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Last month Microsoft joined Google and others in support of ORTC (Object Real-time Communications) API for WebRTC. This will open up real-time communications development for the many organizations that use Internet Explorer.

Microsoft announced at their TechEd Europe event in October that it has begun development on the ORTC API for WebRTC for future versions of Internet Explorer. Shijun Sun, senior program manager, Internet Explorer explains in the October 27th IE Blog, “We aim to make browser-based calls more convenient by removing the need to download a plugin. It’s all about convenience – imagine you’ll be able to simply open IE and make a Skype call to friends, family, or get real-time support for that new device right from your browser.”

Sun explains that through active collaboration with the W3C ORTC Community Group, the ORTC API for WebRTC standard has reached “significant stability” and mentions the ability to support “a wide range of features from simple conversations to scalable multiparty video conferences”.

So what does this mean for the 450 companies that use WebRTC without ORTC in their applications? Does it become a choice of one or the other? The first ORTC Public Draft Specification published in August and authored by Hookflash, Microsoft and Google addresses this.

In the blog announcement, Justin Uberti, Google tech lead for WebRTC, explains, “We heard developers say that they wanted more direct control over the technologies available in WebRTC. At the same time, we didn’t want existing developers to have to start over with a new API. ORTC is our proposal for how we can accomplish both of these things – a new set of APIs for direct control that builds off the existing WebRTC 1.0 API set. As an evolution of the existing API, we consider this WebRTC 1.1.”

So it appears that Google will make ORTC backward compatible providing continued support of existing WebRTC 1.0 based applications.

Will this be the buzz at next week’s WebRTC V Conference?

About 18 months ago, we posted a blog in advance of the WebRTC Conference and Expo held in June, 2013. In it we pointed out that the conference could begin to tell us if WebRTC would become reality and will deliver on its promise. Back then, we stated, “With a real time communication engine in every browser, WebRTC will fuel the development of a new generation of audio, video and messaging solutions that will extend unified communications to every browser.” Several OTTs and large enterprises have since seized the opportunity of WebRTC even without the support of Internet Explorer and Safari. We have helped many of our customers successfully use WebRTC for both customer-facing and employee-facing web-based communication services. So, it quickly became a question of how and how fast to use this technology, not whether or not to use it.

Microsoft isn’t on the list of sponsors for next week’s WebRTC V Conference and Expo (Nov 18 – 20 in San Jose,CA). But the event is sure to be buzzing about this announcement especially by those that have cut their teeth on WebRTC and are ready to extend their communication solutions to the vast amount of Internet Explorer users as well as use their imaginations on other options that ORTC can provide.

And we can’t help but wonder if an announcement out of Cupertino is coming next?

Visit our booth #55 at WebRTC V.  Contact Karen Hutton, karen.hutton@daitangroup.com to schedule a meeting.

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