Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Flash Based VOIP, goribbit

Today I was reading one of the blogs about Flash based voip, it was like dejavu. I remember there was so much of buzz when gizmo introduced Flash based web browser soft phone. Almost every blog had something to mention about it. Here again I am hearing another company, Goribbit, which is a stealth mode startup. (Of course, Gizmo call was never a fully browser based app. They were using Flash only for the audio device access; the bulk of the work was done by a plugin that gets installed during the setup.) It has announced supporting voice in flex based application. Some quotes from their website.

The Ribbit Phone Component will give Rich internet application developers the ability to make and receive calls, record/send and receive voicemail, as well as add and manage contacts

Did some digging, looked at their developer API documents. So here is my insight on this product.

Pros:
• Flash penetration in the market is phenomenal. Voice support was something that was lacking for a long time. Ribbit phone component fills the gap very aptly. You can call this as a Skype for browser.
• Using this component, flex developers can now create so many different voice applications. You can build a click- to-call, unified messaging, partial FMC (simultaneous/sequential ringing based on the configuration).
• You could even build a complete IM client that supports addition of contacts, groups, make and receive voice calls etc.
• Looking at the profiles of the management team, my guess is these guys are building their own voice network that becomes the backbone of Ribbit phone component. So any voice calls made between Ribbit users and any other external contacts shall use this network. Good marketing strategy. Still not sure about their business case. I can smell a Ribbit out and Ribbit in charges for voice calls when connecting to a PSTN network.
• Any Flash (flash 9) based application can now support voice features without downloading a new soft client or procuring hardware.

Cons:
• Browser based soft phone is not something new. For example Gizmo call, Busta and many other companies have products that support browser based voice calling. Not sure if these guys have really cashed on their browser soft phone.
• Goribbit’s success depends on the acceptance of the developer community to use Ribbit phone component as their voice interface. Not sure if Goribbit has a standalone voice product of its own, targeting social networking or any other community.
• Not sure if their Ribbin phone components uses existing standard signaling or proprietary signaling interface like Skype. If it uses a proprietary signaling interface, then it might become a bottleneck for their growth.
• I have read a lot of articles about adobe working on supporting voip as part of the Flash. If this is to be true, then everything blows over.
Interesting article from OM
Flash In The VoIP Pan
Another article from TMC net
Adobe Flash Goes VoIP

Anyways, I think it’s a great starting point for web based voice browsers. I am really excited and look forward to see Goribbit become Skype for browser.

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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, what prohibits Skype or Google/grandcentral from entering at anytime?

omfut said...

From a technology standpoint, some of these companies can jump into the bandwagon anytime. However, having said that, goribiit has an advantage over these companies. These guys are positioning themselves as a flash voice plug-in. considering the flash penetration; it’s a great starting point. Eventually, they will have to compete with every voip application in the market. I strongly feel, skype with such a huge user base could rule the voip market. It all depends on how they position themselves in the emerging/changing market.

Jack Chrysler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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