Ever wanted to whine about federation in WebRTC? Here’s how it gets done.
While I no longer believe in ubiquity and federation in the way the telecom world sees it, I do see a lot of questions around this area. During one of the sessions at the Expo event last week, a question was raised by the audience: “how do you federate all of these scalable services you’ve just talked about?” The speakers didn’t really provide an answer to it, so I’ll start off with what options are there for federation in WebRTC, and then move on to the real question.
1. SIP / XMPP
The obvious way is to have SIP or XMPP signaling with WebRTC. These VoIP protocol are used to federating, so whenever a vendor WANTS to federate, he can just head towards that direction. I made a distinction of WANT, because federations require both networks that get federated to first want that to happen.
2. Open Peer
Open Peer is a new specification proposed by Hookflash for… peering WebRTC services. While I know of no other vendor who is planning/promoting/developing/launching anything in this area, it is something that is out there and can be picked up and adopted. I don’t see this happening any time soon, but I have been wrong before.
This is how WebRTC does federation. You’re logged in to a service – be it is friction free as Talky.io, lightweight as Tawk.com, social as Bistri or Twelephone, or closed like Regroup Therapy – and now, if there’s a need to get someone to the meeting, just send him a URL somehow – over email, instant messaging service, SMS – anyway you want. The end result? A user that isn’t a part of that specific service, can join a session – based on the policy set out by the service. He gets federated into the discussion in the most natural way. That doesn’t work for you? Think about it as “the URL is your phone number” if it makes you feel any better.
Why at all would you want to federate?
Is there any reason to federate Jocly games with Vonage? What would be the reason? How about Wello and TruClinic? How about Vonage and Bistri? There might be some need here, but then the two vendors can just sit together and make it happen – if they WANT and see value in it. With a URL option available, the is little need to federate:
- For voice calls, you can just gateway back into PSTN or mobile and be done with it
- For video calls, well… go use Vidtel or Blue Jeans or one of the others out there. Or just use a pure WebRTC solution. The future of video in the enterprise in my view is in browser and WebRTC enabled room systems and not in the closed and creaky H.323 and SIP systems we have today – that’s just darn limiting
Next time you ask about federation, first ask yourself what the reason you need that at all is.