(4/26/2017 6:15 PM ET) The fix is in place and calls are operational again.
The root cause of the outage was a change to the way that our video service provider, Twilio, creates calls, that was not compatible with our current service. We were informed in advance of this change, but we were not made aware that the change would be a breaking change and that we would need to modify our platform to support their change.
We immediately notified Twilio of our outage, who acknowledged that the breaking change was not adequately spelled out in their communications to their clients. They immediately worked directly with our team to help us implement a fix. They also agreed to outlining a more robust process to announce breaking service changes to their clients that is unambiguous and that is announced to all Twilio customers over multiple communication channels (email, text, and website announcements).
Regardless of Twilio's new announcement processes, we have set up additional points of contact with Twilio, and we've instituted a review process for all upcoming Twilio changes that includes direct communication with Twilio about those changes. This will allow us to understand the impact Twilio's changes may have on our service well in advance of those changes being pushed out.
We sincerely apologize for this outage.
(4/26/2017 6:00 PM ET) We have a fix ready to deploy. Deployment can take up to 30 minutes, plus testing. ETA is now 6:30 PM ET.
(4/26/2017 2:30 PM ET) We've identified the root cause of the issue. ETA for a fix is 5:00 PM ET.
(4/26/2017 10:06 AM ET) We are investigating calls not connecting today from browsers and from the iPad app. We will post updates here as we receive them.
(3/22/2017 8:21 PM ET) To mitigate inconsistent call audio/video quality, we have deployed service updates to our infrastructure. Please close all browser windows and VRI Direct windows, then reopen and log back in to VRI Direct.
(3/22/2017 7:12 PM ET) Our media services team has identified a potential fix for the inconsistent call audio/video quality. We will be rolling out an update to our servers by 9:00 PM ET tonight. At that time, please close all browser windows and VRI Direct windows, then reopen and log back in to VRI Direct.
(3/22/2017 3:45 PM ET) We are investigating reports of some calls not sending/receiving media after connected, thus only allowing text chat to take place. The observed behavior is that some calls work, but others from the same caller don't. We have escalated this to our media service provider and we will update this article as soon as we have more information.
(3/15/2017 10:23 PM ET) We've confirmed reports of calls not connecting from Firefox 52 and Chrome 57. Both browsers were recently released by Mozilla and Google, respectively.
A fix for Chrome 57 is now available. To receive the fix, please close all Google Chrome browser windows and all VRI windows, then reopen VRI Direct and log in. You will then automatically receive the update.
The latest Firefox (52 and newer) no longer supports any plug-ins except Flash, which means Firefox 52 and newer cannot be used to place VRI calls on our current video platform. Once we transition to our new platform at the end of the month, Firefox 52 and higher can be used again.
If you want to continue to use Firefox for the time being, you will need to install an older version of Firefox, and then configure Firefox not to automatically update itself. This is unfortunately the only workaround that will work for Firefox:
(2/2/2017 3:24 PM ET) We've confirmed today that older versions of Chrome are no longer compatible with the WebRTC specification (the spec we use for audio/video streaming). If you are trying to place or receive calls, and the calls keep getting stuck in the "Connecting" phase, and you use the installed VRI Direct desktop icons, then you may be affected.
How Can I Tell If I'm Affected?
Perform the following in the order listed:
1. Double-click a VRI Direct desktop icon to open the app.
2. Press CTRL-N to open a new window.
3. From the new window, click the Options button (near the top-right corner, looks like three stacked lines or three stacked dots), then click Help > About Google Chrome.
4. If your version number starts with 44 or lower, then you are affected.
How Do I Fix It?
To fix this situation, perform the following in the order listed:
1. Uninstall VRI Direct.
2. If you don't already have Google Chrome installed, install the Google Chrome browser from https://www.google.com/chrome
Why Am I Affected?
The VRI Direct app comes bundled with an older Google Chrome version (39), in case the user doesn't already have Chrome installed. Google does not allow us to keep this version automatically up-to-date, so it's pegged at version 39.
If Chrome is installed on the computer already -- before you've installed the VRI Direct -- then the app ignores its bundled version and uses your computer's Chrome version. Google auto-updates its version every few months.
If Chrome is *not* already installed when you install VRI Direct, the VRI Direct app uses its own bundled version -- and VRI Direct will continue to use this version even if you install the regular Chrome browser at a later date. Uninstalling VRI Direct, then reinstalling it after you've got Google's own Chrome installed, solves this issue.
(2/1/2017 12:53 PM ET) The heavy load has been mitigated and VRI Direct services are operational again.
Also, Google released an updated version of its Chrome browser yesterday. Per Google's customary release strategy, Chrome users receive the update automatically over a period of several days.
Yesterday, users who were the first to receive the new Chrome update were temporarily not able to set up VRI calls. This issue has been fixed and users on both the new Chrome browser version and the older version should be able to set up VRI calls.
(2/1/2017 12:07 PM ET) VRI Direct is currently experiencing heavy load, causing call timeouts and general slow behavior. We're actively investigating this issue and will post updates here.
We've deployed a fix to the platform for the blank video screen issue. Interpreters and customers using computers will need to log out and log back in; as they do so, they'll automatically pick up the latest fix.
iPads do not have to restart, as this issue was related to web browser users only.
Let us know if you continue to see blank video screens. We apologize for the inconvenience.
We have uncovered an issue where, under some circumstances, the VRI Direct Mobile for iOS app fails to fully complete a call request, leaving the iPad/iPhone caller to think that the interpreters are not answering.
If you log in to the VRI Direct Mobile app on an iPad or iPhone, and you repeatedly try calling interpreters without the interpreters answering, please log out of the iOS app and log back in again, and then try placing your calls again.
We are actively pursuing a fix to this issue and will provide additional information as we learn more.
VRI Direct users on laptop/desktop browsers and Android tablet Chrome browsers are unaffected by this issue.
When trying to place a call, some users may see the message "Internal Server Error" with no call getting established. This is not a critical issue, as subsequent call attempts work around the error situation, but we recognize that this is an inconvenience and we're investigating cause and fixes, and will roll out fixes as soon as they become available.
In the meantime, if you experience this situation, simply retry your call.