazzle you with their presence. With Halloween just around the corner, we even added a costume party to the event. There will be a little bit of something for everybody – board games, drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and more.

The most exciting parts of the Gigabit Reception are the Mario Kart tournament, karaoke, and Anthony Minessale’s annual guitar jam session. Whether you’re joining us in person or online this year, you can hang out with fellow community members, jam out, wear a costume, and have a blast at this highly-anticipated networking event!

3. Registration

The registration desk holds a special place in my heart. I first came to ClueCon to hang out with a friend, knowing nothing about open source telecom, and was asked to help out on the first day of the conference. It was love at first sight. The small area that was made up of a metric ton of cardboard boxes was transformed into the beautiful check-in setup that is the first impression for each attendee upon arrival.

Working at the registration desk is fast paced and busy those first couple days, but the best thing about it is meeting all of the attendees we will be spending time with that week, and revisiting with all of the attendees who come back year after year. ClueCon attendees are the glue that holds ClueCon together and they are the reason we have a conference every year. Without them there would be no ClueCon!

When you get off the elevator, you will immediately be surrounded by fellow community members, and have the chance to mingle at the meet and greet at registration. This year we will also have color-coded lanyards you can use to indicate your comfort level for social distancing practices. And of course, there will be plenty of masks and hand sanitizer available to keep everyone safe and healthy.

2. Meet the Creators of FreeSWITCH and the Founders of Cluecon

Anthony Minessale, Brian West, and Michael Jerris are the brilliant minds behind the FreeSWITCH open source project. I have grown very fond of these three. They saw a need in the world, and they set out to fill that need – while making it free to everyone. This mission that led to the creation of FreeSWITCH will always be at the heart of ClueCon.

The three of them met a few years before the first ClueCon, and it was the first ClueCon that would lead to the founding of FreeSWITCH itself. Unlike today’s videoconferencing-centric world, back then humans were drawn to meeting in person. In 2005, they hosted the very first ClueCon, and instead of a well-organized tech conference, it was more like inviting 50 friends to get together. Located at the Best Western near the airport in Chicago, it was not nearly as lavish as it is today. The traditional nightly activities were the same, although the parties included kegs they could not finish (but hey, bonus beer during the conference the next morning… I don’t know if it was a good idea. But I’m sure it was fun.)

Come to ClueCon and meet the founders! When you do, ask them about the SWAT team at the first ClueCon. Stories galore!

Brian West, Michael Jerris, and Anthony Minessale

1. A chance to see my Binders in person… You never even realized this was missing from your life.

I can go on for hours about all the details that go into planning a ClueCon. From all the logistical organizing with the hotel, to minutiae like labeling the raffle tickets, to drafting schedule after schedule, the almighty binder contains all the information we need to survive the week. Over the years we have learned that not all hotels have the immense capacity for internet that we need; that not all hotels can produce the audio and video levels that we need; that during a global pandemic it is important to have a great virtual platform to use to integrate those who can’t be with us in person. So we have used our own technology and resources to accomplish all of this and more.

These endless details cannot be kept in any one person’s head, so I have about 20 lovely binders that keep all of ClueCon safe in the hands of all the organizers. These binders are my brain and without them I dont think ClueCon would be as successful as it is. Yes, I said it: the binders are the single most important aspect of running a great conference. They help run the conference like a well-oiled machine.

I might have said it before about attendees… but binders are the glue holding ClueCon together.

Sharon’s Top 12 Reasons to Come to ClueCon – Part 2

By Sharon White

Sharon White has been the main organizer of ClueCon for many years! This is a little behind the scenes look into ClueCon and all her favorite things about the conference.

Click here to learn more and register for ClueCon TGI2021!

8. Raffle Tickets

Who doesn’t like giveaways? For ClueCon, raffle tickets are the primary way that we give away prizes. Every single attendee receives a certain number of raffle tickets dependent upon when they signed up for ClueCon. Sign up early and you receive 20 raffle tickets per day. Sign up right before ClueCon and you receive one raffle ticket per day. But no matter when you sign up, you still have a chance to win some really cool stuff.

