Provider or Partner? The Evolution of the Offshore Model
As with manufacturing outsourcing, the offshoring of IT and application development services has developed its own set of risks and hidden costs as well as falling short on providing expertise in areas lacking in the client organization.
In July 2013, CIO.com referenced a joint survey from KPMG and HfS Research that indicates continued disappointment by buyers in their providers’ analytical capabilities and innovation.
Fundamentally, offshore providers need to evolve their approach from a provider to a partner in order to meet the high demands of innovation in today’s market.
Challenges with Offshoring
Today, cost reduction and standard delivery performance are at satisfactory levels, but US companies are not seeing the promise of competitive advantage they had hoped for from their offshore providers.
This is largely due to the fact that many companies have turned to outsourcing to access new technologies and innovation that can not only develop new software products and services but bring them to market faster. But not all providers are effective in delivering in these areas.
Here are some of the issues impacting the offshore model overall:
The Outsourcing Model That Feels Like Its In-House
Today’s technology innovators realize that the value of outsourcing is far beyond cost savings. They are partnering with outsourcing organizations that not only deliver on new technologies but do so with a commitment to the business’ success.
In 2004, Augusto Cavalcanti, CEO, Daitan Group decided that it was time for a new outsourcing model. “I started Daitan Group to give companies another offshore development option. I could see that what was missing was the partnership approach to the business relationship between a company and the offshore provider,” explained Cavalcanti. “It should ultimately feel like the offshore team is part of your in-house team with the same level of commitment to the product’s on-time development and overall success.”
Daitan was formed based on the promise to match the quality and productivity of in-house development at a lower total cost of engagement while avoiding traditional outsourcing drawbacks.
Key Elements of the Daitan Model
The Daitan approach is based on a very simple premise – to work with each client as an extension of their in-house team and includes:
For an extended discussion on this topic, please download the Daitan Paper: "Software Development Outsourcing: Provider or Partner? The Evolution of the Offshore Model"
(Click below to see the live newsletter)
With the availability of a standard real-time communications (RTC) client everywhere, it becomes more difficult to demand users to download and install a proprietary client in order to participate in a conference call or use a business application. So business solution providers are under increasing pressure to support WebRTC clients.
Beyond that, the availability of WebRTC opens doors for new functionality, broadens the potential audience for the application, frees software vendors from royalties and license fees, and can be used to improve user experience.
But WebRTC is architected and designed primarily for decentralized, flat topologies with minimum structured signaling and where media streams travel peer-to-peer without being processed in a server.
Many business applications have different requirements. They are usually deployed in a centralized topology, with the media streams being processed in a server so that multiple types of endpoint clients can be supported.
Those differences in design assumptions create a series of challenges when we attempt to support WebRTC clients in a traditional business application.
Interoperability and Standards
While consumers can switch tools overnight, business systems need to support a gradual transition and the co-existence of different sets of technologies.
There is a large installed base of SIP phones, soft-phones, video conferencing equipment, etc. that will remain in use for the foreseeable future. WebRTC is just one more technology in the mix that is not intended to replace some of the existing components.
WebRTC standards are still evolving and there are still some uncertainties related to video codecs and critical mass adoption.
Performance and Scalability
WebRTC is designed to minimize the need for user intervention, so client implementations today seek to autonomously adjust the parameters of the call to adapt to available bandwidth in a best-effort basis.
In a business application, performance requirements are typically more stringent, so the application also need to monitor the connections to take corrective action or at least warn the administrator when call quality degrades.
Another key question is related to scalability. Is the mesh topology adopted by consumer-oriented tools the right answer? Or the requirement to support a large number of users will dictate an MCU-based solution that can scale further?
Lessons Learned: Successfully Supporting WebRTC in Business Application
Daitan Group has collaborated with several software vendors over the past two years and pioneered the implementation of WebRTC in business applications.
We found more challenges than one would expect. Interestingly, while WebRTC design assumptons are geared towards consumers, most of the proven WebRTC use cases we have seen so far were in business applications.
To find what were the lessons learned in the process, please download the Daitan Paper: "Successfully Supporting WebRTC in Business Applications".
The WebRTC online demos allow you to experience WebRTC technology and its capabilities (voice, video, data sharing) for real. Call a phone number, an IP-phone, using traditional phone numbers. Connect to a colleague using WebRTC and establish a video-conferencing session.
