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March 10, 2014

WebRTC Poised to Change Telecom Landscape

Web browsers are the defining face of the Internet-capable age, and it seems like there is nothing those single pieces of software can't do. Now, with the adoption of the real-time communication project, WebRTC, browsers are challenging the nature of traditional audio and video communication itself and poised to force the hand of telecom providers into adopting its standard.

Google released the open-source WebRTC project in 2011. Major mobile and desktop browsers now officially support the APIs associated with the project, which allows browsers to natively handle audio/video capture, multi-way audio/video calling, and peer-to-peer connections. It effectively handles many of the capabilities that third-party software or telecom industries once took care of. The project is still under heavy development and consideration from the W3C, but it is gaining momentum. And the standard may soon replace video-chat software such as Skype and the need for telecom providers if they don't step into the game.

A recent blog post “WebRTC Meets Telecom,” discusses the idea that both web developers and telecom providers have a stake in the game. The blog suggests that telecoms will want to invest money and develop projects that involve WebRTC because that is where the future of communication is headed. When users can conduct all types of communication through their browsers, they will likely reach out to third-party browser add-ons to make the process easier. Why use two programs to surf the Internet and make a phone call when you can complete both in the browser?

Telecoms will however, need to act quickly before Facebook or some other social networking giants reign in users. As people become more associated with their identities than their phone numbers, social media organizations may increasingly have the upper hand.

Other recent news from companies like Mavenir Systems show they are working with Russian mobile operator MTS with WebRTC services and Dialogic has partnered with cloud-based API host Tropo to enhance its PowerMedia XMS media server. These are likely the first of many partnerships where telecoms seek to improve their own services by investing in web-based technologies. The question remains, though: Are they acting quickly enough?

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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