All aboard the ORTC train to a world of browser-based communication for all

All aboard the ORTC train!! The 27th May was a landmark day for the guys over at W3C who are working tirelessly on getting ORTC up and running. The 27th May it was announced EDGE would be providing preliminary support for H.264. This a substantial statement following the announcement of supporting WebM, VP9 and Opus within EDGE. Whilst Apple’s announcement to bring video to Safari was mention in April 2016.

This means substantial movement on one side, but then insignificant changes on the other side. We could potential be fronted with a tug of war between two different standards. That of Google and then the standard from Microsoft. The winner here is the end user. The loser is the web app developer. Suddenly the workload doubles to develop an application, maintain and improve the application to support the two separate standards, here is how the browser support differs. But why is this bad news for developers and potentially great news for end users?

Edge looks to announce the support for ORTC
Great news for those looking to just to be supported within EDGE

Followed by the latest acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft (find out more about the acquisition at Wainhouse or a the Economist ) and then a bit more from Tsahi here about what it means for WebRTC, could get developers believing in Microsoft it’s intent about browser-based communication.

For the developers who believe Microsoft is going to provide the most stable and effective browser-based communication, then this is the news they have been waiting for. Developers can reach out to an extended user base with their communication and web meeting solutions. However, there are slim chances this same app will work within browsers who support WebRTC, unless of course they have coded their solution to meet both requirements.

Bringing us back round to the LinkedIn acquisition. There have been many debates and articles written about why LinkedIn hasn’t implemented a browser-based communication tool. But, was this acquisition the final piece of the puzzle LinkedIn has been missing?

Not even a minor drop in the ocean for those who are not willing to recode to support EDGE, yet!

Microsoft EDGE is not widely adopted nor is it used frequently throughout the general internet user. However, with all Windows operating systems EDGE will come as standard and be the default browser. This is always going to turn some developer heads and commit time and resources on supporting the browser. But will the browser receive the attention being demanded? We highly doubt that. We are unlikely to see well established web applications looking to recode their solution to work within EDGE.

The latest acquisition from Microsoft to acquire LinkedIn signifies more than just the professional network becoming more of a networking tool. It demonstrates a real intent for Microsoft to pursue and establish a browser-based communication service. An intent more often than not delivers a platform which can be relied upon. Whilst this may not outperform or deliver more than what Google can provide, it installs confidence into developers.

After all of this support, EDGE is still running into a dead end. It is our understanding that peer communication is still not being supported. Even if we were to go ahead and support Edge with our Drum Web Meeting platform our users would notice little benefit. Which continues to beg the question what Microsoft are looking to achieve in the short term? Are they simply building suspense?

ORTC becoming the final piece of the browser communication puzzle
Why does the user win?

All of a sudden the user is provided with the opportunity to utilise this game changer technology within all major browsers. Users can gain further access to their choice of company with no limitations. OK OK, so as we mentioned above about the lack of universal support for all applications, there may still be some stumbling blocks for the user. Not all applications are going to be supporting each browser (but it may trigger a race for universal adoption). The user, like most races between companies, always come out on top. The first mover advantage delivers the user with one choice. We, as users, are going to see substantially more real-time communication channels to SME and large corporate companies. The customer will be perceived as the winner with the silent winners being the organisations driving increased customer service and the web application developers providing the service.

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