WebRTC Conference & Expo Santa Clara 2014 Recap

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Katie Smart Vice President, Global Marketing and Communications
Another WebRTC Conference and Expo has come and gone. SightCall unveiled its new look and feel to the WebRTC community while showing the new direction the company is headed. Which, as it happens, ties in nicely with the feeling around the WebRTC world. WebRTC is growing from a novel idea into a fully capable technology that is starting to turn heads. Overall, the discussions moved into different "tracks" which helped highlight the different ways people are discussing the future of WebRTC now that the technology has gained a foothold. There were developer focused tracks to discuss issues and the future of the technology itself and there were business tracks to discuss how WebRTC is being used in the real world and how to deal with business implications of using the technology. tom sheffler speaking webrtc expo 2014 Dr. Thomas Sheffler spoke on Tuesday, leading a panel discussing signaling challenges and solutions for different applications. Signaling is left undefined in WebRTC, presenting a challenge to developers but also opening the door for innovation. He also discussed how WebRTC handles two of the three security issues. WebRTC provides confidentiality and integrity but not authenticity, which becomes an issue that needs to be solved on the signaling layer. One highlight of the panel discussion was near the end of the question and answers. When asked whether XMPP or SIP was the future for signaling most panelists talked about the advantages of each but Dr. Sheffler went a different direction, saying that he feels the future lies with an entirely different solution yet to be created. There was also much discussion around Microsoft's announcement of ORTC which even led to a panel focused around WebRTC's survival with or without Apple and Microsoft. Most panelists agreed that ORTC is a positive step, but the level of excitement varied greatly. Most felt that the future is moving to mobile so Apple's cooperation is important to WebRTC but companies must still approach development as if those two aren't coming to the party. That, of course, brought in a new element that was debated by the panelists. How do you build around Internet Explorer and Safari? In a controlled environment, such as a University or your own call center you can dictate what browser is used but for an online business you can't control what browser a customer uses. Some felt plug-ins were a necessary evil, while others thought that plug-ins are never the right approach. In the end, everyone agreed that if you have a controlled environment, overhauling your system to incorporate modern technology is worth the trouble. webrtc expo conference sightcall 2014 For businesses implementing WebRTC, the major industries still revolved around customer service and call centers, healthcare, eCommerce and finance, although other uses were on display. Enterprise collaboration companies, mostly around unified communications, still had a presence, but much of the conversations SightCall had were looking to the future of collaboration with WebRTC. What were your impressions of the Santa Clara WebRTC Conference and Expo? What challenges await WebRTC in 2015? Let us know in the comments! If you weren't able to attend the session on Signaling for Different Applications, featuring our own Tom Sheffler, you can flip through the presentation deck here:
WebRTC Expo - Signaling Workshop2014nov from Tom Sheffler
After the conference finished the WebRTC energy moved north to San Francisco where Tom gave another presentation. This time it was for the San Francisco WebRTC Meetup group, focused on introducing SightCall and the technology that powers the company. You can view that presentation here:
WebRTC Meetup - SightCall Introduction from Tom Sheffler
If you're more of a 140-characters-at-a-time type reader, we have you covered. Here are the SightCall Tweet highlights from the 2014 Santa Clara WebRTC Expo and Conference: Kurento won a few awards for its demo on facial recognition in real-time video: