Plenty of exciting news descended on the Web-based real-time communications (WebRTC) market this week, and with the coming of the weekend now at hand, it's time to take things a bit slower and run down some of the high points of a big week full of news.
First came a look at the changes that WebRTC represents for communications in the small to medium-sized business (SMB) market. While the field itself was beginning to look somewhat fragmented, between the various offerings like WebRTC, CU-RTC-WEB, Flash and the array of proprietary solutions to come, it was a safe bet that being able to launch a video chat session from a browser is a tempting idea for businesses. That leads to many firms getting into the market, and the resulting array of potential offerings mentioned earlier.
Next came a new look at the idea of cross-browser chat sessions. WebRTC is facilitating a whole new kind of communications capability across several different standards, including between browsers. A recent exhibition showed off the potential for cross-browser chat, allowing Chrome browser users and Firefox browser users to launch video chatting thanks to WebRTC. The applications for such a technology are widely varied, including face-to-face chatting and Web browsing – even shopping – being able to be done in a group online.
Mobile video calling provided our next bit of news, as the projections emerged about its likelihood of overall success. Juniper Research projected that there would be 160 million users of mobile video calling technology by 2017, but monetizing the process was likely to prove difficult. Several models of mobile video calling are emerging. From freemium models to models heavy on third-party advertising, getting actual revenue out of the concept is going to be the biggest challenge for the industry as a whole.
The earlier news about Google and Mozilla's Chrome / Firefox connection yielded more developments, as we took a closer look at how Microsoft was likely to react to the intermingling browsers via WebRTC. Microsoft has already been standing up for its own standard in WebRTC – the so-called CU-RTC API – but seeing Chrome and Firefox use the WebRTC standard that Microsoft has been railing against likely dealt a blow to Microsoft's credibility.
Microsoft has several potential options by way of response, but which will it ultimately choose?
Finally, we looked more in-depth at technologies in the unified communications (UC) front that would bear closer examination of their own over the course of the coming months. Naturally, WebRTC was at the front of the line, but there were plenty of others that looked to make an impact in the market as well. Rich Communications Services (RCS) features looked to make an incremental improvement in the current line of offerings, and the Voice over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) idea was set to shake up mobile calling in a big way.
There's even some room for intermingling among the three major points.
A huge week in WebRTC means plenty of news to look back on, and our global online community is constantly in the hunt for more. That means plenty of reason to come back next week to check out all the very latest in the field, and of course, good reason to come back every weekend for our Week in Review coverage.