The Impact of ORTC on WebRTC Deployment and Adoption

Amir Zamora asked me to comment on Object RTC (ORTC) for his WebRTC Topic of the Month series that now moved to his blog.

Here is what I had to say:

ORTC is net benefit for WebRTC and will only help to increase WebRTC adoption. I see two groups:

  • those that are happy with the status quo of WebRTC and
  • those that aren’t.

For those that are happy with WebRTC today and do not want to deal with the new ORTC API’s there is little to fear. The W3C has promised to keep the next version of WebRTC – WebRTC-NV – backward compatible with the 1.0 spec as it adds new ORTC API’s so no one needs to re-write their apps.

The majority of WebRTC developers use some kind of framework, so the real burden is on the makers of those frameworks to maintain continuity as they incorporate the new ORTC API’s. When they do implement the ORTC API’s, they will have the option of exposing new capabilities that are valuable to their users.

For all but the relatively small number of WebRTC framework makers out there who need to evolve their platforms, ORTC will just present new options without taking away what’s there. In fact, the adapter.js part of the WebRTC project is already proving to do a great job in helping Microsoft’s Edge ORTC implementation interoperate with Chrome and Firefox web apps.

Then there are those who are not happy with WebRTC today. These are often more advanced users who want to do more than a simple peer-to-peer talking heads app. Some examples are large scale real time broadcasting, large party video conferencing, embedded IoT devices, finely tuned mobile apps, or those that need to have lower-level control over networking and media parameters.

These applications often break some of the assumptions used in the WebRTC 1.0 spec. Workarounds often exist, but they are messy which is one reason why the W3C is working to incorporate the work of the ORTC Community Group into WebRTC-NV.

For those who aren’t happy with WebRTC today, ORTC could be what pushes them to use WebRTC in the first place. This was the case with Microsoft.

ORTC will enable a lot more innovation in the way RTC is used. That will lead to more exciting apps and ultimately more WebRTC adoption on top of existing use cases.

See Amir's whole post with several other's statements here.