Aiming to enable the Web with real-time communications (RTC) capabilities, open-source WebRTC is rapidly gaining support as W3C consortium races to standardize the APIs. Meanwhile, Google and Mozilla have solved the interoperability problem, enabling WebRTC users on both Firefox and Chrome browsers to engage in video and audio chats by simply using the power of the Web instead of depending on third-party plug-ins.
With the ability to add voice and video into websites and apps, market research firm Disruptive Analysis sees rapid growth for the WebRTC technology. Despite slow adoption by Microsoft and Apple, the market watcher is optimistic about its progress. A new report generated by the market research firm indicates that there will be some three billion WebRTC-capable devices and one billion individual users by the end of 2016.
Initially, the report shows that the growth will come from PCs, where it will see 50 percent penetration by the end of 2013. Similarly, the smartphones and tablets market for WebRTC will begin to ramp in the second half of 2014, says Disruptive Analysis.
The report suggests that the true scale and impact of WebRTC is underestimated because there is a lot of hype around the technology, which is more “general buzz” rather than a forensic analysis of the potential implications on a sector-by-sector basis.
According to Disruptive Analysis, over the years, a number of new features have appeared in our Web browsers – streaming video, scrolling timelines, auto-completing forms, in-page IM chat and so on. It will extend beyond standalone “calls” that are typical of today’s VoIP services and telephony.
Although the technology still faces some formidable challenges in terms of improvement and standardization, there are many signs that suggest it is close to becoming an inevitable winner, states the report. While there are no obvious deal-breakers on the horizon, the study indicates that Apple and Microsoft are unlikely to be long-term obstacles.
The breadth of companies supporting WebRTC includes Google, Ericsson, Cisco, Telefonica and AT&T, which span both traditional telecoms, enterprise communications and the Web.
The report indicates that imaginative prototypes, demos and early commercial offers are appearing, even before the standards are finalized. Plus, issues are being resolved in weeks or months, not years. Unlike most telecom-only solutions, developer interest seems to be accelerating, fed by Google’s evangelism and WebRTC’s appearance on the list of cool new additions to HTML5, asserts the analyst.
A report by Webrtcworld contributor Robbie Pleasant suggests that WebRTC has begun to change the telecom landscape. Firefox and Chrome revealed versions that address interoperability without any external plug-ins. Pleasant reported that efforts are in progress to extend the reach of WebRTC from PCs to smartphones and tablets, including automotive.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey