The Challenge

VUWR is a simple and secure video chat tool that enables remote colleagues to have straightforward business conversations. For years, there have been three main service providers for video calls, and the arrival of Covid-19 saw a huge uptake in the number of organizations globally using video chat software. However, the founder of VUWR found the mainstream video chat services to be cumbersome, confusing, and lacking the security needed to protect personal information. This drove him to launch his own service and to approach S&F and NxtStep, a product management/strategy consultancy, to work in collaboration and help bring the first product to market.

Building software that enables one-to-one video calls is relatively easy. However, things get more complex when developing software that’s capable of hosting group video calls, especially when users are joining via their mobile devices. That was the first ask from VUWR. Speed & Function team tackled this challenge via a series of Agora optimization techniques for both video and audio streams.

Secondly, there was a requirement for a single-page application. It is common for such dynamic applications to reload often, which results in unnatural flashing. To solve this, the S&F developers used encapsulated components rather than one monolith approach, which successfully prevented unstable video/audio streaming and video blinking.

The Approach

What started as an open-source solution to meet the founder’s own needs quickly became a business solution for commercial purposes. 

Working in partnership with NxtStep, S&F built and rolled out the MVP from scratch in less than six months and then built a proposal for the next stage of development, which VUWR’s founder approved.

The Outcome

During the first stage of this project, the following features were developed:

  • Simple and stable video calls directly from a browser window
  • Easy participation without a need to register
  • Sharing screen option
  • Enhanced UX design for a smoother and pleasant experience
  • Convenient call schedule via integration with Calendly 

Notably, S&F created an adaptive design to support a layout that would change depending on the number of participants on a call. This prevented a user’s screen from becoming cluttered while also providing a smooth experience during video calls. Currently, the S&F team is working on a new set of features to help the client monetize the product. 5,000 hours of development have been allocated to this next phase.

The Secret Sauce

Speed & Function focus heavily on creating alignment with each client in order to understand their true needs. The team learned that the client didn’t have a specific set of requirements for the system, but did have a clear objective: “To get from point A to point B.” Getting to the root of the client’s core needs and desires helped the S&F developers to create clean and reliable software that supported the underlying goals. 

The S&F team went beyond the initial brief by offering new features and brainstorming new ideas as part of the business analysis. As a result of this deeper work, the VUWR founder tested a newly developed tool in the automotive industry by letting salesmen showcase new cars virtually. After all, to sell a Porsche, one needs a superb picture.

Tech stack

Agora, React, Ably (pub/sub), Node.js, AWS services (AWS Lambda functions, EC2, CloudFront, route53)

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