Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 .

Brian Peterson is VP of Product Engineering and co-founder at Switch Communications, specializing in web development, cloud services and databases. Before Switch Communications, Brian was at Google for eight years, where he spent most of his time working on the Google Voice team and leading the transition of GrandCentral’s technology onto Google’s infrastructure.  

Brian Peterson and John Rector, co-founders of Switch Communications

We built both UberConference and Switch.co on Google Cloud Platform using WebRTC. Our goal from the beginning was to bring innovation to some of the obvious problems with conference calls and business phone systems, making them relevant and useful again. We wanted to develop our products for the way we work today — faster, more mobile, and across multiple platforms and devices. WebRTC helped us do that.

WebRTC is a free, open project that enables web browsers (right now, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera) with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities.

Why is that cool?

It’s cool because it’s a way to get very high-quality, secure VoIP to your browser (for free), without having to install any extra plug-in.

WebRTC uses the Opus Codec, which offers the best audio experience out there. Not only does it give your Switch.co and UberConference calls HD audio, but it also handles dynamic network conditions by adjusting to the available bandwith wherever you are.

UberConference was one of the earliest WebRTC adopters, launching at Google I/O in 2013 — just one week after Google released it. With WebRTC implemented into UberConference, our users can connect to their calls in real-time without having to leave their browsers and make international calls through the browser at no cost.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 12.25.34 PM (2)

For similar reasons, Switch.co uses WebRTC for voice communication through your desktop. It’s available without any extra software across Windows, Mac, Chromebooks, and even Linux, and because of its cross-platform capabilities, WebRTC allowed us to deploy the Switch.co native app instantaneously across all platforms, instead of having to build separately for each one. It allows for a more streamlined experience for developers, but also lets us roll out the app faster for users on any platform.

Because Switch.co is a Chrome web app, WebRTC is already built in and users only need to have Chrome to use it. Just like with UberConference, it gives Switch.co users HD audio and lets them call internationally for free when making and answering calls from the desktop.

switch_screenshot_take_call-03

WebRTC is game changing, and it’s paving the way for whole new types of web applications like Switch.co and UberConference. We do our best to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to advancing the quality and accessibility of our products, and as the WebRTC standard becomes available in more browsers, we plan to build accordingly.

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 .

 

UberConference has received top honors at two prestigious awards this week. Our team is very grateful for the recognition and quality feedback from our users. We received a Bronze Award in the category of Best Everyday Utility at the User Experience Awards and Silver at the American Business Awards – Telecommunication Company of the Year.

The Stevie American Business Awards are the world’s premier business awards, created to honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and working professionals worldwide. More than 3,300 entries were submitted to The 2014 American Business Awards and more than 240 executives nationwide participated in judging to determine this year’s Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners.

The UXies are the premier awards for exceptional experience and inspire all technologists to create elegant, human-centered products that solve real customer problems by showcasing next-generation digital products, honoring and celebrating with the most talented UX innovators and highlighting exceptional UX best practices. Our very own Jerome Tave explains the design theory that went into creating UberConference:

This adds to the growing list of awards our team has been fortunate to receive this year. We are excited for what lies ahead and appreciate the kind recognition. Congratulations to all winners and nominees!

Thursday, February 20th, 2014 .

At UberConference, we know teamwork requires effective collaboration. One of our favorite collaborative tools is Dropbox. Thanks to Dropbox’s simple document storing and sharing, millions of professionals collaborate easily and efficiently. We at UberConference share a focus on simplicity and ease of use and often look to Dropbox for inspiration in our ongoing efforts to make things simple.

That’s why we’re excited to announce that Dropbox’s document sharing is available on UberConference. You can now share any document stored in a Dropbox account with all the participants on your UberConference call.

While on an UberConference, any participant on the call can share a Dropbox document by clicking the “Share Files” button on the visual dashboard. Once they have chosen a file to share, it appears in the conferencing window where everyone has access to it.

 

So give it a try, it’s available in your account right now, and as always, we welcome your feedback.

Friday, February 14th, 2014 .

You know how every so often you get roped into dealing with something that you really don’t want to be involved with?  I’m not talking something life-threatening like the Ebola Virus or listening to your uncle from Wisconsin lecture you about religion while you’re stuck in a car with him going to a funeral.

No, I’m talking about the modest little peeves of modern life, the ones that really get under your skin.

For instance, you’re sitting in the cafeteria at work, and a nice conversation is going on about the Academy Awards or the California drought or something interesting like that and then some wisenheimer in the group says this: “Hey, did you see that Justin Bieber got arrested?”

Oh, boy, here we go.  Next thing you know all ten of you are talking about Justin Bieber.  Including you.  You’re stuck.  Everyone has their views and all of a sudden you find yourself  saying you blame his father because you were reading on TMZ.com that he was there in the nightclub that night and also was involved in setting up blocking off the street so that Justin and his friend could have their idiotic drag race and then somebody says, ‘well, that’s not what I heard’ and then you have defend your sources on this topic and bam!  Fifteen minutes have gone by and it’s time to return to your desk.  As you sit down you realize that the fifteen minutes you spent talking about Justin Bieber makes your teeth hurt.

And don’t think you’re alone.  Look what happened to esteemed broadcast journalist Andrea Mitchell during a discussion the other day on the NSA.  There was breaking Justin Bieber news.  Look at the pain on her face.  It’s heartbreaking, and it’s happened to you, too.

This is roughly where I rank teleconference PINs: right up there with a group discussion of Justin Bieber.  They’re both just hellishly painful, unnecessarily pointless, and yet, somehow completely inescapable.

You’re part of a design team that has several remote participants (including you) and it’s time for the weekly teleconference.  You dial into the teleconference system and they give you a PIN number you have to use to participate.  The computer-generated voice rattles off twelve completely random digits.  You’re writing them down:

8-9-5-8-1-3… oh, man, your pen stopped working.

Try it again.

8-9-5-8-1-3-8-9… the woman at the desk next to you just got a delivery of a dozen roses from her new boyfriend and she is squealing with happiness.

All right, let’s give this one more try.

Okay, you write: 8-9-5-8-1-3-8-9-4-9-7-5

Whew.  Got it.  That only took six hours.

Time to key it into your phone.  8-9-5-8-1-… wait, is that a 3 or a 5 I wrote down?  Call back and get the PIN all over again.  Yes, it was a 3.

And on it goes.

That’s why UberConference doesn’t use PINs.  You go to the website, log in, find your conference and click.  Voila.  Everyone’s there, you can see who’s there, and you’re ready to go.  It’s beautiful.  This is gonna go great, you think to yourself.

And then the person running the conference call says: “Hey, everybody, welcome to the call.  Before we get started, did you see that Justin Bieber was arrested?”

ARRRGGHH.