07 July 2008

Flashphony goes P2P

Enabling new application such as unified messaging, presence, videophone, etc... has probably been the most widely (mis)used selling point from Voice over IP technology vendors, well ahead of more basic but real benefits such as cabling, hardware and maintenance optimization.

Indeed, there are actually very few new applications that have come along VoIP. Amongst them, Flash based telephony is probably one of my favorite.

Along with the Ribbit project (which I have already addressed previously), there is a number of new projects popping out here and there that I wanted to share with you :

  • Tringme bridges Flash with SIP

  • Tokbox is a Flash videophone

  • Vawkr is a chat room for web 2.0 sites

All this is very well, but one thing to bear in mind is that Flash telephony is based on a client/server architecture which results in poor scalability & call quality since all the network flows have to be bridged through the Flash interactive media server.

Hopefully, Adobe has announced support for P2P in the forthcoming Flash 10 release -making therefore all previous flashphony implementations legacy! Furthermore, the P2P feature will probably be embedded into Flash Lite, the Flash plugin for mobile devices (whose market penetration, although growing, is not so good to date because mobile OS vendors are considering it a major threat for their own API).

However, a Flash server will still be required as a registrar and to handle some signalling trafic as well. A good way for Adobe to protect its revenues, all the more some alternative implementations of the Flash media server such as Wowza or Red5 become increasingly popular.