At most conferences those tiny tickets can represent a parting prize of a dinner for two at a great local restaurant, $500 cash, or a trip to Hawaii. For ClueCon, the annual grand prize is a custom engraved MacBook Pro. Similar to our t-shirts, we put time and effort into giving our attendees something one-of-a-kind and truly special. Based on the year’s theme of ClueCon, the Macbook is intricately engraved with the conference design. This makes it a unique item you can only get at ClueCon.

The Macbook, 2015

Though there is only one MacBook to win, there are many other prizes. In the past we have given out hundreds of SIP phones, wireless chargers, and even a desktop arcade game. There are at least 8 giveaways every day – and dozens of winners.

Register now you could be one of them!

7. Hotel Life

Everyone at one point in their lives has to stay at a hotel. To me, this is really fun and adventurous. Walking in symbolizes the beginning of a week that I have been working towards for the better part of a year. For the next week this hotel is my home away from home. This year, ClueCon is taking place at the InterContinental Hotel on the Magnificent Mile, right in the middle of downtown Chicago.

Immediately the whirlwind of setting up for ClueCon begins at check-in. I have to work with the whole team to make sure all of our equipment gets to the hotel in one piece, choreograph about 50 people that have poured their lives into setting up ClueCon, organize the conference rooms, and become acquainted with the hotel staff all on the Sunday before the conference. The thrill of ClueCon is in the air right when I first walk in… Then I get to work. By the end of the conference I have an entire family that I will not see again until next year.

The greatest part of hotel life is surrounding myself with the best people to help me through the week. And for that week, the hotel is home for all of us! Hotel life and city life are one in the same – iconic Chicago restaurants surround the area, and the shops of Michigan Avenue are right around the corner. The InterContinental sits at the intersection of famous landmarks and destinations like Cloud Gate and Navy Pier. This year ClueCon will take over 3 floors of the historic hotel, including the sprawling grand ballroom and the medieval-themed King Arthur’s Court.

6. Speakers 

We get many speakers signing up to share their newest innovations or demo their latest projects. And sometimes they might pull something strange to grab your attention…

ClueCon is a conference for developers by developers and to that end it is vitally important that we have the right speakers. When ClueCon speakers submit their talks, the FreeSWITCH founders hand-select the best of the best to share their ideas. This year, there will be a combination of speakers in person at the hotel in Chicago and online! Now that we’ve done two online conferences, we know that it’s still going to be awesome, and a crazy unique hybrid experience.

The presentations are a huge part of what make ClueCon so memorable. There is always a ton to learn about various updates in the world of open source and telecom, and there are so many passionate, knowledgeable leaders who have plenty to teach. These speakers hang around later to answer any questions, chat, and network! You never know what you might learn about, or who will steal the show with a unique demo…

5. Networking

I have worked at retail establishments, banks, even a flower shop, completely different jobs that gave me work experience with all kinds of people. I didn’t really get how well a conference allows you to get to know others. Up until ClueCon the only conferences I had been to were Star Trek conventions and ComicCon’s. While meeting new people at those conferences was fun and exciting, networking at ClueCon has inspired major changes in the tech industry that have an impact on the world. In fact, the first ClueCon led to the founding of FreeSWITCH…

Not to mention, ClueCon has the coolest networking events, like the annual Gigabit Reception. This reception includes not only great hors d’oeuvres and drinks, but the highly-anticipated jam session, and, as always, ClueCon karaoke.

Anthony Minessale at the annual Jam Session.

One of my first ClueCon’s, I was manning the registration desk and I started watching two of our attendees meet and bond in seconds, something that could lead to collaborating to bring new technologies to the forefront by combining their knowledge and intellect. I remember thinking “They meet here, at ClueCon, and maybe a few years down the line we will be introduced to a product that was birthed right here in front of the registration desk.”  Who knows? Maybe that collaboration will help to make the world a better place. Don’t get me wrong, Star Trek conventions are amazing, but who can compete with the innovation that comes from developers getting together at ClueCon?

To be continued…

Sharon’s Top 12 Reasons to Come to ClueCon – Part 1

By Sharon White

Sharon White has been the main organizer of ClueCon for many years! This is a little behind the scenes look into ClueCon and all her favorite things about the conference.