WebRTC and FreeSwitch (for Communications Solution Providers)
Solution providers offering applications such as video-conferencing or customer service applications have always struggled with interoperability and support of end devices (traditional phones, soft phones, VoIP clients, etc.) using proprietary technologies. WebRTC promises to establish a standard client that will be available in every platform.
Daitan leveraged its expertise in communications systems to integrate WebRTC applications to the FreeSwitch project and create a deployment in the cloud that can demonstrate end-to-end connections between any combination of WebRTC and other VoIP endpoints using a SIP-based signaling plane in a cloud architecture. This demo shows the possibility to seamlessly integrate WebRTC to the existing commercial conferencing infrastructure and support the transition from a world using proprietary endpoints to a world that embraces Internet technologies.
WebRTC and IMS in the Cloud (for Telecom Operators)
If IP-based communications is unavoidable, telecom operators would like it to be independent of mobile and social platforms (Skype, Google, IOS, etc.). WebRTC offers an alternative that has potential for universal access integrated with traditional telephony in an IMS system.
Daitan leveraged its expertise in communications systems to integrate WebRTC applications to the Clearwater project and create a deployment in the cloud that can demonstrate end-to-end connections between any combination of WebRTC and traditional telephony end-points using a SIP-based signaling plane in an IMS architecture. This demo shows the possibility to seamlessly integrate WebRTC to the existing telephony infrastructure and support the transition from a world using a mix of PSTN and cell phones to communicate worldwide in real time to a world that embraces Internet technologies.
To access the demonstration and make real calls from WebRTC, please visit the WebRTC Demo Landing Page.
To download the White Paper "WebRTC and Universal Communications: A New Era in Telecom", please Click Here.
WebRTC is an important step towards Universal IP-based Communications
It took us the entire 20th century to evolve PSTN technology and build an infrastructure that made phone lines available in virtually every home in the developed world.
In the mid-1980, the first cellular networks appeared, and it took only 25 years before cell phones reached near-universal coverage. As of 2014, more people have access to cell phones than to clean water.
As cell phones emerge towards universal coverage, use of the traditional PSTN is declining quickly. Today, more than 1/3 of the US households have dropped their phone landlines (2012 NHIS Survey), and rely on mobile phones and the Internet for all connectivity needs.
In the early 2000's we saw the first consumer Internet communication applications (like Skype) become popular. Initially these tools were primarily used to make free phone calls when connecting with family from a computer, but we now see increasing use in business and mobile applications, with additional rich media capabilities (voice, video, chat, screen share).
So, over the next few years, we can anticipate that IP-based communications will eventually reach that point of universal coverage and, if patterns repeat, use of cellular phones for real-time communication (RTC) will decline after that. What is the role of WebRTC on this evolution?
For an extended discussion on this, and to access to online WebRTC Demos, please download the white paper "WebRTC and Universal Communications - A new era in Telecom".
Until recently, integrating an application to the telecom infrastructure (so that, for example, a website or mobile app could offer click-to-call or video conferencing capabilities without the installation of an additional native application) required developers to understand and use telecom or VoIP protocols (SS7, SIP, etc.). It comes as no surprise that the web/cloud applications and the telephony spaces have remained separate fields.
However things are changing fast. From its early start in the mid-1990s, VoIP technologies grew to represent a market of about $70B in 2013 (Infonetics). Amazon launched AWS cloud computing services in 2006 and is now joined by other giants like Google and Microsoft. The age of IP-based communications and cloud computing is here.
As VoIP technologies reached maturity, several new companies launched the Telecommunications API industry – allowing web/cloud software to interface with telephony and SMS networks using standard web API's. Examples of such companies include 2600Hz, 46elks, Bandwidth.com, Callfire, MediaBurst, Nexmo, Plivo, Tropo, Twilio, and Voxeo.
For an extended discussion of Telecom Cloud API's, download the white paper "Telecom Cloud API's - Integrating Web/Cloud Solutions with Real-Time Communications". This paper explains Telecom API's, lists their most common use cases, features available from most vendors, and helps choosing the best vendor for a particular application.
Daitan Group is a software development service provider with focus in Telecom, Unified Communications and real-time Cloud/Web Solutions. We partner with technology vendors to help them develop their next software solution. Daitan has organizational experience both helping Telecom API providers to develop their offerings and helping solution developers create their products leveraging Telecom APIs. To know more about what Daitan can do for you, please visit http://daitangroup.com
Page 1 of 6