The 2013 Mobile World Congress (MWC) is in full swing, and it's not at all surprising to see new products and solutions on display. But one particularly important point from a coalition of developers –Mozilla, Ericsson and AT&T – brought out a powerful new Web-based real time communications (WebRTC) solution geared toward bringing together Web and mobile in one package.
Using a combination of AT&T's API Platform, Ericsson's Web Communication Gateway and Mozilla's Social API, the Firefox browser itself and its accompanying WebRTC support, the three companies will show off a product that allows Firefox to sync with a standard phone number, providing calling services without the need for additional plug-ins.
The demonstration further shows how many standard phone functions – SMS and MMS texting, video calls and voice calls among them – can be performed on a standard Web browser via WebRTC.
There are several clear advantages to such a system, the first of which is naturally the cost savings that can be incurred by sending audio traffic – as well as text messaging and even video chatting – over an Internet connection rather than using a standard phone line. But it also improves on a convenience level, allowing consumers to more rapidly shift between their devices, regardless of location.
Development also gets a boost from making development a bit more standard; developing for Firefox allows programmers to issue products for mobile devices, desktop computers and almost everything in between.
The three companies involved in the coalition all have clear reasons to see the rise of WebRTC come to its fullest fruition. Mozilla, naturally, gets to get a leg up in the browser wars – which it was already doing reasonably well in as it stood – but this kind of advantage is the kind of thing that can only help secure its place and help it make inroads with other users.
Ericsson, meanwhile, gets to draw attention to its handsets and its overall communications capabilities, and AT&T, one of the major wireless providers in the United States – not to mention its cable-based services like U-Verse – gets to show off one more way in which its services can be used.
The big winner here? The consumer. More and more ways are surfacing that allow users to communicate with each other, simply, cost-effectively and in a way that even those who aren't up on the latest technologies can get behind with just a little practice.
The example set by AT&T, Ericsson and Mozilla is just one such example, but it's the kind of thing that can't be easily ignored. Once this gets going in earnest, it's likely to change the game.
Edited by Braden Becker