Problem 1: It’s not you, it’s me
No Skype, Hangouts, Slack or a multitude of others, it’s not you that I hate, it’s me. It’s me and my damn internet connection. You see, if I was at home or in the office, my internet connection wouldn’t be too much trouble, but you know what, I’m not always in one of these locations when a conference call comes up, so, you’re more than likely in fact, to find me travelling.
Travelling between locations with Wifi, 4G, 3G, GPRS… or at worse and oh-so typical when you need a call; the devil ‘E’ icon, which, I’m not entirely sure what this means, but I know it’s sure as hell no good for downloading anything more than a plain and simple email.
Oh and guess what – the other 10 people that are on my conference call, I’m not entirely sure how their internet connection is either.
Problem 2: Downloads, downloads and more downloads
So, I’m in the office and I download Skype. Great – it’s now on my work PC. But, I better also get it on my laptop at home and, as mentioned before, as I’m on the road a lot, I better download the app on to my phone too.
Ok, so that’s 3 downloads; laptop at home, office PC and app for my smartphone. Not too bad I guess, I mean after all, it’s not like I need to update these at any point? I think, in 2015, Skype had approximately 12 updates. That’s 1 update a month. So, if we also include my home laptop and work PC in this – that’s 36 updates! Ok, ok, I can deal with that – it’s just a few clicks or a touch on my smartphone and there’s not usually any problems.
Again, ouch… let’s not forget my customers that I’m either hoping either have the software already installed or won’t mind too much in making sure everyone from their organisation has it… I’m sure their IT department won’t mind installing and maintaining all these additional requirements either, NOT!
Problem 3: Internet connections are not a constant
Your internet broadband provider will tell you the typical bandwidth upload/download speeds you should expect, but if you’ve ever used a service like www.speedtest.net before, you’ll understand that your speeds dither every second; not ideal for live audio, i.e., a conference call!
Long live WebRTC!
So, our conclusion (as of 24 March 2016) – these providers are not worth touching if you are a business. An individual requiring conference calling for family and friend requirements is maybe ok, but for businesses, this will absolutely set you off on the wrong foot with your customers. Let that next business contract not be won because you were not up to the job, not because your WebRTC web conference service provider wasn’t up to it!
Caveat time: we’re 100% sure WebRTC web conferencing providers are the future, but until the globe has a more robust mobile broadband infrastructure, it’s not the product of ‘now’.