Is Communication Core to Your Business?

March 31, 2014

Time to rethink if communications is a core competency or just another feature.

This is a question I find myself asking almost in any conversation with someone trying to build a new venture, where the idea has communications in it. Be it telephony for businesses, collaboration or other:

Do you think that the actual voice/video call is core to what you do? Will that be the reason you succeed or fail?


The immediate answer is almost always a resounding yes. But then, once you start digging, it isn’t that apparent.

There’s a considerable investment in getting a communication service to work. It really isn’t easy to develop these things. But now, with WebRTC, and the various options available to developers, communication as we know it has been commoditized.

Would you rather spend your time debugging VoIP stacks or would you rather focus on the user experience and your exact use case?

For most, WebRTC brings the ability to focus on the user experience and leave behind all the VoIP crap we’ve been feeding them for years (myself included). And the challenges that developers may face with WebRTC can be further alleviated with an API platform – and there are boatloads of those around, so almost any possible use case and need can be met with by adopting an API platform.

I think it is time for a quick reboot. Start asking yourself the following questions to see where you are headed:

  • Where will I differentiate my service? (hint: don’t make it quality of voice or video please)
  • What type of developers can I easily recruit? Are these VoIP people? Web? Enterprise? Other?
  • How fast do I need to get to a running demo? How much do I have to spend until I need to get some investors money into it?
  • What do I need more than the basics? (basics = browser point-to-point voice and video calls)

My upcoming report is dealing exactly with this issue – deciding which track to take, and if you have gone for an API platform – showing what options are out there and outlining the decision processes you need to go through.

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  1. Good thinking, Tsahi!

    However, “communications,” which is defined as person-to-person contacts, is being overtaken by online self-service applications and mobile apps as a starting point. Further, automated notifications are increasingly replacing person-to-person phone calls and messages to mobile end users (CEBP). So, WebRTC is becoming very strategic for enabling “click-t0-contact” within the context of self-service applications. That’s why CafeX came out of nowhere to be voted “Best of Show” at the recent Enterprise Connect 2014 event.

  2. User experience is key, I was telling my wife how today my client asked me to build a demo IVR application with speech recognition, btw I’m not a developer but a voip engineer with years of telco and SBC experience but no IVR experience, Anyways she asked why anyone would want to build something like that. In her view she prefers the chat feature in Bell Canada’s web pages than the hell of traversing a voice enable IVR loop!

    BTW, I built the Demo application, tied it to a 1800 number and DID number with speech recognition and deployed it in 2 hours. I don’t like to give shout outs, but Voxeo deserves some kudos for making the development of voice applications as easy as building web sites.

    The point is, the entire time voip or voice or what ever you want to call it wasn’t even a thought. And for the first time in 10 years I didn’t have to look at a SIP trace to build a VoIP app.

  3. “what do I need more than the basics” — I’d recommend an actual usecase here that is supplemented by videochat 😉

  4. Thanks for sharing such an informative blog…We are planning to include voip in our business and we would definitely consider the points mentioned by you.

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