The industry gathered and debated the latest advancements in WebRTC at the WebRTC World Conference & Expo in Atlanta last week. Weemo participated throughout the conference in various sessions and demonstrations and the following is a recap of the event:
Day 1: Implementation Challenges & Mobile WebRTC
The conference opened with an interesting panel session on the Big Issues Deploying WebRTC Successfully. A key topic of interest to many implementing WebRTC are the challenges faced when routing calls through the public phone system. The panelists seemed to agree that on average an implementer can expect over 15% of all WebRTC calls to be dropped by the PSTN. This is forcing many implementers to have to take on unanticipated infrastructure challenges which require unified communications expertise and drive up the cost of implementation.
An interesting poll conducted by the moderator revealed that SIP was the preferred protocol for over 80% of those in attendance. The panelists also briefly discussed the US government’s line intercept requirements. The consensus was that all WebRTC vendors should consult with their attorney’s on this topic.
This session was followed by one of the more popular sessions of the event: Delivering Great WebRTC on Mobile Devices. Weemo’s own Tom Sheffler delivered half the session, which was standing room only. It was very clear from the attendance that mobile is a key requirement in most WebRTC implementations. However, it was clear from the questions after the session that there is a lot of confusion regarding mobile devices and WebRTC technologies. On iOS, there is no browser support and no WebView support. The only option on iOS is to use a WebRTC-compatible SDK. On Android, the situation is different. One does have the option of using Chrome, Firefox or Opera but a browser-experience on a mobile device has certain limitations, especially regarding its behavior in background mode. On Android as well, the use of a mobile SDK is often preferable.
Day 2: Google, Unified Communications (UC) and the future of Healthcare
The second day opened up with a Keynote presentation by Google’s Serge Lachapelle. Google continues to strongly endorse WebRTC and gave an update on the evolution of the standard. For an initiative started by Google they had very little presence at the event other than this Keynote presentation.
After the Keynote, Paul Yantus, our VP of Marketing, participating on a panel addressing the question: Will WebRTC Replace Integration of UC into Business Applications? Paul was joined on the panel by Avaya and Vidyo. The session was very well attended and many questions were directed to the panel.
Paul offered up some provocative commentary in his opening remarks about how the movement of many companies to the Cloud is causing a redistribution of the UC stack. Companies are often getting VoIP, Email, and Fax from different companies as they move to the Cloud. Video is likely to be no different and we are already seeing companies seeking out vendors who specialize in WebRTC. Avaya did not dispute that this is occurring and is disruptive to the status quo.
Paul also commented on how WebRTC threatens Microsoft in an area where they are vulnerable; video integration. Paul went on to say that neither Skype nor Lync are easy to integrate into a business application.
This session was followed by a panel on Healthcare in which Soufiane Houri, Weemo’s VP of Product participated. The panel featured a demonstration given by Soufiane using WebRTC and a Revolve Robotics product assist doctors in gathering information on a remote patient. Marek Zwiefka-Sibley of Requestec commented that the Demonstration reminded him of the “junior doctors” carrying iPads through hospitals today. This demonstration was followed by a very interesting conversation about the potential of wearables to gather additional information such as pulse and blood pressure.
The day was closed with WebRTC World’s Demos & Reception in which each sponsoring company was given an opportunity to give a 10 minute presentation and demonstrate something unique utilizing WebRTC. After countless video calls and block diagrams were presented Weemo’s sales and marketing team lightened things up with a live coding session followed by some slides having fun with the infrastructure challenges that have dominated much of the conversation at the Expo.
Day 3: Mobile, Microsoft, and more QOS Discussions
The last day of the conference opened with Peer-to-Peer networking sessions. Once again our own Tom Sheffler was one of the most sought out people in the room. This is both a testament to the interest in mobile applications and Tom’s knowledge of WebRTC development. Weemo also demonstrated mobile applications for both Zimbra and healthcare at its exhibit booth throughout the day.
Mid-morning brought a Keynote from Microsoft. Although Microsoft offers up no specific answers to WebRTC support in Internet Explorer, they did discuss their support of ORTC. They stated that they see ORTC as the future of WebRTC. The Skype team also attended the event and mentioned they are thinking about developing an API to make Skype easier to integrate.
Conversation and presentations during the afternoon of day three continued to be dominated by the Quality of Service (QOS) and Mobile themes of the previous two days.
The WebRTC Conference & Expo never disappoints and we’d like to thank everyone who came out and the beautiful city of Atlanta for hosting such an innovative event!