WebRTC Conference and Expo 2013 Atlanta Report
As many of you who follow UCStrategies know, I have become a strong proponent of WebRTC and the transformation that it portends. While some may say it is just an evolution, the fact of moving communications to a web model with 20 million communications hosts is a major change. Last week at the WebRTC Conference and Expo in Atlanta, over two and a half days and 33 demos, the state of the art in WebRTC was demonstrated, discussed, and examined. The excitement the technology is generating was evident throughout the hall and sessions, but became particularly clear in a number of the demos.
The event showed the almost explosive growth in WebRTC offerings. From large companies through small start-ups, the innovation that WebRTC promised is beginning to come out. With 33 demos and over 50 companies showing their WebRTC offers, the event was watershed for the new technology. With attendance almost doubled from last year in San Francisco; WebRTC Conference and Expo is proving to be the event for the WebRTC eco-system.
Video conferencing using WebRTC was shown by Bistri, Priologic Software/tawk.com, Requestec, vLine, and Weemo, delivering a video conferencing platform that is available direct to end users, often with a fremium model. A few companies like Solobrate (who won the Best of Show Award), Requestec, and popexpert showed WebRTC as part of a larger app. Even more contact center players were present with Avaya, Bolder Thinking, Genesys, Presence Technologies, and Requestec all showing contact center applications of WebRTC. This reflects the belief that one of the first places WebRTC will impact is in customer service. With forecasts of a billion end points being WebRTC enabled by the end of the year, this flood will probably continue.
The number of companies offering tools to help developers and deployers is also expanding. Apidaze, Crocodile, Quobis, TokBox, and Voxeo Labs all showed tools and some form of solution. TokBox stood out with a clever demo of airCnC (a take off on airBnB where the Bed and Breakfast was replaced with Castles and Carriages).
Beyond applications development, a large number of companies were showing other components to help in the WebRTC deployments. Ingate Systems, Mavenir, Oracle/Acme Packets, Sansay, Temasys Communications, and Xirsys showed different forms of SBCs and ICE, TURN, and STUN platforms. Of particular note was the QoS implementations shown by Ingate in their Q-Turn product. GENBAND showed multiple solutions, emphasizing a commitment to WebRTC for their customers. Finally, Audiocodes, Dialogic, and Radisys all showed media management products, dealing with the thorny issues that emerge when peer connections are no longer enough.
A lively session discussing the values of outsourcing WebRTC developments emphasized the potential of Professional Services, both for carriers and Enterprises. Daitan Group, Priologic Software, Quobis, and Requestec all demonstrated their ability to help achieve production goals.
One obvious trend is that companies are beginning to see WebRTC as an adjunct to a larger application or solution. In fact, as Google demonstrated Cube slam, it became clear that even if you have video, with an app that emphasizes other capabilities first, the video may only be viewed a small percentage of the time. This could have a profound impact on networks as users begin to use video in applications and services where it is a background ancillary value...video water coolers, anyone?
There were a number of other lively sessions. The discussion of the values of H264 versus VP8 as a codec choice ended up running so far over it had to be cut off, with a potential of a continuation on a future conference call. The session discussing the potential of an alternative dual business model for Service Providers generated a lot of interest, as did the Enterprise sessions.
With attendance nearing 700, the event demonstrated that WebRTC is achieving velocity and that there is a strong emerging ecosystem that is driving the technology and its use forward. The event proved to be valuable across the board with great comments. It is obvious that the industry is moving fast and by the WebRTC Conference and Expo West in Santa Clara, November 19-21, the next round of innovation will be presented. I look forward to seeing all of you there.