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WebRTC - It's a Technology, Not a Solution

By Todd Carothers

Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) has certainly garnered a significant follow through the hype machine of Google and other large vendors. Sometimes I have been misunderstood on my (and CounterPath’s) position on WebRTC.


First let me say: I and CounterPath believe WebRTC has a place within communications and will certainty not a be a fad. In fact there are some examples of companies using WebRTC for certain applications – most seem to be using pieces of the WebRTC technology and/or vision without giving any credit to it (e.g. Amazon’s Mayday service). Then again, why should it, as WebRTC is simply a technology or more correctly a set of APIs drafted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The original intent was to develop browser-based calling applications to other far end browsers – all without a plugin.

The reality is that the industry has taken WebRTC and turned it into a political showdown among some of the largest companies on the planet (but that's a topic for a separate post). Further, the idea of Microsoft and Apple supporting WebRTC is wishful thinking especially given their current directions with Skype and FaceTime/iMessage respectively. Many in the industry say “it will just happen”. However, I am not a fan of relying on hope.

The good news is the world is not dependent on the success or failure of WebRTC. This is similar to most other technologies such as SIP, H.323, SS7, IMS, RCS, etc. WebRTC is simple another way to connect users. More specifically, it’s a way to inject voice and video into a web-based application. Gaming is a great example.

At CounterPath we have embraced WebRTC to enable Bria to interconnect with a WebRTC deployment or direct to a WebRTC endpoint. During the Mobile World Congress event last February, CounterPath demonstrated the integration. Basically we had Bria generate a link to a remote browser to initiate a call. The WebRTC client was done within Chrome via JavaScript. In a way, we turned Bria into a browser to the WebRTC world. We have not set the commercial date for this offering but are mapping the development to commercial demand for WebRTC. Gartner predicts 4-5 years from now for that.

We are able to easily accelerate our dates if our customers have solid WebRTC market requirements. Until then we are focused on delivering to the Operator OTT and Enterprise OTT opportunities that are in motion now.

Todd Carothers

About Todd Carothers

Todd Carothers is the Executive Vice President of Marketing and Products at CounterPath and oversees Product Management and Marketing initiatives. Growing up in Silicon Valley and having witnessed the technical marvels coming out of Xerox PARC (where his dad was a patent attorney) Todd developed a deep passion for the high-tech industry. With a particular interest in Internet and mobile applications, Todd eventually found himself within the massive Telecommunications sector and companies that were on the leading edge of new services that added significant value to operators worldwide.