A company’s leadership plays a critical role in directing strategy and growth. When it comes to a technology-focused company like Acrobits, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) guides our product development and is vital in our overall success.
We recently sat down with our CTO, Tomas Vyskocil, to learn more about him and how he plans to lead the technological growth of Acrobits.
Read on to learn more about Tomas, his vision for Acrobits, and for a sneak peek into our roadmap.
Q: What got you interested in software development? What’s your background?
I was always fascinated with technology, even more so if it was something portable. Handheld consoles, pocket PCs, mobile phones — anything portable.
At some point I realized I wanted to do something on my own, so I started programming. I did my first experiments in Java and C about 15 years ago, back when I was in high school. Even as sports started taking up more of my time in high school, I always stayed in touch with the tech world and programming.
At some point, I decided which university to pick, making the decision to attend a technical university. This was also the moment I started looking into Android development. I graduated a few years later, and I was ready to start a career. I found a job at a startup hub, but I was not fulfilled and started looking for something new.
Q: What brought you to Acrobits?
Well, I ran into an ad for Acrobits. One of my schoolmates worked at Acrobits, which helped me trust the company. I went in for an interview, and I was impressed by how things work at Acrobits. So I started as a junior Android developer and got the senior developer position a few years later.
After the passing of Jiří Král, Acrobits’ long-standing and well-respected CEO, change was inevitable. We went from an era of following his lead to a new era where I was the CTO of the company.
Q: Can you share a few details about how you create and modify Acrobits’ roadmap?
There are two general ways to create a roadmap: you can try to stay ahead and offer customers features they probably don’t know they need yet, and you are convinced that they will benefit from them. Or you can ask them what they need.
We do both.
We stay aware of market trends, what our competitors are offering, and any events that will impact our industry, like COVID-19 or OS updates. Still, even if we would like to release everything on time or even release it at all, we often have to postpone or shift priorities. I mean, who would have thought that video conferencing would take off as it did without the pandemic?
Additionally, every customer has access to our support portal, where they can find help and submit requests. Our developers and I frequently monitor the board to see what our customers want.
In 2020, we started doing customer surveys. We discovered that the features our customers were requesting were already slated for development. It was great feedback and let us know we’re headed in the right direction.
So, we take everything and determine its priority, how long it will take, and then build our roadmap.
Q: How has the Sinch acquisition affected Acrobits?
Sinch is certainly a much larger company in terms of employees. However, Acrobits remains independent and continues to guide its own development decisions.
Sinch can see our proven success in this industry. They are confident in our abilities to stay innovative and create forward-thinking solutions.
Now, that doesn’t mean we want to become siloed from Sinch. We see a lot of value in the robust product catalog Sinch has created. In fact, many of its products could potentially enhance Acrobits’ services. Sinch has additional expertise and experience that will undoubtedly benefit us both.
We are not just part of Sinch now, we are powered by Sinch.
What I can say is simple. I see nothing but opportunity coming from this partnership for our customers.
Q: Acrobits launched LinkUp this year. Can you tell me a bit about that process?
We always strive to be proactive by listening to our customers and looking at dominant trends. When COVID-19 changed the world, we immediately asked a simple question: are we capable of developing a video conferencing solution?
Acrobits had already created other communications applications like Cloud Softphone. So, we knew we could do it. But we needed to know if we could make a video conferencing solution that was intuitive, feature-rich, and compatible with our team. That meant analyzing our limitations, things like developer availability, scarcity of time, and other resources. LinkUp was the direct result of this process and we’ve already deployed it to some of our VIPs and the feedback is very positive.
We built our LinkUp conferencing using Amazon Chime’s platform. We chose that platform for its maturity and the powerful functionality it offers. Its native SDKs give us the maximum amount of control over the product and we can also rely on the robust developer support it has.
The fact that it is running on top of AWS is another benefit for us and our customers.
Q: How did you handle developing LinkUp to work on multiple platforms?
We have the luck to have a dedicated and skilled team of developers — backend developers, frontend developers, and developers that focus on the native platforms.
But whatever we built, we knew it needed to be intuitive and easy to use. That’s why we put a lot of development and testing time into making LinkUp user-friendly and compatible with major platforms. We also engaged our customers to see what features they wanted to see included.
What we learned can be summarized in a few points:
- We have to support native environments (Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Android)
- We have to support all major browsers (Chrome, Safari, and others).
- We need to make it as easy as possible to join meetings by reducing the amount of user input required
- The whole UI has to provide a user-friendly experience that makes video conferencing seamless
And today, I can proudly say we delivered on all the points.
Q: Why did Acrobits switch from WebRTC to native desktop apps?
We leveraged what we already prepared from the beginning. The founders of Acrobits, from the very beginning, managed to run Cloud Softphone on every platform. For example, when Android caught on in the early 2010s, Acrobits rapidly developed an Android product. This has always been the focus of Acrobits — making accessible apps regardless of the platform.
And even today, this is how our platform works. We always look for interoperability with all major or potentially growing platforms.
WebRTC is a very innovative technology and will keep improving over time, no doubt about it.
But sometimes you have to go against the flow and be pragmatic. What matters most to us are our own customers, and Acrobits serves telecom-enabled businesses that rely on a wide variety of SIP backends. Being able to provide maximum compatibility with the best possible performance in such heterogeneous ecosystems meant going native SIP. It is currently the only logical way forward for us.
Q: Can you tell us what’s in the pipeline to be released for 2022?
Of course. Here is a brief breakdown of our upcoming roadmap:
- Enhanced Messaging Integration: We’re building a fully integrated text messaging gateway that will allow users to send a text to anyone from within Cloud Softphone. Any softphone user with an assigned number can text clients and customers without switching apps.
- Multi-party Chat: Users will be able to streamline collaboration with our upcoming multi-party chat capabilities. Text messaging is only the beginning; we’ll offer audio, video, and even file sharing.
- CRM Integration: We know our users live and breathe in CRMs, so we’re integrating Cloud Softphone with popular CRMs. Crucial customer information, such as phone numbers and internal customer IDs, will be bi-directionally integrated within our platform for Hubspot initially, with plans to roll out Salesforce and Zendesk as well.
- Refreshed Mobile UI: It’s essential for users to feel right at home in our mobile app. So, we’re giving the UI a modern refresh to embrace current design trends. Additionally, we’ll be adding a dark theme to make our app more accessible.
- Fully-Customizable Call UI: We want users to be able to fully configure our white label solutions to match their company’s branding. This update will allow users to truly make the application their own by allowing for full customization of the Call UI.
Lastly, I asked our marketing team to start producing quarterly tech tips, where our team leaders can showcase and explain many of our use cases and new enhancements to better serve our customers, so they can build differentiated value-added services.
Are you interested in exploring Cloud Softphone? Watch our on-demand demo today and see the industry-leading Cloud Softphone platform in action.