Solaborate and WebRTC: An Interview With Labinot Bytyqi

When WebRTC is really delegated into a feature.

[If you are new around here, then you should know I’ve been writing about WebRTC lately. You can skim through the WebRTC post series or just read what WebRTC is all about.]

I’ve been saying for some time now that WebRTC degrades VoIP from a service to a feature, and there’s no better startup that shows this than Solaborate.

201307-Labinot-BytyqiWhen I approached Labinot Bytyqi, Founder & CEO at Solaborate, he said something in the line of “Solaborate is like Facebook, LinkedIn, Yammer and Stack Overflow all mashed together to fit the technology social networking market”. I’d say that it is a social network focused around technology experts, where WebRTC is but a minor feature – something you might or might not even use. But it is there, and it has value.

Labinot was kind enough to answer my questions.

What is Solaborate all about?

Solaborate is a technology social networking and collaboration platform designed for professionals and companies to connect, discover, and collaborate. It enables the technology ecosystem to solve business problems and generate leads and opportunities by providing the right tools and services to collaborate in real time. Our mission is to connect the world’s Tech professionals, companies and products with end users and to make them more productive and successful.

Who do you see as your target customers?

As I already mentioned, we are targeting technology professionals, companies, their products and services worldwide. We felt that the technology industry was in need of a dedicated place where they can promote themselves, find and provide answers to technology related questions, to easily communicate and collaborate with each other, without having to search endlessly online.
201307-Solaborate-Screenshot

Why have you decided to integrate WebRTC into your solution?

We decided to integrate WebRTC because we truly believe that it is the future of communication. One of the key benefits of WebRTC is that it allows users to communicate and collaborate with each other without downloading or installing proprietary software and plug-ins. Solaborate’s usage of WebRTC enables technology professionals and companies to engage and collaborate with each other like never before. It also enables technology companies to support and demonstrate their products or services better by creating a richer and more personalized customer experience.

What signaling have you incorporated to deal with WebRTC?

We are using SignalR + Socket.IO over NodeJS running on Windows Azure Cloud.

What technologies do you use in your backend?

We are using Windows Azure Cloud (IAAS, SAAS) utilizing latest Microsoft.Net, SQL Azure, Azure Table storage, MongoDB, Redis, Microsoft Service Bus, Socket.IO over Node.js.

Running on Microsoft Azure is quite unusual for a company using WebRTC. What made you make this decision?

Our platform is implemented mostly in C# .NET Framework 4.5 in ASP.NET MVC 4.0 running on windows servers. For any other non-Microsoft products, we use Windows Azure Virtual Machines. Likewise, despite the fact that Microsoft has not built support for WebRTC in Internet Explorer, it does conflict with our approach of using WebRTC for some of our key features.

What challenges did you have with integrating WebRTC into your service?

Our biggest challenge, I must say, was in choosing the right TURN/STUN servers/configuration and ability to scale out.

Given the opportunity, what would you change in WebRTC?

What is missing, in my opinion, is introducing support for other codecs and support for mobile. Also, it would be great to make it more flexible using STUN/TURN servers.

What would be the purpose of having more codecs?

What’s next for Solaborate?

New challenges arise every day for me and my team. Our aim is to improve our current features, implement new ones, and to constantly push the envelope with new and innovative technologies. We are working very hard to release our mobile version of Solaborate and looking on extending WebRTC for other browsers currently not supporting WebRTC by bundling different plugins.

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