The idea of video calling has been a popular one for some time and more recently we've had the opportunity to see it come to light. With Skype, iMessage, and FaceTime among just a few such applications that power video calling, a new one is making an appearance thanks to a strategic partnership between Voxeo Labs and Solaiemes inked just today. The best part about this collaborative effort is the offering will be available to current mobile subscribers and will let them use their current phone number and address book.
The Voxeo Labs / Solaiemes partnership comes following two big developments in the field: an update to telecommunications infrastructure known as RCS / joyn and the rapid updates to the field known as Web-based real time communications or WebRTC. With RCS / joyn, companies can combine messaging capability with rich media and video calling. The advances in WebRTC allow standardization sufficient for different Web browsers to access cameras and microphones, making it easier for devices to access those devices regardless of the browser involved.
Since Voxeo Labs was one of four editors behind the ongoing development of WebRTC--the other three are Cisco, Mozilla and Ericsson--and Solaiemes has a well-developed platform for adding mobile texting and media sharing to Web-based systems, getting the two together to make a more complete video calling platform with real-time voice and video alike made perfect sense.
This combination will also allow Internet service providers of all stripes to go beyond their "triple play" suites and include video conferencing which will open up plenty of new possibilities for potential sales and give customers a better reason to stay with their current service provider. Solaiemes will be offering the improved WebRTC-powered gateway as a part of its RCS Thin Client Server, and it expects to start offering the service in the early days of 2013.
It's an excellent idea; indeed, the two companies' offerings are surprisingly compatible. Voxeo Labs' skill with WebRTC makes it a clear winner to add on video and voice functions, while Solaiemes' platform is already time-tested to be a solid base on which to add such services. Also, it's a great way for mobile providers and even fixed network providers to offer added value to their customers, a prospect that's hard to turn down especially in a soft economy where customers are looking to save money however they can. Adding on an extra service that is so eagerly anticipated on some fronts as video calling would go a long way toward adding the value needed to convince current customers to keep their service and entice new ones to join in.
Sure, there are already some serious competitors in the field—Skype and FaceTime are the tip of the iceberg—but Voxeo Labs and Solaiemes may very well have the combination of the sound platform and the expertise to make a big impact on the market themselves.