News Column

Heavy Reading Insider Updates on WebRTC

July 30, 2014

WebRTC - a draft application programming interface standard that supports browser-to-browser applications for voice calling, video chat and peer-to-peer file sharing without plugins - may provide many benefits, it definitely poses some threats to telcos, according to the latest report from Heavy Reading Insider, a subscription research service from Heavy Reading.

In a release, the Company noted that WebRTC: Get Ready for the Next Telecom Revolution provides a current view of the developing WebRTC environment, focusing on the nascent standard's likely impact on telecom network operators.

It offers an overview of the types of applications that are likely to develop using WebRTC technology, along with examples of some early-stage apps now available. The report also identifies and analyzes the primary threats and opportunities that WebRTC poses to telecom carriers and explains the key technology underpinnings of WebRTC and how those underpinnings differ from previous attempts to establish IP-based real-time communications, such as IMS. It also presents an early-draft taxonomy of WebRTC vendors and profiles 11 leading suppliers in the market.

"Perhaps the most powerful thing about WebRTC is that, when implemented in a Web browser, voice and video telephony applications can be developed in JavaScript," said James Crawshaw, contributing analyst with Heavy Reading Insider and author of the report. "Hence WebRTC has the potential to enable armies of developers to create their own real-time communications apps in a way that has not been possible until now.

"The threat is clear: consumers and enterprises could increasingly turn to the Web for their voice and video communications, dispensing with conventional telecom services. However, public switched telephony network bypass is not a new threat to carriers, and in many ways WebRTC is more of a threat to over-the-top players like Skype than it is to telcos."


-WebRTC is a draft API from W3C that supports voice and video in the browser without plug-ins or dedicated software.

-WebRTC should let JavaScript developers create telephony applications for enterprises and consumers.

-WebRTC poses both an opportunity and a threat for telcos - the threat is clear; the opportunity, less so.

-Ubiquitous browser support and debates over video and signaling technology have somewhat stymied WebRTC.

-The pace of development of Web standards far exceeds that of telecom.

-WebRTC looks set to take off, and telecom operators should prepare now.

-Consulting services will be a opportunity initially, as telcos and enterprises try to figure out how to make money from WebRTC.

WebRTC: Get Ready for the Next Telecom Revolution is available as part of an annual single-user subscription (12 issues) to Heavy Reading Insider.

Heavy Reading is the research division of Light Reading.

Light Reading produces events and conferences.

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