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WebRTC – the show is over folks

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

davemichelsFellow tweeter, Dave Michels (@DaveMichels) posted that the hype surrounding WebRTC has peaked. Indeed, Google has shrugged their shoulders, said they’ve done all that needs to be done and moved on down the road. The entirety of the voice/video industry, vendor hype, standards debates and declarations of  being a “market leader” suddenly muted.

shoppingThink back. Years ago, when Jeff Pulver capitalized on VoIP with his infamous VON show, there was no way you could build even a simple voice app by yourself. You needed to buy stuff.  Stuff from pesky vendors. You couldn’t build a softphone by yourself, that was nearly impossible involving black magic and uninvented science. You needed some type of softswitch to “switch” things and numerous vendors leapt in your face if you had $5 in your pocket. Of course you needed a security SBC box as well, least the evil empire discover an open door. Finally, you’d better have been compliant with a long list of numb titled RFC-xxxx least none of the items in your shopping cart would work at all.

The VoIP circus dragged along for years and events became family reunions. Uncle Harry is not doing so well, you heard he’s not RFC-3261 compliant, he may not make it. Oh dear. But for all the noise, there was scant innovation, little creativity and nothing that changed the game.

So sing the praises to Google for stopping this madness. This didn’t need to be so hard, yet some small group decided it should be hard and we simply accepted it. The introduction of WebRTC has sealed the door, voice & video just isn’t that hard. You have a browser, you have a Notepad application. You’re ready to write your first WebRTC application.

Now the real work begins, the real challenge, rethinking about how we communicate. We drown in often too much and nearly as often too little information. The majority of the daily tools we all use have been with us for 10+ years. It’s ineffective and inefficient.  There is and should be a higher level of this game. With the complexity of communications irradiated, we can focus on the “what” and forget about the “how” element.

The early WebRTC applications have simply shown that the technology works and we’ve reached that base camp. But it’s time to pack up and indeed move to the next higher camp, it will be tough going, some of of us won’t make it, some new strange types will join the trek. The whirlpools of innovation are swirling with things like Peerjs, Perch, Siemens’ Project Ansible, Citrix’s Project Zeus and numerous new types of collaboration systems. All vying in this new game of redefined communications.