Time to check what happened with those who took the plunge early on.
I’ve been conducting interviews with WebRTC vendors for the past two and a half years, learning a lot from the people I talk to. I wondered recently where are the early vendors I’ve interviewed – did they grow and succeed or moved on to other problems and technologies?
Last week, I approached a handful of my earliest interviewees, checking up on each of them to see where they are.
frisB has a warm place in my heart, being the first vendor I’ve interviewed. What they do is generate missed calls and connect them back to WebRTC.
While they are mostly quiet about their efforts, with little marketing involved, they do have some interesting developments coming up. Terry Shats had this to share:
We have been very busy @frisB and seeing some really interesting developments both from vendors and carriers.
We are soon to release our SDK … Essentially allows web developers to embed a frisB button on their web site “with 1 line of HTML”. Web owners or social profiles (think airbnb) can have have a frisB call button free that links to their mobile phone. Very powerful and removes all complexities of web development or requiring web owners to fund monthly accounts in order to allow customers to call them free. The ultimate frisB “call me button”.
We also have a working version of our mobile app which we hope to release next quarter.
The brainchild of Chris Matthieu, Twelephone started as a phone for Twitter service. It was mostly abandoned at some point, when Chris turned to develop SkyNet, an Internet of Things framework. SkyNet turned into Octoblu which recently got acquired by Citrix. A success story for Chris, a bit less for WebRTC.
Chris had this to say about Twelephone:
Our Twelephone project was put on hold while we focused on our Octoblu IoT platform. We plan to rewrite Twelephone to use our IoT messaging platform for signaling and chat. We may even allow you to chat with your things connected to Octoblu 😉
TenHands tried to redefine the enterprise video conferencing market.
No response to my request has been forthcoming in the short time-span provided.
As it seems, the website is still up and functional, but little has changed since last I visited it.
Drum is all about web meetings. They had a very pragmatic look at WebRTC, treating it as a technology to be used when needed.
John Logsdom has this to share:
Drum was originally launched as a web meeting service, which we offered to service providers via a revenue share model. Whilst it received much interest, we learned that potential partners were more interested in integrating the functionality into their existing web applications, rather than utilising it as a go-to service.
In order to provide service-creation, provisioning and deployment in a large scale, multi-tenanted, white label environment, we merged our existing CIE platform – as used at BT and other operators around the world – with Drum.
The result of this – Drum Platform – is currently in test and will launch within the next few months.
Drum Platform will enable:
– Creation of audio/video/web collaboration services using our APIs
– Integration of web meetings into an existing website or web application using our newly developed widgets
– Custom service development for originating and terminating audio applications
Our original web meeting and audio conferencing applications have been re-tooled to use the Drum APIs above.
As for WebRTC – yes, we still use it. It’s an integral component of the Drum platform for audio and video services, and we still see it as an important technology, despite the fact that it is taking longer than expected to be functional across all browsers.
Wello’s focus lies in the fitness vertical.
I haven’t received a response from Wello, but their service is up and running, and the blog has posts from 2015.
Vidtel was one of the first cloud based video conferencing services for the enterprise. It was one of the first in its space to add WebRTC.
In 2013, it got acquired by Fidelity Investments and taken off market.
I decided not to ping Scott Wharton about the whereabouts of Vidtel these days – his LinkedIn profile says it all:
Head of Travel Logistics
One Bag Each
June 2014 – Present (9 months): I make sure our family gets to point A to point B and has a place to sleep (among other things)
Another vendor that got acquired is AddLive, one of the most successful WebRTC PaaS vendors we’ve had.
Abbeynet offers call buttons for websites.
While I got no response from Abbeynet, it seems like they still have WebrTC in their offerings. How much is this successful or important to them, I can’t really say.
Vacasa Rentals is all about vacation homes. They have used WebRTC to capture incoming presale calls.
Here’s what Erik Tylek Kettenburg told me:
Yes we are still using WebRTC – more than ever.
Vacasa has grown to be the 9th fasting growing company in the USA (#9 Inc 500 for 2014) – and is undergoing a major international expansion as well. We use WebRTC for all of our call center needs – using Plivo and Twilio as direct providers and Flowroute as a carrier. We route ten to hundreds of thousands of calls per month to our employees terminating with our WebRTC based call controller running in Google Chrome. We have also widely deployed Chromebooks to employees, since WebRTC allows our whole system including calls to work completely in browser.
Bistri was all about social networking with WebRTC. It has refocused its efforts around WebRTC PaaS and developers.
It also had a change of management.
Why is this important?
WebRTC can be used in many ways. Some, have jumped on this opportunity years ago, where the main concern was is this technology for real – is it going to stay with us?
Today, it is quite obvious that WebRTC is here to stay. Some of the early adopters got acquired. Others grew. Some shifted their focus. Others may not be with us for long.
All in all, this is a healthy ecosystem.