WebRTC Buttons at Abbeynet: An Interview With Davide Corda

January 17, 2013

This time, we interview Abbeynet, who provide call buttons for websites.

It was time for an interview with Luca Filiggheddu’s old gig, Abbeynet, prior to his move to RIM – especially since I found out that they too are using WebRTC.

Abbeynet provides VoIP services and solutions. One of their products is Sitòfono, a callback service for websites. This makes it the perfect candidate for adoption of WebRTC.

What I like about this story is that it has its roots long before WebRTC came into the scene, and it now incorporated WebRTC into its story.

Abbeynet's WebRTC team

Abbeynet’s WebRTC team

Davide Corda, Project and Innovation Manager at Abbeynet was kind enough to explain to me what exactly it is that they do.

What is Sitòfono all about?

Sitòfono is an easy click-to-call service by Abbeynet, started in 2006, that allows web-visitors to call for free, worldwide, a company (i.e. a hotel, an e-commerce, a bank…) from its site.

Sitòfono can be used in two ways: instant phone call-back and web call (VoIP).

It is a simple button that can be added wherever you want: Website, Facebook page, Outgoing emails, …

Sitòfono is also a “Customer Engagement” service aimed at increasing traffic conversion, improving customer value and retention.

It offers a complete set of features including Geo-location, real time analytics, voicemail, lost call notification and a full audio and graphics customization that makes it also suitable for different contexts from institutional sites to direct-marketing campaigns.

You’ve been in business for quite a while. What have you used prior to WebRTC?

The call-back mode works in any platform and browser. So far we have used for the web call an ActiveX for Internet Explorer and a plugin for Firefox in Windows platform.

What has WebRTC enabled you to do differently?

WebRTC enables us to offer a better user experience. The web call becomes as easy as the instant call-back, because the user doesn’t need to download anything. Thanks to WebRTC, the Sitòfono is now able to support the web call on MacOSX and Linux too.

Can you tell me a bit about the challenges you faced with integrating WebRTC into your existing solution?

Initial issues have been related to frequent changes of browser API, since nothing has been standardized yet. Furthermore integrating WebRTC with the SIP protocol (used by Sitòfono) has not been simple at all, requiring different module both on client side (SIP over WebSockets) and server side (in particular for RTP stream).

What have you used for signaling on the client side? Is it SIP or something proprietary?

Both ActiveX and WebRTC client use SIP protocol for the web call. Instant call-back uses proprietary web services instead.

Given the opportunity, what would you change in WebRTC?

It would be useful to have more flexibility in API calls, for instance regarding media stream settings. A wider set of supported audio and video codecs would be appreciated. We also hope that WebRTC will soon become available for several browser, especially in mobile environment.

What’s next for Sitofono?

We plan to follow browsers evolution in our implementation, looking forward to a full standard definition :).

In particular, WebRTC on mobile browser will be a great enhancement for Sitòfono, because the user experience will be more intuitive and natural.

The interviews are intended to give different viewpoints than my own – you can read more WebRTC interviews.

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