SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Alan Percy
Alan Percy is Senior Director of Product Marketing at Dialogic, responsible for marketing of the the company's media server and...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Alan Percy | April 27, 2017 |

 
   

Audience Participation Made Easier with WebRTC

Audience Participation Made Easier with WebRTC As demonstrated at Enterprise Connect 2017, Tap to Speak innovating with communications APIs.

As demonstrated at Enterprise Connect 2017, Tap to Speak innovating with communications APIs.

If you've ever had the chance to present to a large group, you know the difficulty of engaging audience members and keeping their attention. Even the best presenter has significant competition from the ever-present mobile device, and sometimes no amount of coaxing will get attendees to "step up to the microphone" and ask questions in front of the crowd. Here's a look at how WebRTC and communications APIs can solve the problem of audience engagement.

I came across this innovative audience engagement application, Tap to Speak, last month during a WebRTC session at Enterprise Connect 2017 (see related No Jitter post). There I met Marek Wawrzyniak, CEO and co-founder of the application software development firm that created Tap to Speak. Subsequently Marek was kind enough to join me for an episode of my Communications Developer Zone podcast, sharing the story of his Tap to Speak journey. Marek's story starts in an Indiana seminary school, where he honed his skills in public speaking and started his software development craft. Soon after seminary school, a local company hired him to do some programming in COBOL before he got involved in Web development and applications.

Along the way, Marek noticed a need to enhance audience engagement during public forums and to make posing questions and driving the conversation easier for participants. He saw this as an opportunity for a new application.

"Why not turn the smartphone microphone into a microphone that people can use to ask questions?" he asked himself.

The challenge was voice-enabling an application, and integrating that application with a Web portal through which the presenter could allow questions via voice and instant messaging. WebRTC offered a potentially perfect solution, allowing one-way audio with a pure Web application, Marek said.

He and his development team started with an open source WebRTC library and quickly produced a working demonstration. "My developers put together an initial demo in two weeks," he said.

With the demo, Marek said he was able to start marketing his application to companies -- to great positive interest (including from Disney). But the open source software came with some problems that caused reliability and peer-to-peer connectivity issues in some venues.

"Those of you that develop with WebRTC know how difficult it can be!" he said.

One of the challenges Tap to Speak had at this stage was in establishing a peer-to-peer media stream from a participant's smartphone to the presenter's laptop with minimal latency. "Some of the conference rooms block the connections, preventing peer-to-peer connections within their networks," noted Marek, referring to a common a security technique. Tap to Speak needed to be able to detect when a venue was blocking peer-to-peer connections and instead engage an external TURN server to pass the media stream from the smartphone to the presenter.

Time to start over.

Marek and his developers partnered with Temasys for a second round of development, and have done a total redesign based on that company's WebRTC development platform. Fortunately for Marek, the Temasys platform automatically manages media streaming and provides TURN services, solving his connectivity issues.

As demonstrated during the Enterprise Connect session, "WebRTC Stories From the Field: Innovative Applications," Marek was able to establish real-time voice connections between the two session moderators, showing how users can submit voice questions in large venues, even when the WiFi is suspect.

But Marek isn't done yet. He's working on a couple dozen new features, he said, and continuing to sell the Tap to Speak platform in the U.S. and Europe.

As the story comes to a close, despite some initial challenges, WebRTC and Temasys turned out to be core technologies that made his application possible.

At your next conference or town hall event you may be lucky enough to see WebRTC and Tap to Speak in action, hopefully keeping you and the rest of the audience engaged.





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

September 20, 2017

Customer experience can make or break your business. But how do you achieve outstanding customer service when you're dealing with outdated organizational structure, lagging technology, dated proces

August 16, 2017

Contact centers have long been at the leading edge of innovation in communications technology, given their promise of measurable ROI and the continual need to optimize customer interactions and sta

July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.