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WebRTC rocks!

#WebRTC is a phrase that’s been trending for some time now and the interest level isn’t going to quieten down anytime soon; that’s a fact. In terms of its potential, it’s as if a wave of rock ‘n’ roll is about to hit the telecom industry.

Roll over Cumbersome, WebRTC is going to rock your foundation!

You say you want a revolution

Some commentators might be forgiven for their bold claims of a revolution – claims that WebRTC poses a serious threat to traditional phones and PBXs (not forgetting that now includes SIP phones), and even the business models of many telcos / service providers. It’s never easy to stay calm amidst the hype.
There’s no doubt that WebRTC is attracting considerable attention and that it is indeed a significant disruptive technology. However, to suggest that it is going to sound the death knell for the major telcos of the world, and even ‘over-the-top’ players such as Skype, is wide of the mark. Yes, it is challenging to the role of existing industry players, because it will change the ways in which we communicate, but far from withdrawing into their shell, there is evidence that industry players are embracing WebRTC.

Why WebRTC is different

If you’re sceptical, you might be thinking, “Yeah, we’ve heard all this before, with VoIP and Asterisk, and Skype, etc. What’s so different about WebRTC?”
It’s a compelling technology trend that is disruptive of the notion of how subscribers and enterprises communicate. With WebRTC, the promise is that they will be able to communicate using any browser capable, connected device – from PCs to laptops and smartphones to tablets.
In essence, WebRTC is a means of enabling audio and video communication from within the browser. Browsers with native WebRTC support will be able to connect with each other, enabling users to initiate voice and video sessions, and even to exchange files and share screens. Furthermore, users will be able to establish multi-party sessions i.e., conferencing.

The promise is real

The WebRTC initiative ( https://sites.google.com/site/webrtc/ ) is an open project supported by Google, Mozilla and Opera. Already, many browsers natively enable WebRTC’s real-time communications (RTC) capabilities via simple Javascript APIs and HTML5. Anyone using Chrome or Firefox has that RTC capability right now, today. 

Judging by the usage share of web browsers (Note 1), approaching 40 percent of the world’s website visitors already have the potential to be a WebRTC end point. That’s a lot of potential and, for straightforward, person-to-person communications, those users really don’t need any special network or equipment.

The challenge to telecoms

The idea that there’s no need for a separate communication solution if you can simply use the browser, is what’s fuelling the notion that WebRTC spells trouble for service providers and others in the telecoms space.

However, in practice, it’s not quite as simple as that, because in the majority of use cases, there will be a need for media processing and interconnectivity, with associated software applications and signalling gateways. Cue the opportunities for providers of telephony resources!

That’s why, at Aculab, we have been actively working on integrating WebRTC.

Stay tuned and be sure to look out for our next post, in which you will be able to find out more about WebRTC and how it will be embraced by the telecoms industry.
In the meantime, you can take a look at our WebRTC demo, which is integrated with Aculab Cloud. Check it out here: https://cloud.aculab.com/documents/webrtcdemo.html

Note 1: According to NetMarketShare.com, Firefox and Chrome have a combined desktop usage share of 36.37 percent as of May, 2013.