Over the past decade, demand for new telecom services and the multimedia clients to run them has grown enormously, and they play a key part of our professional and personal lives. Advanced communication clients help us to see, hear, understand and respond in real-time, and are forecast to find their way into ever more aspects of our existence.
Developing a communication client is not a simple task. Many aspects need to be considered long before user interface and design issues are addressed. For example:
- What is the users’ profile – their age, expectations and behavior?
- How strong is the platform hardware – CPU, memory, battery?
- Will the solution be cloud-based or on-premise?
- Will it have simple audio and video, or enriched with chat, instant
- essaging, presence, file sharing and other new features?
- Is there a risk that significant traffic wil be lost, and if so, what can be done about it?
- Will it interoperate with other clients?
- How does it protect the user’s data and provide secured connectivity?
- How will it provide the user with a good quality of experience (QoE)?
- What tests should be used to verify the application?
- What is the best way to manage intellectual property rights’ (IPR) licensing and royalties?
The complications for developers are multiplied if the application needs to support ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) use and different operating systems. As the platforms evolve, developers need to maintain support for all the different versions, so support costs can rise dramatically.
Is it really that complicated? Well, the answer is yes and no, and it depends on which development path is taken.
Choosing to implement everything from scratch will take a lot more time and an even greater amount of effort. But there are ways to reduce this effort from years’ worth of development to only a few months or even weeks. The way to get to the job of developing an application faster and focus on the user interface and user quality of experience instead of learning standards, is by using a software developer kit (SDK).
There are open-source SDKs, but while their benefits are obvious – it’s free – these have the drawback of containing code that does not have legal responsibilities or service. You will have to rely on the open source community to correct issues and update the code from time to time. This may prove to be an obstacle to your product’s roadmap and the overall user’s experience and satisfaction in the longer term.
Commercial multimedia client frameworks and SDKs are not free, but they offer a lot of benefits. They provide an integrated solution, offering a feature-rich protocol stack that enables off-the-shelf selection of the different features needed for the application, from A/V codecs and signaling, across error-correction mechanisms, all the way to signaling and stringent data protection. They also eliminate the need to learn the various application programming interfaces (APIs) and standards to implement the application, simply because it has already been done for you. This means developers can focus on what’s really important – quickly developing an multimedia client with exceptional end-user experience.
Learn more about Softil’s range of developer tools here, or contact us if you want to discuss your requirements in more detail.