WebRTC World Feature Article

April 29, 2014

WebRTC, Browser Support and Industry Adoption: Q&A with Doug Pelton, CEO of Priologic Software

Priologic Software is taking its roots in enterprise software and meeting today’s shifts in demands and technology with a host of WebRTC solutions. WebRTC, a HTML5 technology that enables peer-to-peer, browser-based real-time communications, has been quickly growing over the last few years, undergoing standards development and implementations across industries.

We recently caught up with Doug Pelton, CEO of Priologic Software, who discussed the company’s products using WebRTC, the transformation of industry adoption and his views on hot topics, such as browser support, video codecs and vertical impact.

First, some background. Priologic offers three products using WebRTC:

  • EasyRTC: Open-source framework for building highly secure enterprise WebRTC applications.
  • Tawk.com: Browser-based video chat service that emphasizes security.
  • PrioPhone: WebRTC-enabled softphone that works with the Oracle WebRTC Controller and is targeted at large enterprises.

The company showcased PrioPhone at the WebRTC Conference & Expo in Santa Clara last year, demonstrating its ability to integrate with enterprise directory systems and traditional phone systems. The company has also received awards for its WebRTC solutions, EasyRTC and Tawk.com, including the award for “Easiest to Apply.”

As the WebRTC working group considers video codecs, browser support and other industry hurdles, the technology has become more advanced each year.

“For WebRTC to be useful there are a bunch of missing pieces that are needed. Each of those missing pieces is a huge opportunity. We think WebRTC will change the world a lot over the next five years,” Pelton said.

Even though Google is one of the forerunners in the WebRTC space, leading the standards development with support in Chrome and other applications like Google Hangouts and Helpouts, Google is not dominating the WebRTC space. Pelton echoes this, saying Google Hangouts will be important, but Google will not win all of the WebRTC business. He also said the team at Priologic tried Google’s speech recognition using WebRTC, but it didn’t perform well enough to use unless you spoke like a robot.

Other big names in WebRTC are Microsoft and Apple – but not because of their support for the real-time communications technology. Despite Safari’s and IE’s lack of support and involvement for WebRTC, developers and companies are easily finding workarounds to enable WebRTC in those browsers. Pelton explained that Chrome will still work on Mac OSX, so Priologic is not too worried about Safari, and the company is working on an IE plugin that enables WebRTC or the EasyRTC JavaScript API.

“We think Web browsers are too restrictive for some applications. We have a working EasyRTC ActiveX control and we’ll likely have something for native MacOSX apps soon,” he said.

Similar to browser support, Priologic is kind of codec-agnostic, trying to support both video codecs (VP8 and H.264) where possible.

WebRTC also offers more potential beyond video and audio communication. The WebRTC data channel enables capabilities like file sharing, gaming and other means of data transfer.

“We use the data channel to support file sharing and instant messaging.  We also have some experimental WebRTC based CDN in our lab. And we’re keen to use the data channel to control machines sometime soon. We think data channel has great potential,” Pelton said.

Industries like finance, contact centers, healthcare and education are all sectors that WebRTC will impact, Pelton said. “There are lots of opportunities to embrace verticals now that the underpinnings of WebRTC are strong,” he said. “Last year corporations were talking about doing proof-of-concept jobs.  This year they are doing proof-of-concept jobs.”

That transformation of WebRTC implementations is also apparent in the questions from customers. While previously many potential customers were asking companies what WebRTC is, that question is coming less often to Priologic. “They’ve heard of it, and may just need a bit more technical information this year,” Pelton said.

In a developing community like WebRTC, events take place to gather developers and industry pioneers. These events, Pelton says, are “invaluable. We’ve really got to know the players in the industry by attending these conferences. It is still a very intimate conference. You can almost talk to everyone.”

Pelton will be attending the WebRTC Conference & Expo this June in Atlanta, where he expects to hear discussions on Apple and Microsoft, native apps, mobile apps and data channel use cases.

At the event, Priologic will be showing lots of native mobile apps, hopefully its new IE plugin, and new features Tawk.com and the PrioPhone products. The company will also be speaking about its EasyRTC open-source platform, and its entire WebRTC engineering team will be there. Priologic is also hosting its third EasyRTC Pizza, Wings and Beer learning event.

“We have made a huge investment in WebRTC tooling and we feel this is the premier show in the space. We’ve attended three shows so far and have won three awards. We’re trying for four,” he said.

“Attendees who are developers, enterprises or service providers such as telcos or cable companies should consider leveraging our open source EasyRTC or our other licensed WebRTC products in their projects.  We can help them get them to market faster and reduce many of the risks in their projects. We are one of the few vendors that provide a full-stack solution that can be housed in the cloud or on-premises,” he said.

Pelton will be speaking in a session, “Native Apps versus WebRTC - Options and Performance” on June 18 in Atlanta, where he will discuss mobile devices and WebRTC, key considerations such as battery life, design and performance, and the difference opportunities with native OS-based apps. Hope to see you there!

Edited by Maurice Nagle


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