WebRTC World Feature Article

November 11, 2013

Hookflash's Object Real-time Communications API Gives WebRTC New Power

Recently, Hookflash joined in with a group of 20 technology companies and similar “thought leaders” to talk about the concept of the Object Real-time Communications (ORTC) API, and what kind of impact it would have on the wider field. With Hookflash providing a demonstration of said API, as well as introductions, overviews and even some reviews of sample applications, it's clear that Hookflash is set to play a major role in the development of not only ORTC, but also WebRTC beyond that.

One of the greatest issues involved in WebRTC development today is best expressed in terms of what browsers are—and conversely, aren't—allowing WebRTC to run. While most of Google and Mozilla's browser systems are, there are still some fairly substantial holdouts in the form of Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) and Apple's Safari. Microsoft has had some issues with WebRTC in the past, instead working toward its own standard in CU-RTC, but with ORTC, many of Microsoft's concerns may have been addressed. Essentially, Hookflash toolkits are now offering a variety of tools, including voice, video and instant messaging systems, and should Microsoft move to offer ORTC for Internet Explorer, one of the last great holdouts to WebRTC will make an appearance.

Microsoft's stance is best expressed by remarks from Albert Kooiman, the senior product marketing manager for Microsoft Lync. Kooiman said, “The work that Hookflash is doing on the Object Real-time Communications API positions them at the forefront of WebRTC. ORTC is a very appealing approach for developers looking to produce interoperable WebRTC applications quickly, by presenting a simpler and more familiar Javascript Object model that leverages the skills of mainstream web developers, instead of the more complex Offer/Answer approach. To see open source code that enables this is real progress. We believe that ORTC (and the establishment of the W3C ORCA Community Group to evolve it) is a major step forward and we support Hookflash in their efforts.”

This actually represents a pretty important movement in the field of WebRTC as a whole. If Microsoft can get behind ORTC, as seems to be suggested here, the gap between WebRTC and non-WebRTC narrows substantially. Plus, many organizations favor Internet Explorer, so that opens up the field of WebRTC on a much greater level to the business level. Of course, the Android support of WebRTC covered the enterprise user to some degree, but having both Android and IE in on the fun should make for a very sound profile overall.

It will be interesting to see just how many developers come on board with ORTC, but ORTC may ultimately prove to be the final lynchpin in terms of bringing WebRTC to the wider audience. Only time will ultimately tell just how far this goes, but one thing's for sure: WebRTC increasingly looks like it's going to be a large part of the future of communications.

Want to learn more about the latest in WebRTC? Be sure to attend WebRTC Conference & Expo, Nov. 19-21 in Santa Clara, Calif. Stay in touch with everything happening at WebRTC Conference & Expo. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey


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