Oxagile and WebRTC: An Interview With Sergey Marchuk

20/06/2013

Time to look how an outsourcing company deals with WebRTC.

WebRTC brings with it a lot of new opportunities, as it marries the web with communication. The missing link though, is to have experienced developers and product managers in both domains. And this gap is something that a company like Oxagile can fill in.

Sergey Marchuk

Oxagile is an outsourcing company that did video related projects for their customers for years now. Recently, they have started doing some projects in WebRTC, which immediately placed them in the companies I need to interview. Sergey Marchuk, Co-founder & CTO at Oxagile took the time to answer my questions.

 

What is Oxagile all about?

Oxagile is a custom web and mobile software development company with years of experience and profound knowledgebase in online video and real time communication solutions. Our core aim is helping our valuable customers and partners to select best of breed video-related services and tools for optimizing their media efficiency.

 

How does WebRTC fits into Oxagile’s story then?

Since its creation back in 2005 Oxagile has chosen the IP video services to be its core competency. For the past few years we’ve successfully implemented a number of IPTV, VoD, OTT solutions to mid-size and large accounts. We’ve always been interested in new techniques and technologies that our customers could benefit from. So, after visiting the first WebRTC conference last year we do not have any more doubts about great potentiality of WebRTC and we are continuously trying to expand our attainments in this emerging technology.

 

Based on the fact that you have been providing video related services in the past, how are you planning on leveraging these capabilities for WebRTC?

Before WebRTC we had considerable experience in integrating third-party solutions like Vidyo, TokBox, ooVoo or developing custom Flash-plugin based solutions for video chat functionality. With WebRTC we have a unique opportunity to avoid using any of those third-parties, making real time video communication experience even smoother and user-friendly for our end-clients. Right now we are considering a possibility of upgrading a number of existing client solutions to WebRTC and, of course, helping new companies with WebRTC-enabled solutions from the very beginning.

 

Any interesting WebRTC related projects you can share?

There is a good proverb “The cobbler always wears the worst shoes”, so we at Oxagile do not want to be such a cobbler and decided to implement WebRTC video call and data sharing capabilities to our corporate website (will be released in a several days), so our potential customers could benefit from WebRTC when connecting to our sales reps.

Apart from that, we have been working on several projects with XirSys, a California-based company specializing in real-time web communications. We’ve developed and continue improving a flexible JavaScript API which helps developers to get advantages of WebRTC capabilities and allows P2P connection establishment and guaranteed NAT traversal via XirSys highly reliable websocket and STUN/TURN server as well as removing some browser specific impedances.

What gaps do you see with WebRTC, and how do you think a company like Oxagile can make these into opportunities?

The core gap, or I would call it specificity, for now is WebRTC implementation process as is doesn’t provide everything you need to start your own real-time communication session without additional development efforts. So, you either need some third-party solution like XirSys on top of WebRTC to take care of connectivity (“signaling”) to another client that you would like to talk to, network traversal and browser compatibility OR have some reliable IT professionals who could handle that part. Actually, we are thinking of such specificities as additional opportunities for Oxagile.

 

You’ve used WebRTC. What worked for you with it and what was more challenging?

We did not face any major challenges with WebRTC on the web. Of course, there were all these implementation differences and workarounds for particular Chrome and Firefox browser versions, but they were overpassed successfully.

What we are finding the most challenging part now is WebRTC support on Apple iOS. Google doesn’t provide any out-of-the-box hints for it, so we’ve been digging into it for a while, assembling the WebRTC project under iOS, putting nuts and bolts together. As result of these efforts, we’ve managed to enable audio and data channel functionality from/to iOS devices, and we’re now struggling with video connectivity. It’s more complicated as no one has done it before (I mean publicly opened) but we’re making a decent progress and we’re quite optimistic about it.

 

Given the opportunity, what would you change in WebRTC?

We’d suggest creating some sort of centric knowledge database or portal from the very beginning, where all companies and independent developers that are interested in WebRTC integration could share their ideas and upload know-hows related to the technology. At this point, I’d like to thank you, Tsahi, for putting so much effort for aggregating and sharing all the useful info about WebRTC on your website. Still, it would be great having one technical resource where all technical info is accumulated rather than searching the web for some ideas, hints, and workarounds.

 

Do you plan on introducing products on your own or is it a service centric area for you?

For now, it’s mainly service centric, but we have our own mobile product development department with a major focus on iOS apps development (AppAnnex), and we’re constantly brainstorming on new application ideas. There are some ideas already generated (I cannot share them yet) where WebRTC can be of a great help. So, enabling WebRTC capability on iOS has some sort of priority for our team now.

 

WebRTC. A challenge or an opportunity for an outsourcing company? (and why)

Definitely, it is the opportunity. It is one more option to help our clients reaching their business goals by integrating and customizing new real time communication technology according to their needs.

It is the opportunity for us in many business verticals where our target market is located. For example, e-learning – where tutors can interact with students online, or healthcare – where patients can connect with their doctors remotely, or e-commerce – where seamless connection to a support team or a salesperson can be easily setup.

The technology is not limited to this particular set of industries, it can become a useful and convenient way of real-time communication almost in each segment, that is why WebRTC is so buzzy nowadays. WebRTC-enabled solutions have access to billion plus potential users, so many outsourcing companies such as Oxagile can find their unique niche in the process of WebRTC expansion.

 

What’s next for Oxagile with WebRTC?

More WebRTC powered projects, more satisfied clients, even more happy users. WebRTC will certainly be an essential part of our service offering.

 

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