Light Reading

SK Telecom Sounds Off on WebRTC

Sarah Thomas
5/9/2014
50%
50%

When it comes to voice services, SK Telecom tends to be years ahead of the pack.

It was the first to launch voice over LTE (VoLTE). It was one of the few operators that built a successful Rich Communications Services (RCS) implementation, signing up more than 1 million customers in just 50 days. And now it's experimenting with WebRTC, or Real Time Communications, the open-source technology that can turn any supported browser into a rich communications engine. (See South Korea Hears First 4G Voice Service and SK Telecom Boasts 1M joyn.T RCS Users.)

Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) earns the distinction of being the first operator to launch a consumer-facing app over WebRTC, in the form of a chat room. But SK Telecom is testing the technology in its labs, preparing to improve its IMS-based technological infrastructure, and working with developers to build related services. (See NTT Opens a WebRTC Chat Room and WebRTC & the Rise of the WebCo.)

Light Reading caught up with Choi Jin-ho, manager of SK Telecom's ICT R&D division, to chat more about how SK Telecom is using WebRTC and where it sees the challenges and opportunities. Here's what he had to say.

On the hype around WebRTC: At present, I would like to focus more on implications WebRTC has. It represents a paradigm shift. The hype around its potential may be overblown or it may even fail to "cross the chasm" in the end. One certain thing, however, is that new versions of WebRTC will keep coming out anyway, and SK Telecom is also making preparations for it.

On the value of telcos in WebRTC: Telcos have long proven strong in RTC. Though many OTT companies have expanded their services in the area, telcos are still unrivaled for their technological prowess that has been accumulated and internalized through development and operation over an extended amount of time. One could see this by looking at the heated response from external developers when we disclosed part of WebRTC that we were internally developing.

On SK Telecom's WebRTC play: For our part, we just uploaded WebRTC on the already-existing IMS infrastructure, but developers showed more interest and excitement than we expected. Of course, we still have to stay focused to create a development-favorable environment, so that developers can easily access and develop diverse services.

On SK Telecom's WebRTC roadmap: Though WebRTC is browser-based technology, its compatibility with browsers is still limited. Considering that the market is not mature yet, we are internally reviewing proper ways to address this limitation.

On the lack of support from Apple and Microsoft: If they do not support it, we will face numerous difficulties as of now. However, related services don't have to be limited to desktop and mobile browser. Diverse IoT devices installed with web browser will come to the market soon. The real value of WebRTC may be proven in completely new areas, such as IoT or wearable devices, that are not as heavily affected by Apple or Microsoft as the mobile area.

On achieving global interoperability: It is still up to whether companies like Microsoft and Apple would support it or not. Compatibility with video codecs is also a challenge that has to be solved. We believe other possible issues than this can be resolved, either in the market itself or in the communities of developers.

On co-existing with RCS and OTT: WebRTC will become a steppingstone to enable development of far more OTT and RCS services. At the same time, existing services, as well, can be upgraded with WebRTC.

On the WebRTC opportunity: It would not be productive to use well-established infrastructure of mobile carriers only for voice calling, text messages, and video calling. The robust infrastructure developed through service experiences will surely play a critical role in creating innovative services through technologies like WebRTC. This is believed to be the biggest competitiveness of telecommunications companies.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
5/15/2014 | 4:57:43 PM
First movers
Dean Bubley reminded me that NTT is not actually the first operator to launch a consumer-facing WebRTC service. Telenor and Telefonica also have them. More on that coming soon...
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
5/9/2014 | 1:32:29 PM
More to come
SK Telecom is always interesting to hear from as they are usually so far ahead of the competition. It sounds like webRTC is on the cusp for them. I bet we'll see a lot more apps forthcoming. I imagine most will be more enterprise focused than consumer too.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
Between the CEOs
Affirmed Networks CEO: Digging Into NFV

5|28|15   |   40:26   |   (2) comments


Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyeing SDN for Headend, Home Uses

5|26|15   |   05:57   |   (1) comment


CableLabs is looking at virtualizing CMTS and CCAP devices in the headend, as well as in-home devices, says CableLabs' Karthik Sundaresan.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Procera has gathered facts, stats and customer experience feedback from a survey of 540 users from across the globe.
Hot Topics
10 Alternate Uses for Tablets
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/22/2015
Bidding War for TWC Looks Likelier
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/22/2015
Charter Seals Deals for TWC, Bright House
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/26/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent Trials 400G in Czech Republic
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/26/2015
Potholes Lurk in Indian Smart City Project
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 5/22/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
On May 29th 10 AM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM for NFV at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!
Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
Cats with Phones