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IceHook Systems

Software development company uses OnSIP to build browser-based phone connected to telephone network

IceHook Systems, based in Brooklyn, NY, is a software development company that specializes in communications solutions. They are the creators of FireRTC, a webphone that connects the traditional telephone network with data-rich web real-time communications (WebRTC) technology.

“We wanted to build a modern, browser-based communications tool that provides the user with contextual data on who he is talking to, while at the same time still be able to access the traditional phone network,” says Randy Weinberger, President and Co-founder of IceHook Systems. The webphone allows users to make and receive calls to regular telephones, cell phones, and other FireRTC users all from a web browser.

To build this webphone, IceHook needed a developer platform that could offer simple user management while also providing connectivity to the telephone network and other Internet endpoints. IceHook analyzed a variety of these platforms, and even considered building their own. They ultimately chose OnSIP’s Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) offering because of its clear features and value: “we especially like that it’s SIP-based without much abstraction,” notes Weinberger.

They also needed a signaling platform to handle events such as setting up and ending a call. They decided to use the SIP protocol, and leveraged SIP.js, our JavaScript library that allows developers to add a full SIP signaling stack to WebRTC apps.

“SIP.js enables our web-based phone to speak to other SIP devices with minimal modification,” says Weinberger. The webphone also leverages the OnSIP Platform for user creation, authentication, and management. Each user who signs up for the FireRTC phone is set up on the OnSIP Platform, and IceHook staff members can access the user database from OnSIP’s easy-to-use web Admin Portal.

The development team at IceHook Systems overcame many obstacles in building FireRTC, most notably being fraudulent actors using the phone. “We have had challenges with some users who abuse the system for either commercial or fraudulent purposes,” acknowledges Weinberger. “We have worked very hard to put in fraud detection systems which have virtually eliminated this behavior.”

In addition to overseas users, they have seen many US-based podcasters and YouTubers use the FireRTC phone in their live broadcasts. For future updates, the IceHook team is working on incorporating features like text messaging into the webphone, as well as the ability to embed FireRTC on websites for companies to use in their sales and support channels.

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