Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 .

So, what is Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC), anyway? The idea isn’t new but people who use voice and video conferencing are beginning to hear it every day. At UberConference we use it to make it easy to join conference calls over the Internet from anywhere.

WebRTC allows real-time voice, video, and data to stream between two people using a web browser. There’s no need for plugins or third-party software, only the latest Chrome or Firefox.

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Until recently, web browsers were where you did pretty much everything except conferencing – web surfing, email, watching videos. However, the biggest disadvantage of the web browser was that it was lousy at two-way voice and video calls.

That kind of real-time communication had been challenging for companies for many years because the voice and video compression-decompression algorithms (called codecs) were really expensive. Only a few companies owned them, and they charged pricey licensing fees. In addition, browsers could only request data or send it upon request, not send and receive it in real time, as video chat requires.

To understand this, consider that browsers have been evolving ever since their creation to allow us to do more and more on the web. Plugins were introduced in the mid-late ’90s, which allowed developers to play videos with flash, facilitating a move toward the beginning of video communication. Then, in 2004, the browser language HTML5 developed the <audio> and <video> tags to allow this multimedia content to live in your browser without the need of a plugin. However, real time communication (RTC) remained a challenge because browsers lacked a method to send and receive data in real time, and often the stumbling block were the expensive codecs used to interpret the media communications between users.

For WebRTC to be truly effective, everyone needed access to the high quality codecs. In 2010 Google took on the challenge and purchased two companies: GIPS and On2. This turned the VoIP market on its head.

Here’s why: GIPS was a leading provider of VoIP codecs, On2 had a video codec that rivaled the H.26 standard. And Google open sourced them both, giving the RTC industry a giant push forward.

To solve the media transmission problem, the WebRTC collation created a set of open protocols for browsers to expose to developers. As browsers adopt this standard and implement them, developers can quickly write RTC applications with a few lines of JavaScript code.

That’s why WebRTC has been a big deal for UberConference and for all Internet users. It lets them conference in real-time without having to mess around with applications or phones or leave their web browser.

This is a huge benefit for emerging companies, who, ten years ago, would have paid significantly higher costs for  hardware and services to set everything up. They can now build their companies with a much lighter – and cheaper- footprint. Now that’s something to call your CEO about.

Friday, July 11th, 2014 .

lebron-topper

So LeBron is going home to Cleveland. Or should he have said he’s going home to the 216, (which is the area code for Cleveland).

It’s about time that we begin to acknowledge that area codes have become as important a part of our identity as what NFL team’s bumper sticker we have on our second beater car. (I mean, come on, you’re not putting a bumper sticker on the nice car you driving to your cousin’s wedding in.)

In fact, with cell phones now, people hold onto their phone numbers long after they have left the place.  My oldest daughter, who went to college and worked in the San Francisco area for ten years, moved to Brooklyn four and a half years ago.  Her cell number still starts with 415, the coveted area code for San Francisco.

Why not give it up? Why not just get a New York area code?  Well, because, I believe, the area code has become a part of our identity in this era. Oh, someone says to her in New York City after she gives them her number, what area code is that?  San Francisco, she says. They’ll smile. So you’re from San Francisco? Yup, she says and smiles back.  Suddenly you know a lot more about that person than a hundred questions on a dating site will ever reveal.  It means my home is elsewhere.  This is where I live now, but I’m really from the 415.  It’s who I am.

So maybe LeBron going home to Cleveland also is about reclaiming the 216 as the authentic area code of his soul.

Thursday, September 6th, 2012 .

Today we’re really excited to announce two major milestones for ÜberConference. First, we’re launching our ÜberConference Pro product. For just $10 per month, users get a local dial-in number from nearly any area code in the US, up to 40 participants on an ÜberConference call, 500 minutes of outbound dialing to originate conference calls (no need to even dial in!), recurring conferences, unlimited call recording and more. We’re really excited about the Pro product and think you’ll love it. Its the best deal on the planet.

Of course, we’ll always offer a compelling free product as well, which brings me to our second major milestone, which is the public availability of ÜberConference Free. Yes, no longer will new users need to get on a waitlist or be invited to join ÜberConference. Every ÜberConference Free account has unlimited conference calls for up to five participants, and you can easily increase that to 17 max participants by doing various things to make ÜberConference work better for you (like importing your contacts, linking your social accounts, completing your profile, etc.). We launched ÜberConference Free in closed beta back in May and have had tens of thousands of beta users testing the service and providing feedback and product suggestions. We have made a lot of improvements during the beta and we feel the ÜberConference is ready for prime time. We promise to continue to diligently improve the service on an ongoing basis.

So that’s it…thanks for being part of the ÜberConference story and go sign up for an account if you haven’t already. We’d love to hear what you think about it.

 

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 .

The New Year brings out a time for nostalgia and innovation. As pioneers on the timeline of history, we continually look backward to create the ‘new’ going forward. Creativity (and some clever failures) have led from the railroad to the jetway, the cave dwelling to the cottage, and the telegraph to the telephone.

Ondi Timoner and the team at A Total Disruption published an article in the Huffington Post about our own disruptive path at UberConference in a high-level interview with CEO Craig Walker. As Ondi cites in the article, “It’s time we hop forward a few decades forward and do business better by embracing the disruptive innovation in this arena.”

We only get one opportunity to make the world a better place in one small way. Our hope this year is that UberConference continues to facilitate better team conversations and forge stronger bonds in your own area. Every minute spent speaking together as colleagues is valuable. Especially as the modern workplace scatters us across the globe, we hope we’re able to help you connect with your team more effectively. Happy New Year!