Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


SCALABLA Report Summary

Project ID: 728509

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SCALABLA (SCALABLA: a platform for elastic multimedia communications enabling natural social interaction and personalization)

Reporting period: 2016-06-01 to 2016-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Conversation is one of the most important ways of Human communication. In order to take place, requires participants to be connected through a real time channel, where delay cannot exceed 250ms. The face-to-face scenario is the natural environment for conversation where human brain perceives no delay. For many years the Telephone Service has provided conversation capabilities for speakers in remote locations, but in a very limited way, as a conversation is much more than voice.
Globalization has drastically changed society and world economy. People are no longer constrained to their native geographical areas, as travel is fastest and cheapest than ever before. Companies target global markets and require distributed teams in many remote locations. All this is causing communication problems as conversation has now moved from its natural face-to-face environment to a remote environment and the voice service provided is just not enough. It is then very important for all social and economical agents the availability of technologies that allow people to recover conversation for remote participants.
SCALABLA main objective is to provide real time communication technologies that help remote conversation to resemble as much as possible the face-to-face scenario.
Within the context of this project there is a specific objective intended to estimate the viability of a business proposal based in a scalable real time communication platform.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

SCALABLA is a project led by Tikal Technologies, a Spanish SME, whose objective is to create a next generation of development platforms enabling natural and personalized real time communications based on WebRTC technologies. The activities and events that have taken place around the project, its ideas and its technologies can be summarized in the following milestones:
• Tikal Technologies created a prototype technology with the aim of validating SCALABLA ideas. Such technology was open to real customers through the commercial name elasticRTC.
• Tikal Technologies performed the appropriate market analyses and created the appropriate business plans. In doing so, the company contacted may potential customers and stakeholders and could appreciate that elasticRTC and SCALABLA ideas were gaining relevant traction and attention from the market. The company could also appreciate the presence of novel and very big stakeholders in the area. This presence increases significantly the financial risks and demands quite relevant funding for guaranteeing the ability to compete.
• Due to the gained relevance, Tikal Technologies got interest from several companies on acquiring elasticRTC technologies and the team behind it.
• As per September 2016, Tikal Technologies and Twilio Inc., a San Francisco based company and one of the most important cloud platform providers for communications in the world, closed and agreement for the sale of elasticRTC technologies and the team behind it, making not possible for SCALABLA con continue as planned.
Hence, all in all, SCALABLA finished as a success case with an exit to a relevant Silicon’s Valley company.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

WebRTC is the foundation for modern RTC (Real Time Communication). Based in already well-known technologies, it does not provide major advances from the technical point of view.
SCALABLA is heavily based in WebRTC so its progress beyond the state of the art is not related to improvements in communications, but in the way this communication capabilities are made available.
RTC is in general very hard to implement and very costly and most providers (if not all) decide to give access to their communication capabilities in a very strict way. Major players in the RTC market, like Skype, Hangouts, Zoom or GotoMeeting, expose an application with more or less capabilities, which in the end is the same model proposed by the Telephone Service. They all have common characteristics:
* They all identify terminal or user with an ID meaningful only within their platform. Call it phone number, skype ID, google user, etc.
* They don’t interoperate, so to persons that want to talk must have an ID.
* They don’t integrate. Communication capabilities are only accessible through their application and cannot be used embedded in other applications
SCALABLA model is not based in a stand-alone application, but in offering the raw communication capabilities to developers, so they can integrate within their own applications. Within this model the users won’t be aware of a separate ID for their communications, as it happens now with Skype or Hangouts. They’ll just perceive the conversation capability as a native part of the web.
SCALABLA proposal is an important breakthrough in the RTC ecosystem as it changes the way user access to conversation. Now users of the web needs to go to acquire an ID within the communication platform and manage themselves how and when to access other participants. With SCALABLA this happens in a natural way, like in the face-to-face scenario and users just talk in a seamless way while they browse de web.

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