What is Object-RTC?

First, let’s understand RTC. Real-time communications (RTC) enables mode of communications in which all users can exchange information instantly or with negligible latency. Examples of these communications include voice and video communication, instant messaging, application sharing, collaboration etc. Microsoft, CISCO etc. use this platform to develop unified communications modalities.

Now, let’s understand the Web-RTC.

WebRTC enables browser-to-browser applications for instant messaging, desktop sharing, voice calling, video chat, and P2P file sharing without the need of either internal or external plugins. Web-RTC is an open source project released by Google in 2011. WebRTC enables all kinds of real time communication such as audio, video and text between users by utilizing the browsers.

Context of Object-RTC.

Robin Raymond & Erik Lagerway (Hookflash) explain in this blog about their reservation on use of SDP in WebRTC\RTCWeb. Primarily they summarize it as below;

  • unneeded – much too high level an API
  • arcane format – legacy and problematic
  • offer/answer
  • incompatibilities
  • lack of API contact
  • doesn’t truly solve goal of compatibility to legacy systems

Inspired by this idea, Raymond and Lagerway from Hookflash, submitted the WebRTC Object API proposal. W3C ORCA community group was formed and the ORTC.org website was launched in 2013.

Today, Object RTC (ORTC) is a W3C community group supported by Google, Hookflash, Microsoft, and other leading technology companies. Object-RTC is an open project to establish a standard for RTC or WebRTC. ORTC enables mobile endpoints to communicate with servers and web browsers using WebRTC capabilities provided by native JavaScript APIs and HTML5.

Developers will now be able to build advanced communication applications on top of the Microsoft Edge browser via the ORTC API. Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Android are yet to support Object-RTC.

Why not WebRTC 2.0, rather than a different nomenclature?

At times, a new name gives equal opportunity to technology partners, to earn technology credit. I doubt if other major players would have agreed to adopt a name (WebRTC) being invented and coined by Google! Google, already engaged with several partners on WebRTC project would have given it a go (considering the stake it has already invested in the technology).

After all, what’s there in the name? It doesn’t make any difference to the consumers (customers and other eco system elements), as long as, process of standardization keeps moving in right direction.

Is ORTC promising?

Off course! It should end up enabling real time communication modalities in desktop, browsers and mobile end points. Unified communications modalities have a lot to catchup in mobile and browsers spaces. Object-RTC sounds promising in that direction.

Further Readings :

startup riding the wave of ORTC : http://hookflash.com

WebRTC wiki : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebRTC

Skype blog : http://blogs.skype.com/2014/10/27/bringing-interoperable-real-time-communications-to-the-web/

ORTC API is now available in Microsoft Edge : https://blogs.windows.com/msedgedev/2015/09/18/ortc-api-is-now-available-in-microsoft-edge/

What developers should know about ORTC ? http://www.programmableweb.com/news/what-developers-should-know-about-ortc-versus-webrtc/analysis/2015/10/12

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