Yesterday I made my first WebRTC call to Lance Berks (of HollyConnects fame) using FrisB from the latest Chrome browser, and after that went on the explore a number of services available using WebRTC. So I thought I’d start to compile a list of interesting start-ups with WebRTC-based services. A previous weblog article provides a summary of what WebRTC means to telecoms. I briefly review in this article some of the interesting WebRTC start-ups in reverse alphabetical order, see below, I’m sure I’ve missed many, so let me know and I’ll add to the list.
- Zingaya (‘Call’ button for websites) enables voice calls through any computer from a webpage. No download or phone is required. Zingaya offers this seamless voice calling capability to any website. Whether it’s a large e-commerce enterprise or a start-up. Simply embed a ‘Call’ button into the website. Visitors can click that button and the call is forwarded to the website operator’s preferred land-line or mobile phone. All that is required is a website; all the visitors need is a browser and microphone.
- Voxeo Labs (Open source enabler for WebRTC services) Phono is a jQuery plug-in that turns any Web browser into a multichannel communications platform, capable of placing and receiving VoIP telephone calls from the browser, as well as handling real-time chat communications. Phono is a client-side solution and requires zero server-side logic on the part of a developer; all communication is handled by the Voxeo Cloud.
- Utribo (SaaS Service) ‘Connect’ by Utribo is a Software as a Service that enables subscribers to receive calls made in a web browser to their computer, phone, or PBX. Based on WebRTC, ‘Connect’ provides voice and video calling capabilities.
- Tenhands (Enterprise HD Video Collaboration) Desktop HD video collaboration service, it’s free and built for business needs.
- FrisB (Free global calling) Free global calling between any web-browser and any phone (or web browser) with no downloads.
- Bistri (Social Video) Video chat with fun video effects, take screenshots of calls, share them with friends or social networks. Bistri runs in the browser, so there’s no need to install additional software or plugins.
- Asterisk / Digium (Open Source PBX) is a free, open source software that makes it simple to create and deploy a wide range of telephony applications and services. They’re adding WebRTC to their project.
It’s interesting to see the span of approaches, from enablers (Voxeo Labs), website call-now buttons (Zingaya), SaaS offers (Utribo), business HD video conferencing / collaboration (Tenhands), free global calling with any phone (FrisB), to social video chat (Bistri). This is just the tip of the iceberg of innovations.
A common theme is the claim of “no client download,” which is correct but I think the customer / end user value is dependent on the scenario. Today people have no problem downloading apps if the service interests them (e.g. free video calling with family members). While asking a customer to download an app just to talk with you will be considered insulting. There are some niggly bugs, for example if another browser is running Java (e.g. Internet Explorer) it can affect the mic volume control, which is to be expected with such brand new technology.