Light Reading
WebRTC is a big opportunity for telcos, but it's a technology that could shape up without them. Heard this story before?

WebRTC & the Rise of the WebCo

Sarah Reedy
2/28/2014
100%
0%

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress -- There's a big opportunity for telecom service providers in WebRTC, but as with many emerging communications services and apps, there's also a big possibility they'll get cut out of the equation.

WebRTC is a free, open source project that turns supported web browsers into telephony engines. Essentially, any business or individual with a website could use the peer-to-peer technology to enable click-to-call, video chat, or multi-party collaboration directly from their site, without the need to download an app or plug in. (See Decoding WebRTC's Promise & Challenges .)

So why should operators care? Well, for one thing, they have the world's largest address book at their fingertips, in addition to their networks. WebRTC gives them a new way to reach their customers and enhance that interaction with multi-party video, quality of service, and a community that's not limited by requiring everyone to be members. (See Genband Builds a Gateway to WebRTC.)

Having an operator involved also means that a business or end user could accept incoming calls. That's a big limitation of WebRTC: As a web tech, its users can only call out.

Yet, while WebRTC would benefit from a cellular network, it could just as easily ride over it. That's why Andrew Goldberg, SVP of marketing and strategy at Dialogic Corp. (Nasdaq: DLGC), thinks WebRTC could turn any WebCo into a telco. He thinks this model would be particularly appealing to a social networking giant such as Facebook or a communications provider such as Twilio Inc. or Viber.

His logic is that people are increasingly known by their identity rather than their phone number. A WebCo could get in on the trend of becoming a data mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and offer the voice calling via WebRTC without a PSTN and a data identity for messaging. Dialogic provides the media server to enable this, and Goldberg said the company is in trials with Tier 1 telcos in the US, but he also sees the standard evolving quickly in the web world too.

"WebRTC empowers anyone to become a WebCo overnight," Goldberg said. "It's a question of, who wants to innovate most quickly?"

I have my doubts about a site such as Facebook becoming a virtual mobile service provider (for many reasons). Those rumors have been brought up and shut down several times over. But, the point is, it could happen. When it comes to innovating quickly, that's a game telcos tend to lose. WebRTC is yet another way for them to be cut out of the equation, and it's yet another technology they shouldn't ignore.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(19)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/4/2014 | 10:52:48 AM
Re: Intervention
@Joe, so are you working on a decorated chest or just fixing a motorcycle? I wonder if it woudl make suggestions for the latter if someone mentions the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/4/2014 | 10:52:47 AM
Re: Intervention
@Joe, so are you working on a decorated chest or just fixing a motorcycle? I wonder if it woudl make suggestions for the latter if someone mentions the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/3/2014 | 6:45:05 PM
Re: Intervention
Re: "But in re to privacy, do you trust Facebook and its use of your data more than your operator?"

 

@Sarah: Marginally.

 

1) Facebook and similar companies are much more sensitive to market pressures, generally more jealous about customer data, and participating in an industry that is very privacy-sensitive.


2) Facebook's advertisements keep suggesting I take classes in woodworking and motorcycle repair -- so even though Facebook has all this information about me, clearly nobody is paying attention to it.  ;)
DialogicMarketing
100%
0%
DialogicMarketing,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/3/2014 | 9:39:08 AM
Re: WebRTC & Webcos
@sarahreedy

I think we need to divide the question into its three components.

VoLTE is all about more efficient network transport for the Carriers.  VoLTE doesn't really result in a better experience for the subscriber and, in its early stages, may result in degradation of service until Carriers work out all the kinks.  Carriers have to go this route in order to preserve spectrum, so it's winning, but primarily as a cost savings rather than a catalyst for ARPU growth.

One could argue that RCS is "winning" because there are a number of commerical deployments but the subscriber demand has been muted.  It certainly enhances the Carrier's services offerings, but lacks the Webco feel and innovation curve.  RCS will remain an important part of the equation because it is standards-based and well understood.

