When I started preparing my keynote presentation for WebRTC Conference and Expo V in November, there was one central message I hoped to get across: WebRTC is developing along a normal evolutionary track and it’s up to us to continue to move the technology forward from hype to reality.
I’ve been involved with WebRTC since the beginning and we all know there was a considerable amount of enthusiasm at the start. But this year, some of that excitement started to wane. And that’s probably because WebRTC is no longer new; it’s no longer the shiny object. People understand what it is, but we still have a ways to go to realize the full potential of the technology.
Last year, Cisco predicted that WebRTC would be among the top technologies for 2014, a calculation that was supported by ABI Research’s forecast of 4.7 billion mobile WebRTC devices by 2018. The future seems so bright for WebRTC and, yet, as an industry, we are still trending down from the peak of inflated expectations. There’s a lot of hard work we have to do to keep the technology going, but if you think about it, it’s not unlike what happened with VoIP.
During the WebRTC Conference and Expo, I argued that the WebRTC movement has several distinct parallels to VoIP. Back in the onset of the VoIP era, we didn’t think that VoIP would start moving ahead at warp speed. But it did. So let’s take a look at the similarities:
The parallels don’t stop there. WebRTC is experiencing the same challenges VoIP experienced in regards to access, interoperability with existing infrastructures and multimedia services. Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series as I continue to explore how to move from hype to reality.