WebRTC World Feature Article

November 28, 2012

TSSG Shares Insight on the Potential of WebRTC

The ability to stream real-time communications without downloading additional plugins or applications is in high demand as new devices and hosted solutions bring collaboration into the next generation. WebRTC is an Opera, Mozilla and Google-backed open project designed to enable real-time communications (RTC) with the use of a simple Javascript API instead of downloading a separate application or software. The foundation provided by WebRTC enables high quality communications regardless of the device, network or carrier.

TSSG, an ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) research and innovation company focused on mobile platforms and services, security privacy and identity, data analytics and social computing, is dedicated to the Future Internet agenda, especially in Europe. As a member and partner in a number of European technology platforms and strategic collaboration groups, TSSG participates in innovative technologies at a leadership level. To get an idea of TSSG’s position on WebRTC, TMC talked with Miguel Ponce de leon, the company’s chief technologist.

While TSSG maintains a leadership role in technology innovations, it’s clear that WebRTC is not yet ready for mainstream, simply because there aren’t enough Web browsers implementing WebRTC APIs by default. When this changes, audio conferencing is expected to be the first technology out of the gate in terms of WebRTC communication applications, reducing the cost of disturbing existing conferencing services.

The good news is that once this level of communication is ready, the channel can be used for so much more. Those operators who focus solely on minutes used to generate revenue will find themselves scrambling, however, WebRTC will change the game in terms of the business model. Fortunately, there is time to do so as major barriers to WebRTC adoption still exist. For one, interoperability between the browser and support is still lacking. At the same time, strong support across mobile operating systems and mobile browsers still fall short for widespread adoption.

To that end, TSSG is already testing the waters, leveraging WebRTC to streamline collaboration across geographically dispersed teams, to facilitate growth and enable the agile development process that leads to new products and services. At the same time, companies like TSSG can extend the capabilities of WebRTC out to subscribers to ease customer acquisition and interactions. Clear support of the application must be in place, however, as mainstream operations are still at arm’s length.

Interestingly enough, many of those experiencing WebRTC, or those who will in the near future, may not realize their audio or video communications are supported through this open source real-time communications project. They will most certainly benefit from the technologies and the ongoing development in communications services. The fact that WebRTC enables seamless communications integrated with Web strategies will be the next step in the communication evolution and enable capabilities we have yet created. 

To that end, the development process for many developers can vary based on their past experience. For instance, the developer who hasn’t dealt with the challenges associated with real-time communications in their applications is likely to view WebRTC as nothing short of difficult. Plus, when SIP parts are reused to enable voice communications in the development of real-time applications, advancements are limited.

In its purest form, WebRTC does have the potential to impact the market in a big way. Said Ponce de leon, “WebRTC has the potential to be a massive game changer if it delivers on the early promises of making Real-Time Communication development accessible to web developers. However, it must first overcome the problems encountered by IMS developers and vendors.”

Current voice communications platforms will be tasked with WebRTC interactions, including SIP and the PSTN. At the same time, companies are embracing opportunities in HTML 5. Changes are likely in the near future, especially if voice and video offer more effective methods for interaction with Web-based services. Ultimately, demand among paying customer will drive the change, but the possibilities seem endless.

Edited by Brooke Neuman


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