Digium's View Of The World: Get Ready For WebRTC

Read any blog or industry media outlet these days and you’ll see a lot of excitement logo webrtcaround WebRTC, the open source project that has everyone talking.

Count Digium, the developers of Asterisk, among the excited.

Through simple Javascript APIs and HTML5, WebRTC enables high quality browser based applications for voice calling, video chat and P2P file sharing without any plug-ins or downloads. It emerged last year as an intriguing new possibility in the industry, and is gaining momentum – Google and Mozilla just announced that they have achieved interoperability between their browsers, seen by some as a “golden spike moment” for WebRTC.

While some are wondering if this is the next big thing or just the latest passing phase, Digium as an organization is a big believer in the still-emerging standard; they consider it a game changer..

“Much like WebRTC, one of Digium’s goals has been to make communications technology accessible to a much larger audience,” said David Duffett, Asterisk Community Manager. “Asterisk was the first tool that wrapped up the complexities of communications and exposed them to application developers through readily accessible APIs. We see WebRTC as the next big step in the evolution of communications technology from hardware to software and are working to make both our open source and commercial products ready for the future.”

Duffett explains that Digium is excited about WebRTC because it has the potential to unleash a much more robust IP-based communications flow. While SIP Trunking is capable of much more than PRI, SIP is still bound by what’s on the other side of the old PBX system. WebRTC removes that restriction.

“And Asterisk will be able to support that without being bound by the old way of doing things,” he said. “People are kind of standing there with their arms wide open [thinking of the possibilities].”

Asterisk 11, released in the fall of 2012, supports WebRTC endpoints.

Duffett said that, unlike the introduction and adoption of SIP, he expects WebRTC to expand horizons much further simply because of the number of developers working on it; while there are thousands of SIP developers, there are millions and millions of web developers who could be working on WebRTC.

Duffett expects WebRTC to make huge strides forward this year.

“It’s starting to happen already. [Through Twitter] people can make video calls just by using someone’s Twitter handle. What we can’t do yet is video, because the video play deck isn’t settled yet.”

While WebRTC will dominate the discussion in 2013, Duffett agrees with the notion that we’re still in the early phases of adoption of cloud communications, even though that conversation seems a little stale right now; basically the conversation is always ahead of the reality. But he says that cloud adoption will continue to grow… perhaps aided by the exciting possibilities of WebRTC.