I first came to ClueCon years ago to hang out with my best friend for a week. I started helping to clean up the registration desk, then before I knew it I had taken over all of registration, and by the next year I had taken over all of ClueCon. It’s been a crazy ride, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite things that you can look forward to at ClueCon this year!


12. The Most Dangerous of Demos

The first time I saw a Dangerous Demo I thought “this is weird, they want to fail?” But as it turns out, that’s what makes it so fun. Dangerous Demos was started 12 years ago by industry veteran James Body for developers to prove their experience and abilities by pushing the envelope of new ideas in a competitive environment. I have seen the craziest demos over the years. One year a cell phone encased in bubble wrap was volleyed all over the giant conference hall and it still worked. Another time, the MC’s hotel room was broken into by the demo contestants who used a raspberry PI to hack into his keycard and project a video of it onto the huge screens for everyone to witness. And my least favorite, a demo where after calling a phone number you must choose a number. Choose the wrong one and it plays the “Baby Shark” song… over and over and over. It’s maddening!

Several awards are given out, including the Crash and Burn prize for the demo that fails the most spectacularly.  But not all the demos fail! Check out this demo from our virtual ClueCon in 2020, one of my favorites, by SignalWire CTO Evan McGee. My face in the video tells you all you need to know.


11. Boats and the Night Sky

Some of the greatest moments at ClueCon happen during our all inclusive evening events. One of my favorites is the Sunset Boat Tour we host Thursday night on the last day of the conference after all the great speakers finish presenting for the week. Everyone at the conference walks the two blocks to the pier, often stopping for some ice cream from a street vendor close to the dock, to board the boat and set out onto Lake Michigan to witness the Chicago skyline at sunset.

My first year of the boat tour I was so naive, staying on the top deck of the boat. That was before I realized the lower deck is where the cool kids go. The fully stocked bar (not only alcohol) is the first place you should hit. Then take your drink to the front of the boat to chat with other developers and the ClueCon team. By the time the sun begins to set over Chicago the boat is positioned out on the lake and the view is astounding.

Usually, ClueCon is in August, when the weather is warm and the sun sets quite late in the day. This year it will be in late October, and the Midwestern chill of autumn will start to settle over Chicago. But don’t worry! The boat is heated.


10. It’s all fun and games: The Coder Games

ClueCon’s hack-a-thon is a day filled with games and fun for every attendee, whether you like to code your way to the prize or you’re a builder at heart. You can work as a team or go solo as you utilize the provided materials to build your creation and win prizes! The day is planned for months in advance to be fun, challenging for most, and inclusive for all.  We now have 3-4 standard games you can play each year.  The Maker Challenge is meant to test your coding knowledge, while games like the FreeCYCLED Challenge are meant for all ages and all skill levels, where there is a simple goal such as making a ping pong ball travel 2 feet using everyday random items like straws, toilet paper rolls and poster board.

Abbi Minessale, daughter of FreeSWITCH founder Anthony Minessale, is the Coder Games Queen, and has hosted the hack-a-thon for several years. Abbi works for the better part of a year with the help of some developers to come up with the challenges, and she also designs the Coder Games t-shirt and other activities. One of the best is our classic “Cards Against Technology” game that was given to each attendee as a gift at the last in-person ClueCon.

The first time I attended the Coder Games I didn’t have any idea what could actually be made during the games. One of our sponsors brought in a 3D printer that year. During the Maker Challenge, one of the contestants used it to print an old vintage telephone, hooked it up to the internet, and actually made a phone call! It was very impressive. One of my other favorites was the year we had contestants build a little remote controlled car using the Cards Against Technology game as a track for a race at the end of the day. It’s always the most creative day of ClueCon!

Winner of the remote controlled car race.
The functioning 3D printed vintage phone.


9. The Softest T-Shirts in the World

This may come as a surprise, but every single person I know, no matter the age, owns a t-shirt.  At conferences they are a staple. If you attend a conference and don’t come out of it with 2+ t-shirts… you chose not to take them. And ClueCon has the BEST t-shirts.

