Jibe: Is Telephony the Ring that Rules them All?

December 18, 2012

Jibe is trying to be an all-encompassing communication platform. But can this work with telephony as the underlying technology?

The world is split today between two large fronts when it comes to communication services:

  1. Those dealing with voice and video communication: real time interactions
  2. Those dealing with everything else

The “everything else” camp is used to dealing with web technologies: Java Script, some HTML coding, a bit of backend, maybe native code for some devices and a bit of WebSockets. It is a mix-and-match world, where a lot of the work is derived from integrating different components – mesh ups.

The “other group”, which I was a part of for a long time, usually deals with VoIP ecosystems, protocols and interoperability. And then some coding.

The two just don’t mix well – ask all the people that our downplaying the importance of WebRTC.

The latest investment made in Jibe caught my eye. Jibe is a company that I got to know only from the latest news. As far as my understanding goes, Jibe provides an RCS/Joyn cloud based platform that operators can license and use. It should make the whole adoption of RCS by an operator an easier ordeal.

For those who don’t know RCS is Rich Communication Services – the telco equivalent of presence and instant messaging solution of OTT players. It is a communication platform.

So we have a vendor that provides a standardized telephony platform for service provider. Ryan Kim explains on GigaOm what Jibe will use this latest investment for:

The money will help Jibe build out its platform enabling developers and game makers to easily add Joyn’s rich media communications services. The first major apps and games to use Jibe Mobile to connect through Joyn will begin appearing in the first quarter.

Jibe is going to be the ring that rules them all: if you want to develop a game that allows interaction between players, you will be using a telephony platform as the basis of your game.

I know. The whole idea of IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem – the underpinning of RCS) to begin with was applications, innovation, rapid deployment. But it never came to fruition – at least not in the way it was envisioned a decade ago.

And now? It is the other way around.

Developers are already there: They are building applications. They have that whole interaction issue covered (or they can add it relatively easily, or get it from specific third parties). The VoIP part of the equation to me is a feature now – not the service itself. It is a minor detail. I just can’t see a large developer community building solutions over that. A select few – sure. But not the masses.

The ring that rules them all is the web. Telephony got bumped down and relegated to a feature status.

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