We’ve also written a lot about Joyn and RCS. But what about the two together?
It might be easy to see the two technologies as competitors – one open source and the other a developing telecom standard. But this would be short sighted, for comparing WebRTC and RCS head on is like comparing apples to oranges, not apples to apples.
Instead, the right answer for operators is not to choose between the two technologies – they must be viewed as complements.
To recap, WebRTC is a technology that enables web browsers to use a device’s camera and microphone to allow voice and video calls without the use of plugins. One of its main advantages is that it has lowered the barriers for smaller startups and developers to build real-time voice and video calling solutions, and, according to Disruptive Analysis, the one-billion-WebRTC-devices mark was reached earlier this year.
WebRTC is also currently the only existing soon-to-be standardized technology on the market to create horizontal cross-platform communication services, encompassing smartphones, tablets, PCs, laptops and TVs, which adds value for both consumers and enterprises.
WebRTC gives operators the opportunity to offer telephony services to more devices, such as PCs, tablets and TVs. By combining existing IMS technologies, operators will be able to provide, for example, one-number services. WebRTC is not going to lead to increased revenues and profits on its own, but taking communications to the web can prevent revenues from plummeting and open up new and intriguing enterprise opportunities, particularly for consumer-facing companies initially but with far reaching implications in the future. There is also a great marketing value in WebRTC, showing that operators can stay relevant and encourage innovation.
One important characteristic of WebRTC, however, is its lack of a standardized signaling layer, and it’s up to each service provider to decide how this is handled. We discussed this in a post over the summer, and it remains crucial to locate a person and make a call.
This is where IMS and RCS come in. With RCS, operators can offer a wide range of services, including – on top of voice and video – chat, presence, address book, video share, image share and file transfer. It builds on the standards of the telecom industry with the connected quality and reliability.
So how could an operator use WebRTC and RCS together? A good example could be to expand the range of devices – such as PCs and tablets – that RCS could support. An operator could do this by using the WebRTC media framework, IMS for find and connect, with the RCS services on top to give added value.
To give you a sense of the possibilities, earlier this year, analyst Doug Mohney wrote two posts at
WebRTC world that discussed how RCS and WebRTC could effectively put most current OTT players out of business. From his first post:
This is only one possible scenario and RCS is one example of many, in which WebRTC is a potential complement for telcos and not disruptive. If operators think creatively and are open to new technology and business models, we see many more ways to make the most of telecom and web technologies - working together, not separately.The bigger picture here is that OTT players are going to find themselves displaced by a combination of carrier supported and promoted services in RCS -- because at the end of the day, carriers want to have a large number of customer relationships -- and WebRTC providing a one-stop shop for developing third-party apps that can tie into third-party services in ways we can't yet imagine.
By Christer Boberg for The Voice on Telecom