Are you familiar with what is called web application? Do you know any difference between web site & web application?
A web application is a software or a program running on a web server that utilizes web browsers and web technology to perform tasks over the internet which also look like a web site – a group of globally accessible, interlinked web pages that have a single domain name. Unlike computer-based software that runs locally on the operating system (OS) of the device, this is accessed by the user through a web browser with an active network connection. Thanks to its nature that the contents in a web server get frequently updated allowing access from anywhere and any device, Examples of commonly used web applications include web-mail, online retail sales, online banking, and online auctions. As a matter of fact, these are all around us in the office or at home keeping us stay up-to-dated on our requests.
Then, what about real-time communications when working in office or working from home or any place where you need voice communication & video collaboration with your colleagues?
In the earlier time of working environment in the office, web technologies were not actively engaged in communications. The legacy environment under server/client structured applications could meet most of business user’s expectation thru a numerous accumulative upgrades & customization in clients & servers until Businesses Moved to The Cloud.
In the Cloud, a web application is a key element to drive success as it gives us a boundaryless communication & collaboration to users. Users are talking to colleagues in chat, voice & video and edit the files on common projects and share them in the age of remote working thru Web. The WebRTC is in a core for making these capabilities. It is a built-in media library that seats in the browser where voice and video become a native HTML element, moving communications to a web eliminating the need to download additional plugins which eventually enables browser-to-browser connectivity for real-time communication.
We have lately made such capabilities available in the iPECS Cloud on a new cloud UC & Collaboration solution – iPECS ONE. This, indeed, accelerates communications in the cloud. Let’s have a look what good it delivers to users and what huddles we may encounter in actual business communication environment.
No hassle for end-user’s devices
For IT manager in the business where Windows or Mac based applications are deployed, much of hassles would come from management of version compatibility between client & server. I still see a list of compatibility table for legacy iPECS applications that clarifies what’s backward-compatible and what’s not. This is a mandatory activity as we need to keep those soft-wares up and running properly. However, through implementing native characteristics of web application in iPECS ONE, we could eliminate traditional concept of upgrade & maintenance. And iPECS Cloud seat users can let Chrome take over and be freed from version management and installation. Upgrades will be centralized and applied to the web server and iPECS ONE web Client will get updated as done in the web page.
Chrome browser, once access is authenticated, would help you to do everything for UC & Collaboration. It finds contacts in unified directory, shows presence of colleague whatever devices they are using, calls anyone you select in the contacts and help you to set up audio & video conference inviting your customers. No more hassle around installation & version compatibility occurs.
Access from everywhere – It sounds like all sized-business’ IT manager’s ever wanted goal.
All the business segments from small & medium to a large sized enterprise business, ever wanted value for maximum productivity would be mobility. Web Technologies supports this goal in a very easily achievable way, as web application is free from installation. End-users will launch Chrome and connect to the iPECS ONE server in the Cloud by entering the URL assigned. It opens unified communication & collaboration service on a real-time peer to peer connection on the Web Socket and exchange DTLS/sRTP encrypted WebRTC media. User benefits can be seen when road-warriors move his geographical location from one place to another and when he visits other branches in organization or visits customer sites without his own laptop.
And what’s making more attractive, at the dawn of web technologies in ICT industry, usability of application has become a core value of solutions. And thankfully, a numerous open source based UX framework are being introduced to the market and adopted by most of vendors as done for iPECS ONE. Therefore, we could keep iPECS ONE actively adapting its way of look to latest UX trends at much less efforts which eventually address market requirements in timely manner.
Then, what may be in the way from User Experience perspective potentially tackles us?
If not properly acknowledged, Experience in using web application as a communications device could be frustrating because you can see Chromes supported for each individual OS platforms – Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android, etc. and other WebRTC supported browsers than Chrome – Edge, Firefox, etc. So, there could be several combinations for iPECS ONE’s platform – WebRTC supported browsers that provide a different environment for iPECS ONE eventually yielding an unexpected inconvenience in user interface.
Therefore, to minimize any potential inconvenience in term of user interface, we have optimized user’s environment for iPECS ONE – it needs to run on the Chrome in Windows & Mac. And for best user’s experience in mobile devices, iPECS ONE supports mobile apps instead of supporting Chrome in mobile OS – iPhone, Android.
I see no significant huddles on selecting devices & browsers as recommended, However, we will come up with more recommendation for user’s convenience. For features and values in iPECS ONE, I will come back in the next posting. Click here to learn more about iPECS ONE.