If reading the title of this article only brought to mind a whale, it’s time to learn more. WebRTC has not one, but two different and totally distinct ORCA projects. Here is what they mean for both WebRTC and the telecom industry as a whole.

W3C ORTC

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)’s Object-RTC API (ORCA) Community Group is investigating a new, lower-level API for WebRTC that is known as the Object RTC (ORTC) API (they clarified the name to avoid confusion with other projects that also use the ORCA acronym.

There are several complaints with the current WebRTC API, namely the necessity of using session description protocol (SDP) with its complexity and traditional-telephony design for newer, more advanced applications. To address these issues, W3C is implementing many of concepts initially proposed by Microsoft more than a year ago in its CU-RTC-Web proposal for WebRTC. Importantly, this group includes many active participants, including Google. ORTC is very much a work in progress, but it includes a “shim” to provide backward compatibility with the existing WebRTC API. Many who are involved in WebRTC’s standardization believe it is very likely that parts or ORTC will find their way into version two of WebRTC specifications.

ATIS ORCA.js

The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) started the Open Real-Time Communications API (ORCA), or orca.js, project to develop a standard JavaScript API to connect to service provider communication services using WebRTC. Basically, orca.js provides a standardized WebRTC gateway API – the signaling piece that is not included in WebRTC. This will provide an easy, standardized way for web developers to access service provider-based services using WebRTC.

Service providers need to implement an ORCA-compliant signaling sever and gateway in their networks. They can specific their own proprietary signaling, but need to provide transport libraries that plug into the orca.js framework. Once they do that, any developer using the orca.js JavaScript client library could use standard API calls to interface to their network. This allows service providers can implement any ORCA-compliant WebRTC gateway they want and not impact developers.

I have not come across too many implementations of this technology yet. Dialogic plays at the media layer, not the signaling plane where this sits. Still, I’m excited to report that our business partner Quobis is part of the steering board for this effort. You can check out our public demo that uses Quobis’ orca.js-compliant SIPPO WebRTC Application Controller.

Stay tuned, and should you have any questions in the meantime, please reach out to chad.hart@dialogic.com.