5G and WebRTC: A Perfect Storm for Highfive?

We get the latest news from Highfive and understand why the advent of 5G tech is the perfect companion for its WebRTC based platform

5G and WebRTC: A Perfect Storm for Highfive?

Making video communication ubiquitous is the very public goal for Highfive. From inception its commitment to hyperscale cloud and WebRTC based architecture aimed to make video collaboration as simple and pain free as possible. For video to be ubiquitous it needs to possible from everywhere, not just the tech capital of silicon valley or big city hubs globally. One of the only pieces missing from the puzzle is widely available, high speed low latency connectivity. The long awaited arrival of 5G technology could culminant in the perfect storm for a video revolution.

Verizon, arguably the world’s largest telecommunications company, have been pioneering the development of 5G networks in the United States and they have chosen Highfive to showcase its potential capability. UC Today spoke to Highfive’s Chief Executive Officer, Joe Manuele, and their Chief Revenue Officer, Richard Borenstein, to find out more. Initial testing of their solution across 5G connectivity exceeded even their own expectations, as Borenstein explained.

“The first few tests were amazing! We carried a 3-hour video conference without dropping a packet over that time, showing the full capability of 5G.”

From such an encouraging starting point the potential scope for a video revolution is obvious. Borenstein told us that Highlife will now work alongside Verizon who will use Highfive’s video collaboration technology as a proof of concept for the capabilities of 5G, showcasing its huge potential.

“5G enables us to really show our disruptive capability and mindset. Other providers that don’t have agile, WebRTC based, platforms certainly can’t do this type of testing and proof of concepts.”

A video communication and collaboration use case could be incredibly valuable in encouraging increased investment and development of 5G. Verizon already has plans to rollout 5G networks in over 20 US cities by the end of 2019, so more evidence of its effectiveness can only encourage more rapid deployment.

Manuele explains that the rollout of 5G represents the culmination of a perfect storm for Highfive in terms of technological enablers. As one of the first providers to adopt WebRTC, an open source platform that enables browsers and applications to access real-time communications through the use of APIs, Highfive are well placed to ride the wave of 5G. Providing video conferencing as a service, or VCaaS, matches the general market desire for OpEx consumption models and alongside the availability of well-priced high definition display solutions the cost barriers to ubiquitous video are tumbling away. One still remains.

“If we can make bandwidth now ubiquitous and affordable, deliver 1Gbps to any office, or location, the opportunity is infinite. Bandwidth is still the biggest constraint to making video ubiquitous and 5G can solve that.”

Manuele and Borenstein are also encouraged by other performance characteristics of 5G. As well as the potential for vastly increased speeds, reduced latency is also a critical factor for seamless video collaboration. 5G promises to reduce latency to around 1 millisecond, that could be up to 50 times less than current standards within 4G networks. This opens the door for super high quality video, Highfive already offer you 4K but the potential for the next wave of 8K collaboration looms. Currently in video communication scenarios, latency forces camera technology to downscale video quality but 5G’s low latency promises to remove that deterioration, as Manuele illustrates.

“Typically bandwidth goes up and down and the quality of the video adjusts based on the bandwidth that you have. So now (with 5G) we are realising that the experience that we can provide will be augmented.”

Highfive isn’t just imaging ubiquitous video from meeting rooms within an office environment, but from all manner of possible scenarios. How about high quality video collaboration from your driverless car or medical video consultancy from a pop up health clinic? The possibilities engendered by widespread 5G connectivity are endless and many are yet to be imagined. Making video ubiquitous relies on several factors and it appears that 5G connectivity could be the last piece of the puzzle. Highfive’s architecture gives it the tools and now 5G networks will provide the platform to make high quality video collaboration possible from almost anywhere.

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