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WebRTC heats up & what you should be doing

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

faucetThe Kranky Geek WebRTC San Francisco show is days away and if you haven’t registered, please do so, spots are still open but by all accounts – there will be a waiting list shortly. In the midst of preparing for this event, Tsahi and I have unearthed a number of new companies with new ideas about how to use WebRTC. The sad bit, none of them want to talk about what they’re doing (they told me, but you know I can’t tell you). It’s called stealth mode.

On the other end of the spectrum, I popped in to a recent HTML5 development conference here and was surprised at lack of general knowledge by the “geeks at large” about WebRTC. Their questions had me looking like a top tier WebRTC gearhead (which of course, I’m not).

Nonetheless, the movement is on. People are doing things, folks are asking questions and you can see the early drops from the faucet.

We’ve had to live thru a period of boring. All technologies have suffered this. A barrage of sameness with talking head video demos. But you learn by doing. We still have a bit more boring to go, but the HTML5 community is on the case and their gears are turning. But what is indeed NEXT?

I wrote obscurely about the “Internet of Things” and will write more. It’s a great marketing buzz word, it’s the next big thing you know, but what it is lost in the details. Imagine a world where two machines find each other, connect and exchange information using WebRTC technology. Wild ain’t it? Well someone is already¬†working on this.

I also want to introduce perhaps a new term, “Contextual Communications”, it’s been talked about a bit, but get¬†ready to see this amp up as well (marketing hype galore). What is Contextual Communications? For you telco heads, imagine the world’s longest caller line ID! Us WebRTC hacks (notice I did not mention Dean Bubley) have been telling you for years – put your money on the WebRTC data channel. Wild ain’t it? Well someone is working on this already too.

So what should YOU be doing? I’ve sat in far too many meetings with people treating WebRTC as an interesting shiny object, perhaps to sit in their living room as an entertainment piece, thinking they have all the time in the world. But the Internet Bus waits for no one. I can tell you that all the major collaboration players have serious investment now going into not only exploring WebRTC but making it actionable in some small way. Learn by doing. hutt.tt is a somewhat boring “been there done that” video chat application. But it’s owner is Citrix and has an R&D team taking action and a BD team roaming for technology to acquire. Some big boys are showing up here.

It seems silly. For any company to energize on a project, it takes effort. So it reasons that you should save up only for something tangible. But WebRTC and some of the looming trends, is going to require you to re-think a lot of principles you’ve carried so far. The only way for you to learn how to make bread, is to get in elbows deep into the flour.

The handle is turning, the drip will become a splash and the splash a stream so I urge you to stop looking, pick an application and get going.