Messagenet Talk, the first commercial, WebRTC-based mobile VoIP service
MILAN, April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –
- Messagenet releases the world’s first WebRTC-based smartphone app for Android that functions as part of a commercial VoIP service
- Messagenet Talk enables WebRTC to work with any Android device operating on version 2.2 or later; it does not require a WebRTC-enabled mobile browser
- The app integrates the WebRTC media engine with open SIP signaling as well as with Messagenet’s proprietary optimizations for HD voice over 3G, public switched telephone network (PSTN) interoperability, enhanced jitter management and VoIP obfuscation
- The app comes as part of the Messagenet Talk VoIP service, which allows smartphone and PC users to talk and text for free, to avoid roaming charges and to add an extra phone line to their mobile phones
- The development represents Messagenet’s first step towards a browser-based VoIP service for smartphones and PCs and signals the company’s commitment to a true, open-source communications platform
Messagenet, a technology firm based in Italy that specializes in VoIP services, has released a private beta test of Messagenet Talk for Android, the world’s first WebRTC-based smartphone app that is part of a commercial VoIP service. The app, which can be downloaded via http://talk.messagenet.com/androidbeta, is available for any device running Android 2.2 or higher and does not require browser or OS support for WebRTC.
Owners of Android devices can now enjoy high-quality, real-time telephone communications over 3G or Wi-Fi thanks to Messagenet Talk. “This app represents another step forward in the effort to integrate WebRTC with smartphone platforms. It is taking WebRTC out of the planning phase and putting it into the hands of the end-user,” said Andrea Galli, Messagenet’s CEO.
“There have been lots of demos of WebRTC-based communication systems in closed environments, but never before within a commercial mobile service,” said Emiliano Trevisani, Messagenet’s VoIP technology officer. “But we believe so strongly that this technology is going to rewrite all the old rules for VoIP that we decided to integrate it into our live mobile commercial service before it’s supported by browsers on Android.”
The result is that owners of older Android devices can now benefit from WebRTC-based VoIP, even if the browsers on those devices never receive WebRTC support. “Naturally,” added Trevisani, “as soon as the browsers on newer Android devices are enabled for WebRTC, we will extend our full support.”
Messagenet’s service is notable for its adherence to open standards, such as the open SIP signaling protocol. The company’s approach stands in sharp contrast to the closed-source proprietary standards commonly employed by many over-the-top, or OTT, communication services, such as Skype, Viber and WhatsApp, which have gone to lengths to inhibit the interoperability of their services. Skype is the archetypal closed system, as its protocols have remained a tightly held secret.
Commentators have noted that WebRTC could pose a threat to Skype, which is owned by Microsoft. WebRTC has been spearheaded by Google, which has bet that its own future is linked to the expansion of a fully open web. In August 2012, Microsoft published its own approach to WebRTC, called CU-WebRTC, which can be seen as a stumbling block in the effort to standardize key aspects of this technology in the quest for full interoperability.
In the meantime, ambitious developers are continuing to explore new uses for the existing protocol at a rapid pace, seeking to make flexible, high-resolution, real-time communications easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection. WebRTC has already been defined by many industry experts as a game-changing and potentially disruptive technology that has the potential to enable consumers and businesses alike to communicate in new and more immediate ways. Although the standards for the platform are still being defined by the World Wide Web Consortium, the WebRTC field is developing with remarkable speed, and new developments are being announced on a weekly basis.
Pilot programs suggest that the B2B and B2C applications for this new technology are particularly groundbreaking. Video conferencing is expected to take a great leap forward, as the need for all participants to run the same proprietary software can be eliminated. Firms offering professional services from investment advice to medical consultations may benefit dramatically from an ability to conduct high-quality virtual meetings with ease. With WebRTC, browsers such as Chrome and Firefox will also be able to perform functions currently associated primarily with mobile phones, such as voice and video calling and SMS and MMS messaging. Businesses of all kinds will be better positioned to provide their customers with real-time, personalized service and information.
But for all these developments to come to pass, full interoperability is required. Messagenet, in keeping with its commitment to open standards, has placed itself firmly in the camp of those who see the tremendous value and potential of a truly open-source, browser-based communications platform.
The company has established its credentials as a supporter of open standards and interoperability in the field of OTT services. In September 2011, Messagenet filed an objection with the European Commission to the acquisition of Skype by Microsoft in 2011. The complainants argued on antitrust grounds that Skype should be made compatible with other VoIP services and that it not be bundled with other Microsoft products. The reopening of the case is currently under consideration by the European Court of Justice.
Messagenet S.p.A. is a leading company in the development and provision of VoIP and internet fax services, with more than 500,000 registered users, more than 100,000 VoIP telephone numbers assigned and two and a half million faxes processed per month. Headquartered in Italy, Messagenet is a sister company of KPNQwest Italia. It was founded in 1999 by Marco Fiorentino and Andrea Galli. For more information, please visit www.messagenet.com.
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SOURCE Messagenet S.p.A.