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Things We Talked About at WebRTC 2014

Many things were discussed last week at the WebRTC Conference & Expo. One thing I noticed when doing show of hands was a beginning of expansion of the audience from telecom only to other areas. To my surprise, a non-neglectable number of hands were raised when I asked to know who are not coming from telecom oriented companies but rather from Web companies.

Topics discussed covered a range of areas from general WebRTC standard and technology to Telecom and enterprise specific ones.

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I included some of these topics in the audience survey and closing panel. The presentation with the survey results can be fond below. I would like to discuss 2 out of these topics.

 

The panel moderated by myself included: Chad Hart (WebRTC Hacks & Dialogic), Douglas Tait (Oracle), Gilles Duboué (Alcatel-Lucent), Chris Koehncke (&yet), Sebastian Schumann (Slovak Telekom)

Are there still WebRTC roadblocks?

It was interesting to see the audience response compared to the opinion of the panel.

The question was designed to be controversial by intention as I put several of the issues discussed during the conference in one option. The audience played along and almost 80% voted for this option.

The panel on the other hand didn’t fall for this and followed the line of, there will always be issues, this can’t be a reason to hold back. In this case, I agree with the panel. There are always issues; ORTC was one of the topics brought up by many people as a concern. This and the video codec came up in several discussions I had with customers. Having said that, these concerns will be solved as issues will arise, they can’t be an excuse why not to use the technology.

Are there any roadblocks for WebRTC to be ubiquitous

Is WebRTC ready for mobile?

WebRTC for mobile is still a concern of many people. There are several options how to tackle this, options differ based on specific needs and device OS. This is why I decided to give a presentation about this at the conference (details of it will be published on Tuesday on my blog TheNewDialTone).

Most of the audience replied to this question either saying iOS is still an issue or that an SDK is the right option to take.

How do you view the readiness of WebRTC for Android and iOS

I believe it is less important what is the “correct” answer but rather to understand the general perception people have on WebRTC for mobile.

WebRTC support on mobile devices is a topic that needs to be solved in a better way during 2015.

More about the conference can be found in my summary.

Looking forward to hearing your feedback about the conference and what are your expectations for next year.

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Speakers and Sponsors Lineup Continues

A little more than a month to go until the opening of the WebRTC Conference in Paris, the largest and first WebRTC conference in Europe. Speakers and sponsors continue to lineup on our agenda making it a colorful event so I thought it is time to give an update and share the new things planed for the event.

Before continuing with the details on that I would like to remind you that we launched a survey about WebRTC last week. We are holding a raffle of 2 Amazon Gift Cards, 50 USD each so hurry up and fill-in your answers. Results will be published next week.

Link to the survey….

Colorful lineup of speakers and sponsors

Regarding the agenda, a new topic was added to the training, ORTC. This presentation will be given by Philipp Hancke from &YET. On top of that there will be another session about ORTC by Antón Román Portabales from QUOBIS. This session by Anton will be on the 3rd day of the conference. After participating in these 2 sessions you will well up to date with what is happening in this domain and the new announcement of Microsoft.

We are also starting to finalize the list of companies that will present their solutions as part of the conference demo sessions. Currently the list includes:

  • Browsetel
  • Videotion
  • NG Media
  • Meetingreat
  • Apidaze
  • Mashmee
  • Quobis
  • StreamRoot
  • Electronic Art

Awards will be given in the following categories:

  • Innovation award
  • Best of show
  • Data channel award
  • Audience choice best of show

We have a nice list of sponsors and exhibitors, the event is growing compared to last year and we are expecting some interesting additions in a short while.

A few of the last additions to this list include:

  • Oracle
  • Broadsoft
  • Alcatel-Lucent
  • matrix
  • ESTOS
  • Artesyn
  • unltd.fm

The addition of these companies enriches the list with both large and mature companies as well as new startups that offer new, non-telecom services such as the one of http://unltd.fm/ I touched before in my post WebRTC Rocks for Music.

I would like to take this opportunity and invite you to take another look at the agenda as things have been added to it. Additionally, you are welcome to visit our blog and Webinars page. Past Webinars cover areas of WebRTC standards, WebRTC for Telcos and tips for building your own WebRTC service.

We are happy to accept ideas from companies interested to conduct Webinars with us as well as blog posts.

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Five Points to Consider for Real WebRTC Deployments

There are nowadays lots of ongoing proof of concepts and field trials involving WebRTC, having some of them reached the production stage. In this post we are going to explore which problems arise when you move from the lab to a production environment. These are five points to take into account when you are working with real field deployments of WebRTC.

Hide complexity of the user device

WebRTC is designed to run in any type of device and platform with the sole requirement to use a browser that supports it. Unfortunately, and even though they are implementing the standard specification, different platforms and browsers present unique peculiarities that require some degree of customization by the applications running on top.

In addition, recent movements from Microsoft indicate that they will support ORTC instead. This forces web communication applications to have their own version for Internet Explorer. Despite this, it’s possible to use elements to hide this particular implementation via a middleware that make applications work on any device and browser with no changes in the code.

WebRTC Orchestration-Quobis

Hide complexity of vendors

WebRTC does not mandate anything for signaling and it’s up to the application developer to select or even define the appropriate signaling mechanism for each environment and use case. This has been discussed in details in a Webinar focusing on WebRTC Standards. Gateway vendors have chosen different ways to manage signaling from standard based solutions, that are being adopted by some vendors and the open source community, to proprietary solutions based on SDK or proprietary APIs.

To deal with this fragmentation the industry is working on abstraction libraries like ORCAjs.

Manage the integration with existing services

It is easy to Implement WebRTC services, as you can see from demos that are available on the Internet. The big problem is when you want to create a WebRTC based service that is fully interconnected with your existing platforms, especially when you need to deal with authentication, authorization or accounting.

There are different possibilities out there to authenticate users, from anonymous calls where authentication is not needed (for instance, in some click-to-call solutions where only DoS protections or temporal accounts are dynamically provided), to the use of strong telco (or enterprise) authentication mechanisms (like AD, HSS or others)

Authorization or the management of user privileges and billing are other points to take into account. Service providers need to federate with their operation systems and policy managers, so the new WebRTC architecture will need some connectors to OSS, BSS and other existing elements.

Manage multi-tenancy services

Services providers and telcos are willing to offer new services to corporate customers that help to retain the revenues from this market. In this scenario it’s critical to have the possibility to offer services that are able to work in a multi-tenancy way. This means being able to run different instances of the solution to allow all the administrators of each company to manage different features like users, privileges and services.

Prevent security concerns

Some new potential threads appear with the use of WebRTC and part of the traditional VoIP attacks will be inherited.

Ad-hoc attacks in WebRTC include access to physical devices. It is easy to figure out how risky it would be to allow any web application to access users’ webcam or screen without asking permission of the user.  Other attacks on WebRTC include cross-domain and DoS. This means that you can connect to a server whose domain is different from the domain you downloaded the code from. This gives the necessary flexibility to make this web communications useful, but it also could allow some kind of distributed Denial of Service attack, that should be prevented.

A tool is needed to provide security mechanisms that prevent attacks and fraud in WebRTC sessions.

In summary

These are some of the points that are not part of the current feature lists of WebRTC gateway vendors, that should be looked at when planning real field deployments. Different user devices, signaling protocols, gateway vendors, user topologies or user privileges may represent a huge complexity in the delivery of WebRTC services and a potential threat in terms of security.

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