The field of Web-based real time communications (WebRTC) has meant a lot of new communications opportunities built directly into apps, even some that wouldn't specifically have been about communications like games or even file-sharing apps. Now, FreeSWITCH—a media and soft-switch platform—has added its own slate of WebRTC features for its new version 1.6.9 release.
Thanks to WebRTC connections, FreeSWITCH can offer a complete video conferencing system, but it can also function as a complete central telephone system. FreeSWITCH got its start back in 2006, and was routinely used as a means to route voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) traffic between consumer locations and data centers.
Running on several current operating systems at the desktop level, FreeSWITCH allows users to run a video conference as normal, but also allow users to call in via land-line phone to only be audio presences on the call. It can also comfortably mix stereo audio and display video from several participants into one handy layout, and those who don't much care for the layout as presented can alter the layout to suit. Perhaps best of all, it's available at no charge via FreeSWITCH's website.
FreeSWITCH's developers have even turned to an unusual method to show off what the system can do: every Wednesday, the developers get together and use FreeSWITCH to make a video for YouTube showing off the system's capabilities, actively demonstrating its capability by just recording its use.
Co-founder of FreeSWITCH Brian West notes that the new service goes “way beyond phone calls,” and noted that, while it started out as a phone calling system, it quickly grew into areas “...we never imagined would be possible. FreeSWITCH author and current president of FreeSWITCH Solutions LLC Anthony Minessale noted “FreeSWITCH bridges the gap between the legacy telecommunications industry and the media-rich real-time audio/video generation.”
That last point is particularly important. While FreeSWITCH delivers excellent communications capability—sufficiently so that the company can produce weekly videos about its use using the tool itself to make them—it's also functioning as a means to bring together modern and legacy communications options, and by extension, users. We all know there's at least a little friction in the modern office environment between the baby boomers and the millennials, as both turn to different methods to work. A tool like FreeSWITCH could allow each to use its preferred method, yet allow both to work together more readily.
That's great news all told, and just the start of what FreeSWITCH can do. It will likely offer up a lot more potential benefit before it's done, and make itself a valuable part of many office environments.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi