Tsahi Levent -Levi
Tsahi Levent-Levi is an independent analyst and consultant for WebRTC.Tsahi has over 15 years of experience in the telecommunications, VoIP,and...
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Tsahi Levent -Levi | September 19, 2012 |


On Openness, FaceTime and WebRTC

On Openness, FaceTime and WebRTC WebRTC kills the physical barriers the over-the-top players like FaceTime rely on today--paving the way for newer, leaner startups to join the VoIP game.

WebRTC kills the physical barriers the over-the-top players like FaceTime rely on today--paving the way for newer, leaner startups to join the VoIP game.

If it isn't clear that FaceTime is a failure in Apple's standards, then it should be.

It wasn't that long ago (2 years now) that Steve Jobs introduced FaceTime, a video chat service based on "open standards." Fast forward to today, FaceTime may be using SIP, RTP, H.264 and AAC-LD--but it isn't open. Or standardized itself.

A bit over a year ago Zach Holman complained about FaceTime on his blog:

"There's certainly a possibility that FaceTime may still be ratified as an open standard. Maybe Steve just misspoke when he gave concrete dates and steps to open up the FaceTime protocol. Maybe it happens the day after I publish this blog post. But regardless of the reason, we are stuck here more than a year later, with FaceTime siloed strictly to Apple devices and (to my knowledge) zero standards bodies reviewing a proposed FaceTime protocol spec."

Well, we're now two years later with FaceTime siloed strictly to Apple devices--which only goes to show that OTT VoIP solutions are based on lock in: get as many users as possible into the service, but make sure they never get out. Unless it is to a PSTN phone, where we can charge for it.

WebRTC is probably the lost opportunity for FaceTime (not for Apple mind you). WebRTC is open in a way that was never before seen--not only do we have a spec for it, but we have an open source implementation, open codecs (for now), and it all comes from the browser.

Next time you get pitched about an standards based, open service from an OTT vendor that claims to be using SIP or XMPP, check out how he monetizes his solution. I guarantee that in 99% of the cases, it will be based on you making all your calls within his walled garden.

And this is why WebRTC is such a huge threat and a disruptor to OTT vendors: it obsoletes the need of a sign up process and an application download to work between people. It kills the physical barriers OTT players rely on today, paving the way for newer, leaner startups to join the VoIP game.


April 19, 2017

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April 5, 2017

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March 22, 2017

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April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.