Caption: AT&T introduced the Picturephone service in 1970, but telco-provided consumer video telephony services never found success.

The telco community has been trying to make video telephony a commercial success since AT&T introduced the Picturephone (pictured) in 1970, but it has never found great success. WebRTC could finally provide the results they want, since it offers a new technological means to offer video, but without changing any of the dynamics involved in launching a successful service.

The most interesting applications for WebRTC are those that embed communications where they aren’t traditionally present. The Internet of Things (IoT) is helping to embed the Web inside all kinds of devices, and WebRTC allows real-time voice, video and data communications to be part of that. Many new applications are hitting the market, bringing with them new challenges, and there is a huge opportunity for telcos to be part of the solution to those problems. For example, many telcos are starting to offer their own home automation and security services. WebRTC makes it possible to add real-time communications to these offerings, such as getting access to a live video stream if an alarm goes off.

Another common WebRTC use for telcos is simply extending the services they offer over the Web. There are several commercial Web-based applications that let consumers have access to their phone numbers to make calls over the Web, to name one such service, and WebRTC makes it easier to implement those capabilities.

Lastly, WebRTC lowers costs and helps telcos overcome many of the technical barriers that stand in the way of implementing their own over-the-top (OTT)-style services, many of which are vertical-, niche- or customer-specific solutions. WebRTC is helping telcos to profitably address the long-tail of communications services for these customers.

 Interested in WebRTC? Check out how some of our leading industry partners are using the technology here.