The Channel

On Rad's Radar: The WebRTC Craze

By Peter Radizeski, RAD-INFO Inc.  |  September 30, 2014

Right now, WebRTC is trending. It’s the newest buzzword in the telecom space. It is outpacing UCaaS.

It’s interesting because WebRTC is really just five lines of code that enable real-time communications in a web browser via a W3C (News - Alert)-defined application programming interface. It makes conversations more user-friendly by taking away the plug-in. You know, when you want to use web conferencing, and you have to download that file and run it to attend the webinar. It removes that hurdle (the plug-in).

When I was working with Vidtel (News - Alert), I was on quite a few video calls. The novelty of using Chrome or Firefox instead of a specific piece of software like Cisco Jabber or Skype had an appeal.

Now with Wi-Fi and a Chromebook you could make video calls as easily as Facetime is for Apple (News - Alert) users. That is the sizzle. That is why we’re hearing all the buzz.

However, it’s a feature; it’s code. It isn’t going to sell anything. What it does can assist the sale of a solution, but WebRTC by itself is just a software component. Actually, it will be attempting to replace Skype (which rumor has Microsoft killing off); Lync; Cisco Jabber; Google (News - Alert) Hangouts; Facetime; and a bunch of other video chat apps too numerous to mention or remember.

The one advantage to a service provider of WebRTC is that the video chat could be made cross-platform. Google and Apple are much like AOL (News - Alert) in that they keep people in their garden. (Google supports the WebRTC project, but mainly just to sell Chrome browsers into the enterprise space.)

GoToMeeting has already incorporated WebRTC for video chat in its free version. GoToMeeting Free can serve up to three people on video and includes features like desktop sharing, audio controls, meeting scheduling, recording, and phone audio. It can complement premium versions of GoToMeeting or work on its own. 

TelePresence gear has significantly dropped in price. WebRTC components help that happen – and also accelerate the price erosion. In the end, WebRTC enhances user experience, which is how you market products with WebRTC baked in.

Peter Radizeski is head of telecom consulting agency RAD-INFO Inc.

Edited by Maurice Nagle