WebRTC Expert Feature

January 02, 2014

Using Video on Hold with WebRTC

Last week, I was pondering the opportunities for a WebRTC hackathon and I brought up the issues of video on hold.

Sometimes the issues for next-generation products have been experienced in past-generation products.

I am sure no one wants to hear me talk about 1A2 Key Systems, which is that strange device that gave us the buttons to hold a call. Hear me out, though, because I think I will make sense at the end of this rant.


The red was the action button and the rest were the lines you impacted.

Even if you had the ringer turned off on these calls, you were capable of telling the difference of what line was ringing and what line was on hold, because the light pulsated at different frequencies.  The ringing was two-times faster than the held call.

Here is where I bring it back to WebRTC videos.

I have been known to play some multiplayer games on the Web while waiting for conference calls to start. Often the call or the activity makes it so I move into a different window on the desktop and the game has to call my attention to itself by flashing.

My expectation is that the same thing may occur for WebRTC video conferences, particularly if I am asked to send a file or find something that was reference on the call in a different window.

How do you find a video call tab in comparison to other browser tabs?

I think 1A2 Key systems have the answer with blinking tabs vs. ringing tabs.

Want to get really creative? Back in Outside Plant the phone company dispatch would make it so that the calls were bridged and you could listen in to the calls ahead of you. Often that sounded that served as a dampering tool, as you would listen to the dispatcher dealing with larger emergencies than your request for escalation.

Would WebRTC video have equivalent calls? The answer is probably perhaps in emergency situations or an auction house looking to use peer pressure to raise the price.

However, the point I am trying to make here is that we have no uniformity, and no one knows what will work to make video calling as common place as the telephone.

I would like to see this explored. 

The IMTC is looking to highlight WebRTC interoperability at its next superop event and companies interested in participating should reach out to the IMTC President Anatoli Levine [email protected]

Personally, I think there is a rich area of unanswered questions, like what a user should expect when using a browser with an MCU. I also think it’s a bad idea to make it so that each implementation has its own version.

I think some things should be universally understood and applied, while at the same time allowing people to make their own video ringtones.

I have a few friends who have the Star Wars Death Star theme song for their wives or bosses on as their voice call ringtone -- why not have the movie clip on a video call?

It’s clear to me that we can learn a lot just by hacking around in this space.

I hope some developers join me in this quest. If you want to please ping me [email protected]

I will not place you on hold.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey
Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox. [Free eNews Subscription]


Free WebRTC eNewsletter

Sign up now to recieve your free WebRTC eNewsletter for all up to date news and conference details. Its free! what are you waiting for.