Apple absolutely must build FaceTime Pro
I really don’t give two hoots about Animoji, stickers or all the other trivial tools tucked away inside FaceTime.
In fact, I think Apple has missed a trick in how it has developed a product it could (should?) have positioned as the most secure mass market communications tool in the world.
A tool for business
In part this is because Apple was unable/unwilling to figure out how to make FaceTime a cross-platform tool.
I’m guessing part of the reason for this is because, while its thoughts on encryption are plain, it also wanted to avoid becoming a giant version of Signal.
Competition and other regulatory problems may also have stymied these thoughts.
What bugs me about this result is that Apple’s privacy-protecting platforms have so much to offer enterprise and personal users.
Think how its online services – everything it supports in iCloud – could so easily integrate in FaceTime, enabling document, data, image and other content to be shared.
Think about how Siri voice comprehension and its calendar and reminder systems could be tweaked to work together.
And then think about how business users employing these systems could have reasonable confidence that data relating to what they discuss won’t be sold or mined.
Imagine all the people
Imagine if FaceTime protected your confidence, enabled document, screen and video/photo sharing, provided you with an integrated set of Markup tools, and also worked as a peer player with online storage services such as Box, Microsoft, and all the big players in enterprise collaboration (Salesforce, Cisco, et al).
Now, I know this would be difficult, but given that Apple itself is reported to be having problems creating solutions that let its own people work together remotely, and given that all the big enterprise firms now probably have more active users than their systems were built to handle, there’s not a great deal to lose.
And we still have this world to save.
What I’m asking is if there is some way in which Apple and others can work together to create some form of FaceTime Pro that acted as a good citizen, worked happily with the most popular enterprise collaboration systems, and meant that any employee could just use the phone in their pocket to keep working while the crisis confounds us all.
This is your moment
I’m sure there may be winners and losers in such a plan, and it’s possible refusal form incumbents in this space may have forbidden this until now – but those times are done, and right now everyone on this planet needs the most effective and flexible collaboration tools they can find.
Not only is the development of such tools fundamental to the whole basic concept of the Internet itself, but as our world stands so threatened it is also true that making these available is absolutely the responsibility of everyone in the tech industry.
The Internet isn’t about Animoji.
It’s about establishing a functional command, communication and connection system that can survive disaster. That’s what it was invented for. Now that we’re having that disaster it’s time the digital firms delivered on the promise of that plan in our time of need.
Tech firms have millions of employees working at home right now. Why not get them all building the task? We’d have the communication tool the world needed yesterday, perhaps as soon as next week.
You have the power, the money, the responsibility. There’s a pressing human need.
This is your moment. Get on with it.