Long-term, we believe that WebRTC will be an absolute winner.  Any application that is "built-in" to billiions of handsets, tablets and PCs via the browser has a decided advantage over a closed architecture or a solution that requires an additional download.  We are seeing a strong response from hundreds of application developers AND many Tier I carriers in a race to develop subscriber-facing video, voice and collaboration services that can be launched in 2014.  The WebRTC spec is still in its early stages so there will be a lot of evolution over the next twelve months but it's clear that the momentum favors this initiative.
mdaley
100%
0%
mdaley,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/3/2014 | 6:28:39 AM
Re: Time to turn the tables
 

Telco's are in a difficult situation, with large existing business areas to guard against and target, sometimes it is difficult to see (or want to see) the longer term evolving picture. Those Telco's with meaningful innovation programs are best positioned to see the opportunity and act upon it. Their initial angle for success in the WebRTC space is to identify the types of applications that are enhanced by and need multiple inbound and outbound channels combined with termination points.

But with pressure on Telco's to re-use network assets, the New WebCo's will look to exploit WebRTC opportunities that a Telco is not able or prepared to address. In cases where the application opportunity or experience is not dependant on any traditional Telco type service, the WebCo is highly likely to be able to develop its apps quickly and cost effectively, placing them within the market. It remains to be seen how quickly they can achieve market attention and grow usage combined with a strong revenue base - but it probably wont be long. Tie ups with or acquisition by Telcos' is not out of the question either in the long term future.

 

SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/3/2014 | 6:25:32 AM
Re: WebRTC & Webcos
Thanks for weighing in, Dialogic! So on the scale of operators moving fast and working on things, which is winning -- WebRTC, VoLTE, or RCS??
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/3/2014 | 6:24:25 AM
Re: Intervention
Interesting thoughts, Joe. I agree in part, but I think there's a lot more that will keep the operators alive and kicking for some time to come -- for one thing, their huge customer bases and revenues. OTT apps haven't even had that much of an affect on SMS revenues yet, in the big picture. 

But in re to privacy, do you trust Facebook and its use of your data more than your operator?
DialogicMarketing
50%
50%
DialogicMarketing,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/2/2014 | 5:20:41 PM
WebRTC & Webcos

Great thoughts, Sarah. Ray, we agree with your sentiments. Too few carriers are really looking at the possibilities of WebRTC to help them gain a bigger Web presence. The technology also can serve as a means to innovate and reduce time to market for new services.  

 

WebRTC is a double-edged sword for telcos. It is giving Facebook and other Web-based communications companies a leg up, yet because most carriers haven't recognized the value in it, they are missing out on low-hanging fruit to become more Web and software savvy. It will be interesting to see how things really shake out with Facebook, Twilio and others, as well as how it affects CSPs like TEF Digital from a competitive standpoint. 

 
smkinoshita
50%
50%
smkinoshita,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/1/2014 | 9:44:44 PM
Re: Time to turn the tables
@Ray:  I think it's just easier to see development as a threat rather than a potential boon.  It's sort of like a lesson in marketing I was taught once -- that any other businesses except for direct competitors aren't threats, they're indifferent but can be potential allies.  

For example, I imagine many people would shudder at the thought of people have any more access to them thorugh Facebook.  Heck, maybe there will be a demand for a mobile network that BLOCKS WebRTC as a privacy option?
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/1/2014 | 3:21:11 PM
Re: Time to turn the tables

Google Hangouts still uses a Google Chat plugin to work. But It's obvious that since Google has been supporting WebRTC for some time that this is the technological direction that they will eventually take.

I had never pondered Facebook getting into this, but I can see where that would lead. I see Facebook more as a communications solution now more than ever. Of course, that may be because I use it for messaging way more than sharing at this point. Twitter, I think, is better in its sharing aspects.

