WebRTC faces uphill struggle
The WebRTC initiative, as noted in a recent Infoworld article, faces major challenges due to its incompatibility with browsers and operating systems of leading software companies Apple and Microsoft.
Apple and Microsoft do not intend to include the WebRTC voice and video transfer in their respective browsers, the Internet Explorer or Safari.
While Google, Mozilla and Opera do not renounce an idea of compatibility for WebRTC programming code, their browsers still only partially support it.
The internet is moving toward real-time communications, but development of a common standard for this movement is taking much longer. Software products for communications via the internet using Google voice engine are still limited by certain browsers such as Google Chrome and Firefox, and operating systems like Android.
This makes cross-platform communications impossible for subscribers who account for more than half of today’s worldwide browser market. These are subscribers with Apple who use the Safari browser and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
The reason for this incompatibility is not just a technology issue. With the use of broadband mobile internet access increasing, software giants are eager to seize their market share from carriers and promote their own voice and video over IP (VVoIP) protocols.
Understanding their vulnerable position and taking into account the rising popularity of VoIP and other over-the-top (OTT) services, most carriers do not want to support Microsoft, Google, or Apple VoIP products.
Traditional big players in the telecom market prefer to license VVoIP software products from independent developers like SPIRIT, which support the carrier protocol RCS (Rich Communication Services). RCS provides carriers with a reliable base for standardization and effective competition against OTT phone services.
A telecommunications provider should enable subscribers to make calls irrespectively of operator and type of device at the recipient’s end -- phone, smartphone, tablet PC, notebook or other device -- which is only possible through unified standards.
For example, Indian telecommunications giant Reliance has licensed and is planning to use SPIRIT's engine in its RCS-compatible video softphone for transmitting voice and video calls in its LTE network. Reliance is committed to RCS-compatibility without waiting for the market to fill with mobile devices capable of transferring voice and video over LTE (VoLTE).
There are also a variety of major operators worldwide that are considering this approach as a real opportunity to “tie up” its subscribers using carrier-owned OTT-services. This allows them to enhance their subscriber base by granting access to services to any person, not just to its subscribers.
Andrew Sviridenko is chairman and founder of SPIRIT DSP