Choosing Your Path to the Real-Time Web

Real-Time Web Solutions

Choosing Your Path to the Real-Time Web

By Phil Edholm, President & Founder, PKE Consulting  |  July 27, 2016

It is becoming increasingly clear that real-time is going to be the next big thing for the web. In fact, while Web 2.0 was all about social, groups, crowd-whatever, it certainly appears that Web 3.0 is going to be about real time: real-time chat, real-time video, real-time audio and real-time data. In fact, even the Internet of Things has a huge real-time web component that many are trying hard to understand.

The examples are all around us. 800 million Facebook (News - Alert) users on messenger and more than 100 million video calls. Snapchat bought AddLive and is adding real time as a more personal value to its social platform. Other apps like Uber have used integration to the PSTN through platforms like Twilio (News - Alert) to add traditional telephony, but more and more, the communications are actually in the web. For example, Sean Parker of Napster and Facebook has re-launched Airtime, a social concept based on watching video content in groups. To make the video experience of high quality, Airtime bought vLine, one of the early WebRTC proponents and developer of high- quality video solutions.

It certainly appears the land grab is on for using real time to differentiate and add value to web apps. Real time enhances the user experience, makes the group experience stickier, makes it more personal and drives the holy grail of today’s app developers, more time spent in the app.

Over the last few months I have talked to a number of app developers and companies, and they are all waking up to the need for real-time, either for differentiation, or even for survival. With billions of dollars of revenue and valuation on the line, getting real time right is critical.

The challenge is how to get it done. While a competent JavaScript developer can code up a WebRTC video call in an afternoon, especially if he attends one of the WebRTC University sessions, deploying a solution that can scale to a million users, deal with large groups, manage the issues of the complex internet, deploy TURN server to minimize firewall issues, and solve the other myriad of issues remains a significant challenge. At this point there appear to be about four major options to solve these challenges:

• Buy a company that has solved the problem – If real-time is the core of the value of a company, like for Airtime, buying a WebRTC/Real-Time Web startup is a great option. You get a team, technology, the capability to customize the experience to your value proposition, as well as the lowest cost deployment as it all becomes in house. This is a great option for scale and focus.

• Build a team – You can start from scratch as Facebook did and build a team with the capabilities to deploy yourself – a good option if you are huge and have the capability to attract and retain talent. This option can include using options like commercial media servers and TURN servers as well as mobile development environments to expedite delivery.

• Use a premises solution – Companies like CafeX have premises-based solutions that allow for rapid deployment and manage the complexity of the real-time web world. These solutions have been well received in contact center augmentation.

• Use a framework – There are a number of CPaaS deployment frameworks available. Companies like GENBAND with Kandy (News - Alert) and Temasys with SkyNet are offering complete cloud environments that can be rapidly integrated and manage all of the communications complexity. SDKs enable significant optimization to applications. Kandy even includes Kandy wrappers that have advanced services such a customer interaction management as options to reduce development costs. More traditional PSTN CPaaS platforms like Twilio are adding real-time web capabilities as well.

Simple drop in – If the integration is simpler, for example adding a click-to-call button on a web page, companies like Voxbone (News - Alert) are enabling this, often combined with SIP-based call aggregation and international numbers.

• It comes with the app – For the rest of us, the real-time web is actually coming with our apps. Next-generation UC apps like Spark from Cisco (News - Alert), DialPad to work with Google, Circuit from Unify and more are all based on the real-time web model. And companies like Masergy are adding functions like click-to-call directories integration from the web to their UCaaS offerings.

It is clear the real-time web is happening now. The key is understanding how to apply it to your organization and your business.

Come join us at Real Time Web Solutions Conference in New York City Aug. 2-4 to learn how to make your choices and navigate the emerging Web 3.0, The Real-Time Web.

Phil Edholm is with PKE Consulting LLC (

Edited by Alicia Young