The three reoccurring themes that we continued to see were RCS, WebRTC and extending the reach of existing systems via a carrier driven over the top solution.
The RCS market already have several major players developing mobile clients. The team had a chance to play with some of the RCS solutions on display. All of the demo clients where functional with respect to IM/Presence/File Transfer, (some more usable than others). One item that was very obvious after using the clients for a short time was the voice and video portions of the client were not up to CounterPath’s quality. Whereas CounterPath has a core competency in VoIP and Video, most of the current RCS vendors do not (e.g. their clients are typically deployed alongside circuit switched voice); this is a significant advantage for CounterPath.
The team also spoke with a number of Service Providers and their message was clear: they are continuing to move forward aggressively with RCS, as an important tool for fighting back against OTT service providers. such as Skype, Apple, Facebook and others. How successful the mobile operators are with RCS remains to be seen, but we expect there will be significant operator investment over the next few years.
Several of the companies we met with had also done some work with WebRTC and had demos on display. Some of which work, while others did not. The majority of companies we talked to saw that WebRTC could add value in particular segments like incoming calls to support centers or adding voice to existing sessions like online gaming. Some customers were hoping to bring in additional revenues via exposing web interfaces that could be leveraged by WebRTC application/services. We are now more convinced than ever that WebRTC will remain a niche for the foreseeable future. While WebRTC stands to benefit major browser vendors by adding more value to their browser offerings, it is clear that downloadable apps provide a richer user experience and that end users are very accustomed to downloading apps. We will continue to monitor this space, and for customers that are pro-WebRTC, we are now able to demonstrate that Bria can interoperate in a WebRTC environment.
The great news is providers are becoming more aware that offering an over the top solution to extend the reach of their services to additional endpoints adds value to retain their existing customers, and fight back against services like Skype and Viber by keeping the traffic on their network.