& cplSiteName &

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        ADD A COMMENT
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
Cable operators have some key hurdles to overcome if they wish to fill the growing mobility needs of small and large businesses alike.
With more and more businesses seeking mobility solutions, cable operators have the chance to carve out an even larger share of the commercial market.
Cable is going big with data analytics, digging into its big data stores, with the hope of garnering information, simplifying operations and improving services and customer care.
A new Heavy Reading report examines why NFV, SDN and cloud are so important to CSPs, and explores their impact on data center infrastructure.
In this first part of a new sponsored blog series, AT&T's Bill Smith explains how AT&T hopes to complement its GPON-powered GigaPower rollout with additional technologies, such as G.fast.
From The Founder
Download our complete guide to de-risking NFV deployment in 2016, including:
  • An eight-step strategy to deploying NFV safely, based on input from the companies that have already started virtualizing their production networks.
  • Interviews with leading executives at Colt, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Cisco, Nokia, ZTE, Ericsson and Heavy Reading.
  • Flash Poll
    Live Streaming Video
    Prepping for the Future: Upskill U Explained
    During this short kick-off video, Doug Webster, Vice President of Service Provider Marketing, Cisco, and Light Reading’s CEO & Founder Steve Saunders give an overview of Upskill U.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Digital Operation Transformation Roundtable Wrap-Up

    5|6|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Industry leaders at the Digital Operation Transformation Summit give their final thoughts at the roundtable.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Peter Sany on Digital Transformation

    5|6|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Peter Sany gives his view on digital transformation at the DOT Summit in Barcelona.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    James McQuivey on Digital Transformation

    5|6|16   |     |   (0) comments


    James McQuivey gives his view on digital transformation at the DOT Summit in Barcelona.
    LRTV Interviews
    Courting the Apartment Crowd

    5|6|16   |     |   (0) comments


    In this LRTV interview, AT&T's Adrian Cardwell details the changing dynamics of the MDU markets and explains how AT&T is pursuing apartment dwellers with GigaPower.
    LRTV Interviews
    Demand Surges for On-Demand Ads

    5|5|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Ed Knudson, VP, Product and Strategy at Canoe Ventures, discusses the rising appeal of VoD ads and the challenges on inserting ads dynamically in live TV programming.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Exclusive: Video Interview With Sckipio CEO David Baum

    5|5|16   |     |   (0) comments


    At his headquarters in Tel Aviv, G.fast visionary David Baum, CEO of Sckipio, provided an exclusive interview to Light Reading and showed how innovations in rate and reach, vector densities, fast reconnecting times and SFP-based residential gateways are expanding the potential of G.fast.
    Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
    Atrinet's NetACE – Migration to NFV & SDN With NetOps-Driven LSO

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    At Atrinet's headquarters, Ray Le Maistre sits down with Roy Silon to get an in-depth look into the company's focus and the secret recipe for their success.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Amsterdam ArenA, Powered by Huawei

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Huawei's ICT solutions power the state-of-the-art Amsterdam ArenA, turning it into a smart stadium.
    LRTV Interviews
    Testing When There's No 'There' There

    5|4|16   |     |   (1) comment


    The benefits of SDN/NFV are well known, but the transition comes with some challenges, prominent among them is: how do you test a network that has been abstracted and has the potential to be endlessly reconfigurable? Light Reading was at NFV World Congress in Santa Clara, Calif., where we bumped into Mats Nordlund, CEO and co-founder of Netrounds, a Swedish ...
    LRTV Interviews
    Ditching the Slash & the Orchestration Wars

    5|3|16   |     |   (2) comments


    SDN and NFV have been inextricably bound with each other for so long that on a conceptual level, smooshing them together into one catch-all phrase – SDNFV – is now justifiable, according to Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). Light Reading spoke to Pitt at the NFV World Congress, where he explained that the next ...
    LRTV Custom TV
    ZTE TV Connect Highlights

    5|3|16   |     |   (0) comments


    ZTE gives us a tour of its booth and new products at TV Connect in London.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Deluxe's Unified Delivery Solution

    5|3|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and visit the Deluxe booth at NAB! Here you'll find Deluxe's Unified Delivery Solution, OTT video, virtual reality, HDR, 4K and much more!
    Upcoming Live Events
    May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
    May 23, 2016, Austin Convention Center
    May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
    December 6-8, 2016,
    June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Infographics
    A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
    Hot Topics
    Sprint CEO: Our Spectrum Is for 5G
    Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/3/2016
    Upskill U Kicks Off IoT Lectures With Ericsson
    Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Editor, 5/4/2016
    Showdown at the OpenStack Corral
    Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 5/3/2016
    WiCipedia: 'Meternity,' Lemonade & Chores
    Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 5/6/2016
    Nokia's Motley: Confidence Paves Career Paths
    Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 5/2/2016
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
    Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
    Animals with Phones
    Sloth Mail Click Here
    Sloth mail -- somehow even slower than snail mail.
    Live Digital Audio

    Of all the tech companies in the Valley, Intel has made the most aggressive commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. It's doing so by taking concrete, measurable steps, making a large financial investment and through a commitment to complete transparency about its progress. In this radio show, WiC Director Sarah Thomas will be joined by Shlomit Weiss, Intel's Vice President, Data Center Group, and General Manager of Networking Engineering, who will share with us why Intel is tackling this huge challenge, how and to what effect. She will also discuss her unique experiences leading development of Client SOC development in the past and today leading development of all of the chipmaker's silicon hardware for networking IPs and discrete devices and managing a team of 600 engineers across Israel, Europe and the US.