Light Reading
WebRTC has the potential to enable armies of developers to create their own real-time communications apps in previously unheard-of ways.

WebRTC: A Double-Edged Sword for Telcos

James Crawshaw
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
James Crawshaw
7/10/2014
50%
50%

WebRTC (Real-Time Communications) is bringing a significant change in the communications landscape that will bridge the web and telephony worlds.

This poses both an opportunity for and a threat to telecom operators. The threat is clear: Consumers and enterprises could turn increasingly to the web for their voice and video communications, dispensing with traditional public switched telephony network (PSTN) services. However, voice-over-IP (VoIP) is not a new threat and, in many ways, WebRTC is more of a threat to existing over-the-top (OTT) players such as Skype than it is to telcos.

By enabling voice and video communication directly in the browser, users will be able to dispense with dedicated applications such as Skype and plugins such as Flash. But perhaps the most powerful thing about WebRTC is that voice and video telephony applications can now be developed in JavaScript, a programming language understood by millions of developers, unlike voice and video networking protocols. Hence, WebRTC has the potential to enable armies of developers to create their own real-time communications apps in a way that has not been hitherto possible with alternative frameworks such as RCS/joyn.

While the opportunity for JavaScript developers is clear, the opportunity for telcos is less obvious. At its most basic, WebRTC enables telcos to easily launch OTT services of their own, cannibalizing their traditional telco competitors in the process. (See WebRTC in the Wild and What WebRTC Means for Telcos.)

But perhaps more creative ways of exploiting WebRTC and tying it into traditional PSTN services can provide differentiation for the telecom operators. Alternatively, we may see a bifurcation of the industry into utility-like companies that supply bandwidth packages and communication service providers that ride on top of the utility infrastructure and manage the customer relationship.

Ubiquitous browser support and debates over video and signaling technology have stymied WebRTC somewhat. Chrome and Firefox are fairly WebRTC-compliant, but IE and Safari are not (yet). This lack of support is due in part to technology debates about video codecs and signaling; in part it is due to the threat WebRTC poses to Microsoft's and Apple's existing communications services (Skype, Lync, FaceTime, iMessenger). The W3C standards process might seem somewhat chaotic compared to the more consensus-driven approach of telecom standards. However, web standards move at a faster pace than telecom, and while that might lead to some interoperability issues along the way, ultimately WebRTC should evolve into a robust technology.

The new Heavy Reading Insider, "WebRTC: Get Ready for the Next Telecom Revolution," examines the emerging WebRTC standard, looks at WebRTC applications for both the consumer and enterprise markets, discusses some of the hot technological debates surrounding the standard, and some of the technical challenges that remain to be solved. The report also profiles 11 tech companies that are addressing the WebRTC opportunity with solutions for both telecom operators and enterprises.

— James Crawshaw, Contributing Analyst, Heavy Reading Insider


WebRTC: Get Ready for the Next Telecom Revolution, a 25-page report, is available as part of an annual subscription (12 monthly issues) to Heavy Reading Insider, priced at $1,995. This report is available for $900. To subscribe, please visit: www.heavyreading.com/insider.

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Infostack
50%
50%
Infostack,
User Rank: Moderator
7/11/2014 | 3:54:43 PM
4Us of Demand
Putting aside the questions around the 4Cs of supply (cost, coverage, capacity, and clarity/QoS), can we rate WebRTC along the 4Us of demand:

-user-interface

-usability

-uibiquity

-universality

Answering these 4 or 8 issues critically will tell us whether network effect occurs and whoever invests in WebRTC can generate ROI.  http://bit.ly/xDbQaR
PaulERainford
50%
50%
PaulERainford,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/10/2014 | 8:58:07 AM
Come again?
Respect due to James for flagrant use of the word 'bifurcation'. Who needs Readers Digest - boost your vocabulary with Light Reading. Something to do with shellfish, right?
More Blogs from Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Enterprises increasingly realize that in order to run their businesses economically they need to fundamentally change ways in which they operate their businesses in the connected IP world.
There's plenty of activity in the emerging G.fast broadband technology sector, but will it come to anything?
Here are some steps that service providers could take to boost the reach, awareness and success of their multiscreen video ventures.
Telecom operators are deploying new technologies in their data center environments to reduce costs and increase revenues.
The cloud debate has moved on to the network capabilities needed to meet customers' demands, with SDN and NFV at the heart of discussions.
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 Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Rick Talbot, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:12   |   (0) comments


At the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Rick Talbot shared his positive feedback about the holistic and open approach that Huawei adopts for SDN and NFV. He also found the open sharing at the event valuable as it features different perspectives from Huawei experts, telecom operators, industry analysts as well as security experts.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With David Snow, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:24   |   (0) comments


David Snow talked about his understanding of Huawei and its SoftCOM strategy at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that Huawei's wide approach combining IT and CT expertise, introducing big data and analytics into solutions and contributing to the OpenStack community particularly resonate with him and make the company stand out in the industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

10|31|14   |   3:13   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro commented on Huawei's data center capabilities and NFV solutions at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that in addition to covering all three key domains of compute, storage and networking, the company also emphasizes the importance of management capabilities and professional services, which are essential in making NFV a reality.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Michael Howard, Co-founder & Principal Analyst, Infonetics Research

10|31|14   |   5:25   |   (0) comments


Michael Howard talked about SDN, NFV, and OpenStack adoption at Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014. Particularly, he pointed out that Virtual Enterprise CPE is the top NFV use case that operators plan to invest in over 2014 and 2015 to deliver new enterprise services through virtualized functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Jerry Caron, Senior Vice President, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   3:11   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Jerry Caron from Current Analysis said that orchestration and management are key to realizing SDN and NFV for global carriers, and the approach that Huawei is taking, with its FusionSphere Cloud OS at the core, is in the right direction to address the challenges.
LRTV Documentaries
Broadband Battles

10|31|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


This year's Broadband World Forum featured a number of show floor battles focused on access gear, components and coffee.
Jonestown
Mobile Backhaul: Going to the Dark Side?

10|30|14   |   2:26   |   (1) comment


Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan shares his view on a dark trend that bubbled up at Light Reading's annual backhaul conference in NYC.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With CEO of SwitchCom

10|30|14   |   4:13   |   (0) comments


SwitchCom, an IT company based in Angola, recommends a variety of Huawei solutions and hardware to their customers in the energy industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy

10|30|14   |   4:08   |   (0) comments


Gosaye Mengistie of Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy discusses the collaboration with Huawei in that country.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Dongfang Electronics Corporation

10|30|14   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Dongfang Electronics Corporation, headquartered in Chengdu, China, is one of China's largest manufacturers of power generators and contractors of power station projects.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Zimbabwe's Customers

10|30|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


Representatives of Zimbabwe's Ministry of Power and Development discuss the energy needs of their country as well as new areas of improvement due to enhanced ICT capabilities.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Colbún Chile

10|30|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


In Chile, an aging energy infrastructure was in dire need of a modern update. Claudio Valenzuela of Colbún discusses how Huawei's ICT solutions continue to provide crucial information to improve the grid and how an in-country engineer is a cricial asset.
Upcoming Live Events
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 30, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Microsoft's Skype Embraces WebRTC on IE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/27/2014
FTC Slaps AT&T With Throttling Lawsuit
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/28/2014
Wheeler Gets Down With OTT
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/29/2014
China's MVNOs Hit the Wall
Robert Clark, 10/27/2014
Let's Not Kill SDN & NFV With Silos
Francois Locoh-Donou, Senior VP, Global Products Group, Ciena, 10/28/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed