Tsahi Levent-Levi is an active blogger on the topic of WebRTC on BlogGeek.me He has taken part in the development of various telecommunication projects – mainly those related to VoIP and 3G. He has done so as a programmer, manager, marketer and CTO. He developed the 3G-324M protocol stack from scratch, as well as managed the team that was in charge of developing and maintaining the H.323 protocol stack, along with other interesting projects. Currently he is employed by Amdocs and is dealing with innovation in the carrier space.
1Click: Why don’t you tell us more about your research paper?
Tsahi: My research paper that talks about WebRTC. Essentially it is targeted to product managers or entrepreneurs who want to build something with WebRTC. It is not necessary for them to know about WebRTC or have dealt with VOIP. It is mainly for those who are trying to understand what the technology is and what can be done with it. My paper also highlights the different types of use cases that the vendors are already employing and the business models that they have in their solutions.
1Click: Have you come across any unique business use cases using WebRTC?
Tsahi: The most interesting ones are those that are either around the data channel like Peer5, PeerCDN (acquired by Yahoo), Blippex that are just different from the world where I come from which is a world of video conferencing. And the other type is the type that tries to redefine what the videoconference is. Companies like Sqwiggle, what they are doing is a bit different. What they are saying is if you look at video conferencing you can do it something like Twitter, not in the sense of sending 140 characters, but doing things that are short, in terms of the time frames that they take and doing it for close knit groups. The ad-hoc of the ad-hoc world.
1Click: Why do you think that these businesses are being enabled through WebRTC?
Tsahi: Because they can’t be done otherwise! Earlier the technology didn’t exist in the case of the data channels. The data channels allow sending data from one web browser to another without going through a server. That’s a capability that didn’t exist before. There are several use cases that could be built without WebRTC, but the cost of doing that would be prohibitive. In the end of the day that specific use case is not a billion dollar business and now you can simply do it with WebRTC.
1Click: What is the future of WebRTC? Is it just hype or is it here to stay?
Tsahi: I don’t think there is hype around WebRTC. If you look at how many projects are there on GitHub, how many questions are being asked on Stack Overflow, how many people are looking into this technology, the numbers are rising! But the rise is linear, it is not an exponential growth. On the other hand you actually see people using it. People are using it more than in the VOIP industry simply because now every web developer can build something with it. So for those coming from the VOIP world it may seem like hype, but i don’t think that’s true.
1Click: Where would WebRTC be 5 years from now?
Tsahi: Everywhere! It will be everywhere. That’s my personal opinion.
1Click: With more and more people beginning to use WebRTC, what are the challenges that are there around its usage?
Tsahi: Business model is the single challenge I see around it. How to make money out of WebRTC, all the rest is just technical details. You can say “It doesn’t work on Internet Explorer”, “What is Apple going to do about WebRTC support”, that’s just whining. If you have a use case that requires Internet Explorer, don’t use WebRTC and move on. If you can live without it or if you can use a plugin that’s fine.
1Click: So technically what would be the challenges?
Tsahi: It really depends on the use case. There are use cases that are really simple and the whole challenge there, would be the business process itself and not the WebRTC part of it. There are use cases that need to connect to other domains or require a lot of infrastructure in the back end. Things like how you to build a recording server in the back end.
1Click: There was a vertical of online education, what would be the challenge there?
Tsahi: Online education requires several things. First of all the ability to broadcast a session because you don’t really expect a conference call of 30 students talking to each other. There is an instructor and people can raise their hand or some other way to ask questions. Depending upon the education solution you can decide whether it is a one to one session, one to a class or one to thousands of people at the same time. There is also the question of scale. There is a question of screen sharing. How do I as an instructor share what it is that I am doing? That’s another thing that needs to take place. The question is of recording and the business process. How are people going to join the sessions. Do they need to pay, are they subscribers things like that. These really don’t relate to WebRTC but relate to the education part of the solution.
1Click: What about CRM integration? What would be the challenges there?
Tsahi: CRM is a bit more tricky. Then again it depends upon which part you are talking about, the contact centre deals with incoming support calls the contact centre that deals with sales request or is it me as the salesperson of a company needing to reach out to customers and suppliers. CRM is a totally different type of use case that is handled differently. If I give an example, ZenDesk is doing it on the help desk side, where incoming calls come from PSTN world, regular telephony. Agents can receive calls in the browser. Another option would be to place a call me button on the website that connects either to WebRTC in the backend or PSTN mobile phone, that could connect to the WebRTC in back end and mobile phones in the backend.
1Click: It was great talking with you Tsahi! Thank you!
Tsahi: Thank you!
Towards the end of the interview, Tsahi asked us for a brief about 1Click. And here is what we had to say:
1Click is a plugin free, download free, video communication that seamlessly melds in a specific business workflow and existing digital infrastructure. 1Click promises “No Software, Cloud based and Context Based” video for businesses. 1Click can be used in several business workflows such as hiring, banking and online education.
A video call can be made and recorded with 1Click right through the browser. A multiway group call can be securely made with up to 10 participants. A single person can broadcast the video to a set of people, from the browser. 1Click works well on any HTML5 compliant browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.