To create your own web meeting solution or use an existing service?

WebRTC, a craze sweeping us off our feet back in 2011 was and still is a communication phenomena for industry experts. Use cases continue to increase and the various uses of WebRTC comes with this. Look back at our article raising the question about snapchat using WebRTC to transfer funds between users. More relevant to this specific use case, here is Tsahi’s free report on WebRTC business use cases. Most notably, and seemingly most relevant, web meeting/conferencing solutions whose primary purpose is to deliver a communication channel.

Initially, WebRTC was seen as a competitor and a disrupting technology. However, use cases and purposes for WebRTC has altered Telco’s perception of the technology and its affect on a mature industry. WebRTC brings significant value to these types of solutions whilst increasing the routes to joining a meeting or conference call. But what do you, as a user, require? More importantly, what type of solution do you require?

You feel there is a need to use a web meeting solution and you know exactly what it is you are looking for. You have a dilemma, do you choose an existing service or create your own service.

Let’s explore the possibility of using an existing service such as Drum Web Meetings. Consider the following points when looking to an existing service:

  • A fully tested resolute service – You will be using a web meeting service which is proven and tested. You are likely to have a solution up and running 99.999% of the time as and when you need it. Any downtime is likely to be brief and unnoticeable.
  • No upkeep or maintenance – You will have no concerns about ensuring the service is maintained and in a functioning state. A third party solution will handle all upkeep of the service and any administrative work required when creating and maintaining profiles.
  • No large investments – Whether it be your time you are investing or paying for a developer to build a solution to your requirements. The large investment has already been handled by the third party application.
  • The solution works instantly, who wants delayed gratification? – You do not need to wait 1, 2 or even 6 months before you can use the solution. With most web meeting tools you can start your first meeting almost instantly.
  • You will never own the solution – The solution will never be owned or managed by you. Similar to leasing a new car, you benefit from the latest technology with the full support of specialists. However, you are unlikely to ever see your investment again.

You have shopped around the current offerings and feel there isn’t something which can meet your requirements. So, what should you consider if you are to build your own solution?

  • Basic function with WebRTC is easy and free – Creating a basic solution utilising WebRTC for audio and video is relatively easy (so long as you are well equipped with the technology). You should be able to create a simple audio call with little time or investment.
  • Bespoke solution to your needs – The solution will have all of the bells and whistles you want from your product. There is no compensating or working around an existing UX/UI you are not comfortable with.
  • You can make amendments as and when – You are free to make changes as and when you need to. There is no rigidness within your solution and you are not tied into a set of features created by a third party company. The solution can evolve as your business requirements evolve.
  • Make it your brand – If it is a stand alone service we are comparing here (unlike Drum’s embeddable web meeting tool), building the solution yourself will allow you to brand your web meeting tool to your specific requirements. Your users will never leave your branded experience!
  • You own the solution – The solution is yours, no one else can take that away from you. You do not need to pay any subscription fees to use the service. All costs are then eradicated to use your own service (except for the cost to upkeep the solution).
  • Financial backing – However, creating a solution is not simple nor is it cheap. Large amounts of investment is required to create a sophisticated web meeting solution and to support this solution for its lifetime.
  • What do you want to achieve? – You need to understand what it is you are wanting to achieve when you have finished building your solution. What is the end goal and what challenge are you trying to overcome.
  • What experience do you have? – Ultimately, what experience do you have of building complex solutions? In addition, what is your experience building a specific web meeting solution?

Are you still undecided on which route is most suitable for your requirements?

Alternatively, you could combine the two. Utilise Drum Web Meetings for the initial period whilst building a bespoke solution with Drum’s ShareAnywhere API at the core of your tool. What’s more, once you have finalised your bespoke web meeting solution we can simply link this with your Drum Web Meeting dashboard. As such, you gain instant access to your meeting history on the Drum Web Meeting dashboard.

However, as mentioned above, your decision will depend on what you are trying to achieve and how you expect to achieve the goal. More often than not it is simpler and more cost effective to use a proven and existing service. There are a variety of solutions currently being offered within the industry with varying use cases being met. It can be best to try a variety of solutions to see which one best meets your needs. Drum provides a freemium model to help you use the solutions for an unlimited amount of time to better understand whether it is suitable for you.

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