Walky IO

Video-first chat app for remote workers

Walky is a video first chat app for remote workers. Working remote is hard and communicating remote is even harder. Slack has given us a firehose we can't keep up with and conferencing tools are based around scheduled meetings, not quick exchanges. We end up typing paragraphs to try to explain what we're talking about when a quick conversation is all that was needed. In the office, you could walk up to someone and tap them on the shoulder and quickly get an answer to your question. Even if you didn't need to chat, you could look across the room and see your co-workers working with you. You felt like you were part of a team, not a lone wolf. Walky aims to re-connect you to your office by providing instant video broadcasting to your team. With the click of a button, anyone in your Walky Channel will be able to see and hear you. Team members can flow in and out of the chat organically. While you're not chatting, you can turn on live photos to automatically take your picture once a minute. Walky is currently in Beta for Chrome and Android devices. I'm looking for anyone willing to shape the product with direct feedback and real world use. Visit https://walky.io to try it out.
@jamesvpatrick Is there any major differences between Walky.io and Sneek.io?
@flowsion Just saw Sneek for the first time, pretty cool, I picked up some more ideas. Some small differences would be the way video is approached. When you and another team member are both broadcasting (aka, camera / mic on ), you are presented with a more traditional video chat interface. There is also the concept of quick texts which are pre-baked messages you can send back and forth and can be received when the browser is closed. One of the main use cases that brought it about was use as an in-office notifier for things like "you're next appointment is here". Walky is also free for video and screensharing. I'd like to find a way to monetize so I can keep the lights on, and with that said, the last difference is Sneek appears to have some sort of funding or investment.
So this is WebRTC based, I take it. Out of curiosity (since I'm building a WebRTC platform myself 😂 ) how are you handling server costs? Minimizing them? Or are you planning a quick monetization strategy to offset costs?
And your signup is so streamlined! I love the use as a guest feature, with signup on the left at any time.
@kikischirr Yeah I'm leveraging WebRTC, thats partly why its Chrome only. To date, Firefox and Edge still suffer from a long list of WebRTC related woes making cross platform a difficult endeavor. The app itself is built heavily on Firebase which has a really flexible cost structure and currently video is directly Peer2Peer. The downside is there's probably a realistic limit of 5 to 10 people depending on your connection, but the upside is that video transmission is free until Walky can get some capital. I'm hoping to find ways to monetize early while still maintaining the core features as free.
@jamesvpatrick I think the Chrome-only designation is wise. Why offer a subpar experience? ...sounds like an old school Apple decision! lol
I disagree with the "can't keep up with Slack" comment. I would find it incredibly distracting if people would constantly start chatting from my screen. In real life, social conventions stop people from talking to you when you're busy - if a colleague looks to be in deep thought, I won't bother him or her. If an office door is closed, for those of us lucky enough to have an office, the same applies. In a remote situation, those social clues don't exist. We use a mixture of Slack and appear.in (which already delivers on the "create an alway on, always open channel" proposition) for communication. It's quick, seamless and doesn't create a huge distraction.
@andreasduess Thanks for the feedback Andreas! I checked out Appear.in, definitely seems to be a close comparison to Walky. What messaging might resonate better with you, and is there anything you wish was different about Appear.in?
@andreasduess Glad somebody else brought up appear.in. We love their video platform and it's been some of the best video quality I've seen lately across platforms.
There are a few apps out there that do this - one is @appear_in (appear.in) which is a nice small app with the matching mobile device apps. The one feature where this app could stand out is recording the chat and export that file for backup purposes.
@jkranenburg @appear_in Great idea Jeff. Currently the mesh P2P video setup poses a challenge, there would definitely be ways to support that feature when using something like an SFU or Multiplexing unit.