Real Time Communications Featured Article

Around the World with Real Time Communications

December 05, 2014

Real Time Communication (RTC) is making its mark around the globe, with projects taking place not only in the U.S. but Europe, Africa, and South America.

Wire, a "modern communications network," is the biggest news this week in RTC.  Based in Switzerland and staffed and funded by Skype alumni, Wire is being positioned as the new Skype.  The new WebRTC-compatible software client offers a modern design refresh, speedy text chatting,  group  conversations, voice, and the ability to easily share photos, music, and videos.  The client is currently available for Apple iOS and OSX and Google Android, with more generic browser support in the pipeline.

However, Wire is a little late to the WebRTC game.  Earlier this year, Ericsson released its Browser browser and OpenWebRTC framework. Bowser is natively supported on Apple iOS, the only current native WebRTC-capable browser available for Apple mobile devices.   

No discussion of RTC in Europe is complete without the trio of TT&D: Telenor, Tokbox, and Dean Bubley.  Telenor Digital created the free WebRTC video conferencing service in roughly 6 weeks of development work.   Tokbox retains its identity after being purchased by Telefonica while still continuing the growth of its widely used OpenTok WebRTC cloud platform. 

Love him or hate him -- sometimes both at once --UK-based Dean Bubley is a tireless advocate of all things WebRTC.  The Disruptive Analysis "WebRTC Market Status & Forecasts: 2014 Edition" report is 190 pages of detailed research and modeling of RTC use cases, business cases and statistics on the rapidly growing space.

Africa has great growth potential, with long-term IT and communications investments coming from Huawei, IBM, Microsoft, and Orange.  WebRTC is becoming rapidly adopted among contact centers, education and job recruitment industries in the area. Hosted call center firm 1Stream has deployed its WebRTC technology for use in South Africa

With mobile services the main form of communication in Africa and expected to grow considerably over the five years,  RTC will play a key role in expanding economic development.  It doesn't hurt that both Facebook and Google are funding numerous projects to deliver broadband and promote uptake of services for the "next billion."  Telemedicine can play a key role in the fight against Ebola and other health issues, with WebRTC the perfect technology fit.

Brazil is the hub of telecommunications infrastructure investments in South America, driven by the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games and steady growth in offshore oil production.  Rio de Janerio's stadiums are receiving massive wireless infrastructure upgrades to support the millions of fans expected to attend Olympic events around the city.   Cellular phones will be doing everything from tweets and selfies to RTC-driven replays of races, goals and penalty kicks during the games.

Asia is starting to heat up, but not as fast as the rest of the world.  Singapore-based Temasys rolled out its WebRTC service over the summer, followed by releasing plug-in support for Microsoft Internet Explorer and Apple Safari browsers in October and its Skylink WebRTC development platform in November.  NTT  rolled out its SkyWay WebRTC platform in the spring, providing demonstrations of an HTML "Jumbotron" for live events, a secure private video and voice chat service, and a "caption phone" with speech recognition in real time.  Using speech recognition in combination with WebRTC is a "SmartVoice" style application that goes beyond simply using voice and video, one that shows NTT is breaking ground away from the rest of the pack by adding value to basic WebRTC services.

Next year should  be huge for WebRTC around the world,  given Microsoft is now strongly behind the technology and Cisco demonstrated a WebRTC communications service.  Expect at least one service to emerge out of China and Apple to join the party in 2015.

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