The world is never going to look the same for the mobile industry. After three decades of an effectively closed service environment, everything but the bit pipe is now up for grabs. With the rise of Smartphones capable of running applications with access to internet-enabled services, a world of new and disruptive technologies has become available. As HTML evolves towards HTML5, the line between browser and application gets blurred.
WebRTC has been heralded as a major disruptor to the mobile value chain, enabling real time voice and video (and data) services through a well-defined API. Web developers can nimbly create communication applications and plug them into existing web pages enhancing the user experience. These apps will run in the browser on any (low spec) mobile or computing device, independently of network or device user interface implementation, possibly augmented from the cloud.
A disruptor for the industry, clearly, but when mobile operators play to their strengths, WebRTC creates a unique value-add and therefore business opportunity. This comes from the signaling and session management layer being left open for the application developer. For this layer there are several choices that can be made, the most attractive for mobile operators is naturally SIP.
Offering a web-socket based SIP connection from WebRTC to the operator’s IMS infrastructure can add significant value to WebRTC based consumer and enterprise services, such as:
- Rendezvous: Provide the current IP address for the addressed party (an essential detail!)
- Facilitate multi-party (conference) connections
- Provide interworking among telco domains (RCS, SMS, MMS) and XMPP
- Ensure appropriate Quality of Service
The question now is not, can mobile operators risk not taking part – instead, given the opportunity and advantage, why would they not?