WebRTC has been making great strides of late. A few companies using worth checking out are bistri, Plivo, and twelephone. I'm in the process of testing bistri and twelephone, but I did actual use Plivo's proof-of-concept WebRTC offering, which I'll get into a in a moment.First an overview of bistr and twelephone. bistri is pretty interesting because it lets you link with Facebook, Google, Windows Live, Yahoo, Jabber/XMPP, and ?????????. It'll pull all your contacts and their presence status and display it on their website allowing you to chat, or make a voice or video call - all within your browser using WebRTC.I recently mentioned that Facebook could crush Skype if they implemented VoIP & video conferencing using WebRTC and just a few days later they announced a VoIP offering (Canada-only) and a voice message feature. I tested the iOS app, but wasn't entirely impressed - partly because it wasn't a WebRTC implementation. Well, bistri is HTML5 with WebRTC allowing you to make voice and video calls from your browser. bistri even lets you perform cool live video effects while in a video call. Gimmicky Sure. But being able to do with using HTML5 only with WebRTC in a browser with no download is pretty amazing! Here's a screenshot of bistri running in my Chrome browser. Note my Facebook photo pulled in, and status info for my FB contacts. Click for larger view:Now onto twelephone, which if you're a Twitter user you probably guessed already that twelephone integrates with Twitter. Chris Matthieu, the founder of twelephone explained to me via Twitter, why he didn't integrate with Facebook - "Since Facebook is in bed with M$ and Skype, I didn't want to go there. Twitter's a perfect identity/messaging platform." Certainly, Twitter is a very popular messaging platform, in particular amongst younger people as well as tech-savvy folks. I don't disagree with Chris on that point, but wonder if twelephone misses an opportunity to integrate with Facebook, which has a larger userbase than Twitter. I can envision teenagers on both Twitter and Facebook but parents only on Facebook, so they'd have to way to video chat with their kids using twelephone. Nevertheless, Twitter is a huge userbase and the ability to initiate a voice or video chat using your Twitter identity and WebRTC installed in your browser is very cool. Ironically, bistri doesn't have Twitter authentication, so you might say twelephone and bistri are complementary WebRTC services. Though I'd still prefer a single service that integrates Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Windows Live, etc. Some of twelephone's highlighted features include:
I asked about videoconferencing support and he said they are working on it, with plans to obviously support desktop IP phones, mobile phones, softphones, and WebRTC. This will allow for instance the ability to do a video call from Google Chrome to someone's desktop IP phone. FINALLY! I've been griping about incompatible videophones for 8 years! Will WebRTC and solutions providers such as Plivo be the "glue" to solve video interoperability issues.Plivo also offers call recording, automated speech-to-text transcription, and manual/human transcription for better accuracy. Plivo told me, "Since its founding one year ago, Plivo has emerged as the most scalable and feature-rich voice and messaging platform wrapped with flexible APIs and backed by 24/7 support. Plivo provides the highest level of reliability for enterprises that need a hosted environment for their voice and messaging applications, and enables enterprises, service providers and web developers to build applications that seamlessly integrate the web with telephony, both fixed and mobile. With WebRTC support coming in early 2013, Plivo will enable true unified comms in the cloud for the first time ever. (Today, most companies using hosted telephony still maintain an on-premise SIP client, meaning they aren’t completely in the cloud.)"
Plivo has quietly signed up dozens of enterprise customers since its platform went live in July, and on Dec 3, Plivo announced a seed round of funding from investment firms Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Qualcomm Incorporated and SV Angel.
You and a friend can both join and talk to each other via WebRTC to check out the sound quality, connection speeds, etc. Other people may be on too; it's just a big open bridge right now, sort of like a party line. Go check it out and see what it's like to actually make a call via WebRTC!
Tags: alec saunders, bistri, facebook, plivo, twelephone, twitter, video conferencing, voip, webrtc
Related tags: messaging platform, voice video, google windows, solutions providers, using webrtc, webrtc
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