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from Light Reedy
OTT chat app Kik has raised $38.3M in funding and acquired a GIF maker, showing operators there are other ways to monetize chat than ads and fees.
Join us Tuesday at 12:00 p.m. EST for a live chat with TM Forum's Rebecca Sendel and Rob Rich about how operators are approaching big data analytics for the growing Internet of Things.
With help from SevOne, the Canadian operator gained valuable visibility into its network. Now, it's tackling the challenge of internal silos.
After years of sitting on the sidelines, Microsoft has pledged to support WebRTC -- formerly thought of as a Skype competitor -- in Internet Explorer.
Despite the launch of its new Passport smartphone, BlackBerry needs to embrace a future that's in M2M, messaging and enterprise services.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Custom TV
Razorsight Expert's Advice on Real-Time Analytics

11|27|14   |   1:43   |   (0) comments


Razorsight's powerful cloud-based Predictive Analytics solutions are used by the world's leading communications and media brands to drive smarter decisions, enable faster actions and optimize outcomes. Get expert advice.
LRTV Interviews
From 4G to 5G: Alcatel-Lucent's Dave Geary

11|25|14   |   09:09   |   (1) comment


Dave Geary, President of Wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, talks about the evolution of the 4G market, small cells, partnerships, 5G and the IoT.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Secure Telefonica Network With Huawei's High-End Firewall

11|24|14   |   4:37   |   (0) comments


Andrew Davies, IP architect of the Telefonica, a leading digital communications company, discusses the Huawei security gateway solution and putting the solution into the testbed.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partners with Spirent to Verify CE12816's 10GE Port & TRILL Networking Capabilities

11|24|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Spirent Communications is the world's leading supplier for telecom testing appliances and solutions. Spirent has been in a close partnership with Huawei for a long time.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Airlines & Its ICT Transformation

11|24|14   |   2:07   |   (0) comments


In this video, Saudi Airlines discusses its network problems and how Huawei's Agile Network is its all-in-one solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Agile Switch Benefiting Saudi Arabia's Yamamah Hospital

11|24|14   |   2:40   |   (0) comments


Saudi Arabia's Yamamah Hospital speaks about how Huawei's Agile Switch has improved the medical service's network infrastructure.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
FanPlay & Huawei Build a Wireless Agile Smart Stadium

11|24|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


FanPlay is a cloud-based white label service, which is effectively a football fan engagement platform underpinned by mobile payment technology.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building an Agile Stadium

11|24|14   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Stadiums may be thousands of tons of concrete and steel, but they now need to be agile. Being at the stadium may not be as alluring as it once was. Sports franchises and stadium operators discuss how to get fans back.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Helps ChinaCache Tackle Challenges in the Internet Industry

11|24|14   |   3:09   |   (0) comments


ChinaCache is China's largest content distribution network supplier. Huawei's CE12800 has provided ChinaCache with very strong support in its establishment of an infrastructure network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Cefinity on Managed Security Services & Next-Generation Firewall

11|24|14   |   7:05   |   (0) comments


Cefinity is a cloud management service provider in Southeast Asia. Ivan Zhang, CEO of the company, discusses the implementation of security service management in the cloud era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Agile Gateway in the Eyes of Cefinity

11|24|14   |   2:11   |   (0) comments


Cefinity is a managed service provider for enterprise networks. The company currently uses Huawei's AR series routers for the most complete range of functions. CEO Ivan Zhang speaks about the advantages of the AR series routers.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
CTO of Bus-Online Talks About Huawei's Agile Gateway

11|24|14   |   2:53   |   (0) comments


Bus-Online covers around 100 million users everyday. In addition to providing mobile TV, and advertising services to the public, Bus-Online has also entered the field of mobile Internet.
Upcoming Live Events
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 8-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Irish Telecom outlines the rise of VoIP technology, including its adoption within businesses and their perception of its quality.
Hot Topics
Net Neutrality Even Mark Cuban Could Love
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/26/2014
Eurobites: Net Neutrality Battle Looms
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 11/27/2014
Why 5G Is a Different Beast
Robert Clark, 11/26/2014
New Juniper CEO Can Be Thankful for $14.5M
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/25/2014
Amazon Eyes Ad-Supported Video – NY Post
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 11/25/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed