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.