WebRTC Gateway…

Is there a place for a WebRTC Gateway? – Ribbon seem to think so with their Kandy Link providing a hybrid cloud solution for CSPs looking for a simpler way of embedding an OTT voice solution in a CPaaS deployment but is it just another solution looking for a problem?

If we consider that WebRTC stands at the intersection of the Internet, BYOD, internal communications, external communications and information systems and that Communication Service Providers (CSPs) looking for ways to provide a Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) solution of their own or deploy WebRTC based clients and services often face regulations and restrictions that are not applicable to OTT services, particularly in the data privacy and sovereignty space. And then add the thoughts that many enterprises and large government organisations require a tighter security over the user’s data and media than public cloud solutions can provide then perhaps we can understand why Ribbon is making a fuss over their Kandy Link WebRTC Gateway.

The premise for Kandy Link is that it becomes a local extension of the Kandy CPaaS solution and provides WebRTC gateway, REST API (the representational state transfer (REST) technology, an architectural style and approach to communications often used in web services development), proxy, media broker capabilities and the ability to deploy additional services in the network as micro-services.

Kandy Link goes beyond basic WebRTC gateway functionality delivering value added capabilities that accelerate the deployment of new services that ‘contribute to enhance user retention, facilitate new revenues and markets and optimise the total cost of ownership’.

Kandy Link interworks the signalling and media planes of the web and telecom worlds and provides APIs for extending real-time communications and collaboration capabilities to web applications. While other WebRTC implementations have focused on SIP over WebSocket—which requires the developer to still deal with the complexities of the SIP protocol and state machine— Kandy Link uses REST (REpresentational State Transfer) APIs that don’t require specialised skills. This allows web developers who aren’t deeply versed in real-time communications technology to create innovative, real-time communications applications––quickly and easily.

So, should there be a standardised WebRTC product set that clients can go and buy ‘off the shelf’?

Tim Mercer, CEO of Vapour Cloud, says, ‘“Yes. I think this could definitely work, and many in-house developers are comfortable adopting the tech.”

“It depends who you speak to, and the challenge always comes back to ensuring the security of the application, particularly for people who don’t live and breathe WebRTC themselves.

With any application underpinned by WebRTC I would encourage the ‘user’ to understand the purpose of the app and work back from there. They need to know what technology they’re using and why. I would also personally advise against organisations purchasing WebRTC-powered apps from their mobile provider, for example, as I doubt the skill-set will be there. That’s not me being critical – it’s just a fact.”

Nathan Ronchetti at Voiceflex says that if you want to connect legacy communications to newer protocols you will need a gateway be that WebRTC or SIP.

“Gateways can also be used as SBCs or voice firewalls to protect your internal communications from any internet based exploits. With any new technology, it’s always worth investing time and money to protect your systems as new exploits are being found all the time.”

Ian Rowan, UK Channel Manager at Wildix, says that not every vendor is as forward thinking as Wildix and therefore they will need a way to link new technologies to their platform.

“There are also users that have recently invested in platforms that are not WebRTC enabled but would like to now use this technology, this is the same with every evolution of technology in our industry. First, we had smart boxes, external voicemail systems, ISDN convertors and finally SIP gateways. The only thing I would say is when the vendors eventually catch up with this technology then the demand for these gateway products will reduce. I have no doubt that every vendor is aware of WebRTC and looking to how they can offer these services in their product road map.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine