With the 4G World Conference in full swing, Saraj Mudigonda, Business Development Manager, and Allan Johnson, General Manager, are currently in Chicago, demonstrating Imagination’s HelloSoft IP portfolio of highly-portable, standards-based, fully-featured video and voice over IP (V.VoIP), VoLTE and RCS software. We’ve asked them to provide a short description of what social networking integration means for V.VoIP and VoLTE as 4G holds great potential to transform business and how people communicate, work and socialize.

Video and Voice over IP is finally embracing social networking. Six years ago, mobile VoIP services were introduced for the first time giving consumers an alternative for making calls internationally. About the same time, a certain blue-themed social media network was gaining popularity with college students and would soon grow to tens of millions of users. Now Facebook is counting over one billion users and has expanded to include corporate pages, marketing campaigns and promotional launches. 8 months after its launch, Google + reached 100 million users while other social platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Weibo or YouTube are becoming more and more popular. MySpace recently made a comeback as well, with a more polished design aimed at getting people interested in its refreshed music sharing-oriented concept.

At launch, mobile VoIP was met with less enthusiasm from operators that were seeing it as a threat due to profit erosion. But gradually the technology started to break into the mainstream partly thanks to its perfect fit within the ever-growing number of social networking services. Market research company In-Stats expect mobile VoIP users to reach 140 million within the next years because voice and video communication is becoming a vital part of social networks. Cellular network providers were trying to lure new customers in by offering location and social networking based services but were not prepared to open up the VoIP ecosystem.

HelloSoft Social Communicator: VoIP solutions beginning to gain social networking support

VoIP solutions beginning to gain social networking support

All that changed when LTE started to emerge; according to Amy Cravens, market analyst at In-Stats, mobile VoIP has gained real market presence as usage rates are climbing rapidly, specifically for social networking apps which have much higher potential for broad acceptance and use. That’s why Imagination has developed the HelloSoft Social Communicator. It enables true two-way real-time voice and video communications on a social networking platform.

HelloSoft Social Communicator is based on the HelloSoft V.VoIP (Voice and Video over IP) SDK for Social Networking Platforms and supports comprehensive high performance multi-platform consumer and enterprise features that accelerate the development and rapid deployment of consumer and professional V.VoIP social networking apps.

Hellosoft Social Communicator WLC (White Label Client) for social networking

HelloSoft Communicator WLC (White Label Client) for social networking

Although we are seeing a general trend of digital convergence, there are still notable differences between networks, devices and environments. Bandwidth and latencies vary from fixed to mobile broadband connections as most people use social networking while at home, work or while commuting. Increasingly so, these platforms are being accessed from smartphones and tablets therefore operating system designers and OEMs are working together to optimize and integrate more functionality into the user interface so you can not only share pictures, images or music but also launch real-time voice and video applications seamlessly.

The focus is placed on the consistency of the experience: consumers want to have the same features on their smart TVs, tablets or laptops even though the devices might have different characteristics. Voice quality and video resolution can therefore be adjusted based on available resources: low-resolution video may be used on a smartphone where power optimization is a priority, while PCs can easily support high-definition video. This is particularly useful when switching between 3G/4G, Wi-Fi and wireline connections where dynamic adjusting has to be done very efficiently so that no visible glitches occur during a real-time conversation. LTE and enterprise Wi-Fi networks have implemented QoS (Quality of Service) provisions like dedicated bearers for voice and video. We’ve developed our HelloSoft Social Communicator to be available on multiple platforms and operating systems – iOS, Android and Windows, enabling the integration of HelloSoft V.VoIP technologies on PCs, mobile computing devices, tablets, mobile media devices or smartphones.

HelloSoft Social Communicator for social networking on mobile

Our HelloSoft SDKs support Android, iOS and Windows

There is also a rising demand for corporate social networking as services such as Jive Engage or Yammer have enjoyed a level of success as companies understand the benefits like cost reduction for traveling that these platforms can bring.  This of course implies implementing additional security options due to the very nature of the data that is being transmitted through their use. The enterprise environment requires a controlled, guaranteed and predictable service to attract more corporate users and encourage them to use these platforms to their fullest.

Mobile operators are gearing up for an enhanced social networking adoption as well by preparing the launch of rich communications services based on the GSMA RCS (Rich Communication Suite) standards. This standard includes a social presence service to publish rich status updates and receive profile information from contacts. RCS also supports voice and video for LTE networks based on the GSMA IR.92 and IR.94 standards respectively. Imagination’s HelloSoft Rich Communication Suite supports advanced features such as enriched audio and video calling, enhanced address book/contacts, video share, image/file transfer, Messaging – SMS/MMS over MSRP. It is compliant to RCS-e Advanced Communications and also supports multi-homed sessions with synchronized presence allowing the user to login to multiple devices with simultaneously & seamless handoff.

HelloSoft Social Communicator: OTT mobile VoIP & VoLTE reaching 700 million subscribers by 2016

Infonetics Research estimates the number of global VoLTE subscribers to reach about 300,000 this year

Interoperability between these numerous social networking platforms will considerably augment the user experience as VoIP and social networking are bound to converge. For example, besides Video and VoIP functionality, HelloSoft Social Communicator also inherits the available features of the social networking platform such as the friends list, their online status, and the posting of messages on the wall, thus providing a complete, integrated application. As more companies adopt integrated communications platforms and policies such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), extending their solutions to incorporate social networking by adding options like live chatting is only the next natural step.

Interested in the merging of VoIP with social media and social networking? Then come back to our blog regularly and follow us on Twitter to get all the answers you need.

About the author: Saraj Mudigonda

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Saraj Mudigonda is Business Development Manager for Imagination's HelloSoft V.VoIP products running on multiple platforms including Android, iOS, Windows and Linux. He has 15 years of experience in the telecommunication industry in Wireless LAN, V.VoIP, and Wireless Communications and started his career as a DSP (Digital Signal Processing) engineer developing, implementing, and optimizing the assembly code for several DSP architectures. He also managed multiple V.VoIP customer projects and was the primary liaison between customers and engineering teams.

View all posts by Saraj Mudigonda