WebRTC Ecosystem Consolidates: Atlassian Sees Green in BlueJimp

Posted On April 22, 2015 by Nathaniel Currier in Blog, Ecosystem, Verticals

WebRTC Ecosystem Consolidates Further

Australia’s Atlassian, the enterprise software company behind the likes of HipChat, JIRA, Confluence, Bitbucket and FishEye, has acquired France’s BlueJimp, whose most notable solution is Jitsi, a video conferencing tool.

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Atlassian: World-Class Developer Tools

Atlassian does a great job of providing tools to developers, helping them structure and execute their projects. It has a dual business model where it seeks both hosted and on-premises versions of Atlassian’s tools. It had added audio and video capabilities to flagship chat tool HipChat, powered on technology originally supplied by AddLive, until AddLive was acquired by Snapchat in early 2014, leaving Atlassian without a clear vision for the future of their audio/video solution.

BluJimp will now power Atlassian’s HipChat, as originally announced on their website (since removed) and on the Atlassian Blog.

Jitsi, which is written in JAVA, is deeply rooted in Linux and in VoIP. Its video bridge service was considered one of the most polished free-to-download open source solutions – a true pioneer in video conferencing. Despite having limitations such as supporting only Google’s Chrome browser for its WebRTC client; its lack of a platform component; limiting its scalability to the scalability of a single server; it implemented a SFU solution allowing them to scale up to 1,000 streams, where a traditional MCU would be challenged to support 100. Jitsi was seeing traction, the most recent announcement coming from Comcast.

Headquartered in France and with a team of eight scattered across Europe, BlueJimp had a classic business plan for a company based on free and open source code, i.e., consulting and sponsored feature development. Users paid for everything they did, a model which made it difficult to grow and to scale to its potential, the detriment being that it would require every single staff member to be experts in utilising the system.

While Jitsi works only in Chrome, it had the advantage of interoperability with Hangouts, thanks to using XMPP as the signaling format, accept call in and call out from mobile devices.

Why Is Jitsi Important To Atlassian?

With Jitsi, Atlassian would obtain a solution that fits suitably to its needs:

While the WebRTC ecosystem consolidates and this will continue, with bigger players acquiring WebRTC-capable startups, to Temasys this is not a missed strategic opportunity, most notably because we focus on communications in the cloud versus on-premises solutions.

Moreover we do not view ourselves as a direct competitor of BlueJimp, as they do not propose a Platform-as-a-Service nor an API. As a result, their customers have to install the servers by themselves, and are also tasked with running them. Rather, we view the acquisition as a sign of the ecosystem growing, and this marks the commencement of a period of consolidation.

We think there will be more such deals in 2015. After all, there are at least six other WebRTC open source multipoint control units (MCU) out there. MCUs are commonly used to bridge videoconferencing connections. The quality level among most incumbents is below what Jitsi offers, and well below what Temasys is building right now. We also view this as validation of our roadmap – that a quality MCU is key to success.

All things considered, along with the recent Twilio announcement, it’s a great time to be in WebRTC!

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