CommandCenter: Your Place to Work

Background

Apps promise to give us superpowers. Browser plug-ins, add-ons, or extensions promise to make us more productive. Operating systems and software, in general, aim to solve our problems. By ourselves, we feel productive. When we join teams, our productivity plummets.

Dropbox and Slack promised to “solve work” for everyone. Launched in 2007, Dropbox aimed to capture and manage company documents and become the company’s layer of work. Six years later, Slack promised messaging would become the center of work for distributed teams around the world.

What’s striking is both products failed to fulfill the core requirement of distributed teams — collaboration. Dropbox popularity is fading and Slack growth is slower than expected. The app to “rule work” is nowhere to be found.

Work happens in the applications used to solve very specific problems. When collaborating, designers use Figma, writers use Google Docs, and remote workers use Slack and Discord.

Figma allows designers to receive feedback from others without leaving the app. Figma sees itself as the “collaborative interface design tool.”

Google Docs allows writers to receive edit suggestions from others without leaving the app. Google Docs sees itself as the “online word processor that lets you create and format documents and work with other people.”

Slack allows remote workers to chat with their co-workers, while Discord allows people to chat with their friends. Slack’s slogan is “where work happens”. Discord sees itself as “your place to talk”.

Traditional browser extensions, apps, and operating systems are broken. These tools tailor to make the individual more productive, but they fail to improve team productivity. Most tools focus on individual workflows. Most tools do not account for dynamic and changing team workflows.

Most apps are built for the individual. Most apps have no way to message peers and co-workers. Most apps have no way to screen share. Most apps do not have collaboration features.

There is no single way to complete tasks. In teams, obstacles arise when individuals follow different workflows. Working in teams allows individuals to reach new heights of performance. Most solo workers and most teams do not share their workflows.

Introducing CommandCenter: Your Place To Work

CommandCenter is the command-and-control center for applications. CommandCenter is the next generation of work collaboration. CommandCenter allows workers to message each other without switching apps or drastically altering their workflows. It is an application optimized for screen sharing and messaging. CommandCenter runs on modern operating systems of Mac, Windows, Linux.

CommandCenter features screen sharing and messaging functionality to encourage solo workers to tap into group flow. Sharing the work allows workers to finish tasks and receive feedback faster.

CommandCenter gives organizations the collaboration tools (screen sharing and messaging) they were missing.

CommandCenter provides an easy way for applications to be connected.

Productivity is increased when individuals follow similar workflows. It’s the only way to track improvements over time. With CommandCenter, workers share the same screen. This allows workers to find the most optimal path for workflows.

CommandCenter support macOS, Windows, and Linux thanks to Electron. Electron is an open-source framework that lets developers build pseudo-native applications using familiar web technologies (JavaScript, HTML, CSS). Electron uses a Node.js runtime for the backend part and Chromium for the front-end.

Active users of this app have it on all the time, even when they are not working. It’s a passive way to have a presence with your co-workers or friends. And when your co-workers and friends start working, it makes it easy to with one click go join their screen. Bringing your actual social graph across all work. Finally, voice chat makes it possible to talk with your co-workers or friends across all work, even when you are working. Like when working in a Google Doc, having to switch out of your work to message is a negative experience. Instead, this app adds functionality to your work even while you are focused solely on them.

Features

CommandCenter allows peers to connect directly to each other with no server management.

P2P communication is the process of sending data one peer to another without the necessity of servers. CommandCenter uses WebRTC to achieve peer-to-peer screen sharing.

WebRTC (Web Real Time Connection) is an open-source project with a JavaScript API allowing you to create peer-to-peer connections between browsers.

CommandCenter uses WebRTC and Screen Capture API to establish a connection between peers.

Presence management is the process of detecting which co-workers are online. CommandCenter uses Google Firebase to keep establish the presence or online availability.

Signaling is the process of coordinating communication.

For a WebRTC application to set up a ‘call’, its clients need to exchange information:

  • Session control messages used to open or close communication.
  • Error messages.
  • Media metadata such as codecs and codec settings, bandwidth, and media types.
  • Key data used to establish secure connections.
  • Network data, such as a host’s IP address and port as seen by the outside world.

The signaling process needs a way for clients to pass messages back and forth.

Benefits

CommandCenter allows you to see which of your co-workers or friends are online.

CommandCenter allows co-workers to share apps and collaborate across them, chat directly with your co-workers, and screen share directly between devices, without having to upload them to any server first.

CommandCenter allows teams to accomplish tasks faster. It allows workers to connect directly to other co-workers to complete tasks while sharing the same screen. Having two people work on the same screen allows teams to solve tasks faster, catch more errors and work more efficiently. Modern companies use pair programming, pair writing, or pair designing to accomplish more. CommandCenter makes pair working easy.

Conclusion

Screen-sharing is the meta-layer of work. CommandCenter allows individuals to work side-by-side while forcing individuals to rethink their existing workflows. CommandCenter brings screen-sharing to the forefront of work, allowing teams to connect and accomplish tasks faster. Voice messaging or text messaging is used as a backup.

The center of work is a command center. When co-workers are online, screen-sharing offers the best of productivity and real-time collaboration. When co-workers are offline or do not wish to be disturbed, messaging allows teams to maintain communication. CommandCenter allows workers to pair quickly with their co-workers. Messaging is used as a backup that captures the edge cases of work.

As teams expand in size, they are faced with greater challenges. As individuals, we can only accomplish so much. As teams, we can accomplish so much more.

On the internet, we now have a new way to work — collaboratively. Thanks to CommandCenter, individuals can finally share their personal workflows while working effectively in teams.

The future of work is the center of work. The center of work lies between collaboration and productivity. The center of work happens in apps. The center of work happens in the command center.

Contribute

Want to build the future of work? Contribute to CommandCenter on Github. Email Slava at hello@slavakurilyak.com to get started.

This post originally appeared on SlavaKurilyak.com on August 3, 2020.

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