This is interesting reading, as it attempts to clarify a difficult subject in just four pages. If this is your first foray into the subject, it can be an uphill struggle to understand all the acronyms and caveats about compatibility. As end users, we just want "something that works" - but as with the fabled duck gliding smoothly across the surface of the lake, we don't really care to see the feet paddling madly out of sight. And when it comes to web standards for communications and collaboration, there are a LOT of paddling feet!
I will not try to re-summarize Adobe's summary of the situation, but it's worth highlighting a few of their more significant statements:
- Even though an audio standard for HTML5 was selected in 2012, it has still not been fully adopted across some of the biggest web browsers. Video still doesn't have a formal approved standard, partly because of patent contention. MP3 for audio and MP4 for video are the most widely used and most likely to be universal standards once everything settles down.
- HTML5 has no internal standards for local capture of video from a webcam, local capture of audio from a microphone, or local capture of screen sharing. WebRTC is the most likely add-on standard to handle these web conferencing needs.
- WebRTC is currently designed to meet the needs of one-to-one audio, video, and screen sharing communications between two computers. Its standards do not account for communications and collaboration between multiple participants in a single session, as we would see with webinars, webcasts, and web conferences.
- Even the WebRTC standards that do exist are supported to varying degrees in different web browsers. Here is the latest "scorecard" I grabbed from www.iswebrtcreadyyet.com
So with all due respect to the late Steve Jobs and his famous 2010 open letter saying "Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content" - there is still work needed to get us to an alternative common technology platform for communications and collaboration that can be used across vendors, browsers, and operating systems. Apple could certainly help push things along by getting rid of some of those red bars in the "Safari" column (and I am now seeing news stories indicating that the Safari team is indeed starting to build in WebRTC support).
One note of optimism in all this is the fact that the very popular iSpring converter for PowerPoint offers conversion to HTML5. The technology is quietly OEM'd and built into several web conferencing products that show PowerPoint slides as Flash video elements in a browser. Having a similar HTML5 compliant content stream will help those vendors make the jump - at least on the video display side of things.