WebRTC's roadmap (Photo credit: Tsahi Levent-Levi)
So WebRTC World opened yesterday and it was a developer's dream event. The day brought back memories of the old days, when TMC and others organized developer conferences, and where new companies showed off their dreams, established companies told us how they were going to change, and how the outsiders figured out to how to make money.
Phil Endholm's opening talk was on point, and Dean Bubley made sure to help set the stage for where the market is heading. As usual, and like any sharp analyst, Dean brought shape, form and structure towards an emerging market.
What I walked away with most of all is the feeling that as a community there's an aire about things that WebRTC is first and foremost going to kill the softphone business hands down. What we're seeing in the browser today, even rough and still to be made pretty, combined what's being put into the cloud, and in the networks says to me, that softphones as apps on PC's are done. They're cooked. Stewed. Over. Put a fork in them. If you're in the softphone business, focus on iOS and Androids while shifting your efforts to WebRTC, and be ready when the standards hit in a year or so.
I say this because for the most part softphones are not easy to work with, set up or manage unless you're an IT guy. My staff, which is very tech savvy, hates them. Skype, is simple, the rest are not. Next is the WebRTC browser and already there we're seeing just how simple it is to use. But to be ready for prime time we need to see Google and Firefox get rid of the stupid ALLOW/DENY setting once someone is happy using a service. More importantly, the services all need to do a better job with identity and management of multiple accounts.
Even UberConference, which I totally love to use, has issues with multiple identities and accounts, and that needs to change. Just like GrandCentral gave you one number to ring many, UberConference and others need to give you one single sign on and manage many different identities, all in one place. That way, a customer with multiple accounts can manage their online communications life in one place.
Single sign on, multiple accounts. That is something that the CounterPath Bria softclient does today, but no one is doing that yet (that I have seen) in WebRTC. Right now, it's all one username, one account, one browser window. Sorry, but I I for one don't want multiple windows with multiple accounts on the same service to be running.
Next is the infrastructure, the cloud and the networks. Can you say PANCAKED. WebRTC will lead to a flattening of the infrastructure, where technology from the NEPS converge into the cloud. It's one thing to sell a media server to be put in a data closet or data center, but what's going to change will be more along the lines of getting it all the backend and in the middle services in one place, or managing the different pieces and parts in one combined storage and compute cloud environment. That is exactly where Intel and Dell backed Joyent is heading in a parallel way with Manta, similar to what client Sansay is doing already, and what Oracle is likely up to with their cloud and recent Acme Packet acquisition along with Tekelec.
Lastly my favorite discoveries at day one came from the DEMO like event. Pubnub and Tawk showed great examples of what is going on. Pubnub is about datafeeds, data sockets and multicasting to WebRTC and more and had Ondello showing off at their booth how it can be best used, effortlessly. Tawk was a plain dead simple approach to group video conferencing in the browser. Temasys, though clearly plagued by a technical issue, is onto something with their efforts, showing a multi-location, satellite uplink and downlink that looked awesome, while Teledini showed some really good mashup imagination at work.
Now--off to the show...