We myth busted the WebRTC vs VoLTE issue and decided to make it a fairer fight by bringing RCS into the ring for a direct battle.
WebRTC refers to Web Real-Time Communications.
It is a free, open technology project that solves incompatibilities between devices for real-time communications.
It has grown to be an industry and standards effort to provide both browsers and mobile applications with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities such as P2P video, audio voice, and data communication via simple APIs.
WebRTC takes away the barriers by removing the need for a physical client for each provider and for a user ID (email address etc).
Depending on the browser and mobile platform, the major components below allow for access to camera and mic to capture media, set up audio/video calls and allow endpoints to share data via P2P connections.
The popular Tango app which has 70M MAUs, also has a free calling feature called Tango Out, with WebRTC powering their App-App and App-PSTN calls for all their users.
RCS refers to Rich Communications Services. It is a GSM Association (GSMA) initiative for network carriers to interoperate in the same ecosystem and is based on the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS).
It also has its own brand name used across many countries – joyn.
Being on IMS allows RCS to have features that are not available using traditional messaging services. It enables communication beyond voice and SMS, with instant messaging, chat, live video and file sharing across devices and networks.
RCS is heavily marketed as joyn by GSMA and it was touted as a Whatsapp competitor. It can be downloaded as a standalone app in various countries, depending on your network.
But with adoption issues, you most probably wouldn’t be able to try it. (We couldn’t)
– Green areas indicate markets that have committed to RCS, with red as hot prospects.
GSMA mentioned that 87 operators are committed to launch RCS by the end of 2015, but only 41 have actually done so since 2012. To put this into perspective, there are more than 800 operators worldwide according to the GSMA.
Having launched to much fanfare then, it has since tailed off with the usage of RCS proving to be unpopular.
– 2 Billion plus potential WebRTC users on more than 6 Billion devices by 2019.
Being an open source technology with the ability to be used independently of devices, the contrast cannot be clearer when WebRTC jumps in the picture. Its potential is just explosive.
There looks to be a clear winner in the future with this head to head, with WebRTC poised to be heavily adopted by developers and OTT players in general, while larger operators are still trying to cooperate as part of an industry for RCS.
Both RCS and WebRTC are application focused and are seen as competing technologies at times to allow communications beyond basic voice and text.
Joyn was slated to be an alternative OTT solution for operators, but the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) have also started to look into WebRTC and initiating working groups to incorporate WebRTC into the IMS network.
|Definition||Web Real-Time Communications||Rich Communications Services (Formerly Rich Communication Suite) branded as Joyn|
|Protocol||Internet Protocol||Internet Protocol|
|Developed by||Open Source, Web Developer Community||Telecom Standard, GSM Association|
|Device||Platform and Device independent: Web, Mobile||Modern Smartphones|
|Signalling||Not always||In Built and Complex|
|Coverage||Internet Data||Cellular 4G still rolling out|
|Audio Codecs||Opus, iSAC, iLBC||AMR, G711, iLBC, G722, Speex, Opus|
|Video Codecs||VP8||H.263, H.264, VP8|
|Advantages||Simple Experience, Adaptive to network conditions (VoIP/SIP/PSTN)||Rich User Experience|
|Challenges||No Standardized Signalling Layer||Require Adoption Among Carriers, High Infrastructure Investment|
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