The ClueCon Team takes t-shirts very seriously. The design alone takes months to plan. The shirts are always styled after the conference theme, and that design is followed in the show guide and other printed materials. You also never know what kind of easter eggs you might find in the t-shirt design. One of my favorites was when we had two different designs of the same theme that signified emerging AI technology and the human brain.

At the dawn of the universe, there was nothing, then boom. The big bang sent six elemental t-shirts hurtling across the virgin universe. These infinity shirts each control an essential aspect of existence: Space, Reality, Power, Soul, Mind… and ClueCon. After sending monks, sheikhs, gurus, and a shaman to the vast reaches of Mount Everest on an epic quest to retrieve the most sought after ClueCon Infinity Shirt, the shirt is taken to an underground lab in Atlantis that creates the softest and most durable synthetic material known to man. You will not want to miss out on the best t-shirt ever created!

To be continued….

What to expect from our first Hybrid ClueCon!

Join us in Chicago or online October 25th-28th, 2021!

  The world of events changed for everybody in 2020. Usually, every August would mark the time for our annual developers’ conference in Chicago, ClueCon, which has been around for 17 years. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, August 2020 instead brought about an experiment for the ClueCon team – we hosted ClueCon completely virtually, with almost everything that makes the conference what it is: our Coder Games hack-a-thon, networking opportunities, and the informative presentations and workshops that make the conference an educational opportunity for our community.

  ClueCon Deconstructed turned out to be a huge success, and served as a useful experience for launching SignalWire Events and the SignalWire Work platform. Since then we have greatly improved how we host virtual events. We now have an extremely skilled team that works specifically in the world of online events, and with the help of this team and a much more structured process, in February 2021 we held a mini-ClueCon to focus mainly on workshops and presentations.

  As the world slowly and hopefully changes for the better in 2021, we are looking forward to gathering together in Chicago this October at the beautiful Intercontinental Hotel on the Magnificent Mile. However, as everywhere in the world is on a different timeline in combatting the pandemic, for the first time we will be welcoming remote attendees to the party too! Using the improved platform and virtual events process we’ve built since ClueCon 2020, we’ll combine everything we know about hosting ClueCon virtually with the classic format of an in-person conference.

  The ClueCon team has already been fully vaccinated and we welcome anyone who is comfortable traveling during this time to join us on October 25-28, 2021. There will be plenty of masks and hand sanitizer available for all attendees to make sure everybody there feels comfortable and safe. The health of all the team members and attendees is our first priority, and we are only having the in-person conference as we feel it is safe to do so. That being said, we recognize it simply won’t be feasible for everyone to commit to coming to Chicago this year, and it’s difficult to know what the state of the world will look like over the next 5 months. Because of this, we’re doing everything we can to accommodate those who will be joining us virtually from anywhere in the world!

  Attendees joining us online will be able to partake in all parts of the conference – there will be screens all over the venue to allow those attending in-person to interact with those online, and you’ll even be able to join us for networking events like the classic Gigabit Reception. So grab some snacks and your favorite drink! Nothing will be off-limits to remote attendees; join us for each presentation, workshop, our Coder Games hack-a-thon, and all the networking events!

  Additionally, we will have some of our speakers with us in Chicago, and other speakers will be calling in virtually from other parts of the world. We’ll be integrating the virtual conference as best we can with the in-person conference, so you’ll still be able to interact with speakers, other guests, and the ClueCon team no matter how you choose to participate! This is our plan to slowly bring more people together during this uncertain time, and we hope you’ll join us either in Chicago or from the comfort of your own home. We’re confident that the tech we’ve built, along with the events team we’ve curated, will make this experimental hybrid event a success. 

If you want to explore Chicago and you feel comfortable doing so, we highly recommend joining us at the Intercontinental Hotel! Unfortunately, virtually we won’t be able to provide you with the tasty meals and experience of the city – so if that’s a priority for you, do consider joining us in-person!

  Over the next few months we will have more details available, including a list of speakers and a week-long schedule of the event. In the meantime, you can take advantage of early-bird pricing. Registration is open at cluecon.com/register.

  We can’t wait to see you there!