This question is coming up a lot lately, it’s been a hot topic in UC for a while. For those not following the detail, WebRTC/ORTC are the technologies that will allow a plugin less Real Time Media (Lync/Skype style) experience in the browser without any plugins.
The Quick Answers
I want to develop a browser based app with embedded Voice/Video/Desktop Sharing using Lync as a platform, how can I do that?
Available today: UCWA API that supports Instant Messaging and Presence does not require a plugin.
Future Version adds Voice and Video support, will require a plugin.
Does Lync Support WebRTC?
Not today, the WebRTC / ORTC standard is not ratified yet, but Microsoft’s IE team and Skype Consumer team have public committed to including it in the future.
Will Lync/Skype for Business Support Plugin-less Voice and Video in the browser?
The Lync team are actively working with the IE team to support a plugin less media model in the future.
I want to develop and app on iOS/Android and use with embedded Voice/Video/Desktop Sharing using Lync as a platform?
The WebRTC/ORTC Details:
ORTC is Microsoft’s favoured technology to bringing Real Time Communications to the browser.
Microsoft have committed to implementing the ORTC API for WebRTC in Internet Explorer 12
Lync UCWA (Unified Communications Web API)
UCWA is a REST API that exposes Lync Server 2013 Instant Messaging and Presence capabilities. This API is in the Lync Server supports the Lync Mobile clients and Lync Web App for IM/P Voice and Video.
Today the API only publically supports Instant Messaging and Presence. Microsoft have committed to UCWA having a public API for voice and video in the future.
Skype Consumer for Web
Browser based Skype consumer client, currently in beta. Supporting Internet Explorer, Chrome on Windows, Firefox and Safari. Skype is also available in browser on Outlook.com, Currently using a plugin
OpenH264: OpenH264 is an implementation of the H.264 video codec. It was released as open source by Cisco, who have paid royalties for it to the MPEG-LA. The idea behind the OpenH264 initiative is that by making it freely available, it gives H.264 more of a chance to become the mandatory to implement video codec in WebRTC.
H.265: is a video compression standard, a successor to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding
VP8: VP8 is a highly efficient video compression technology that was developed by On2 Technologies. Google acquired On2 in February, 2010.
VP9: The successor to VP8, proposed by Google for use in WebRTC.
The codecs selected by Microsoft include H.264 and G.722 and at least for now preclude VP8. The inclusion of G.722 is surprising, and was either added for interconnecting to existing Lync/enterprise deployments with HD voice or to HD voice on cellular networks without the need for transcoding.
ORTC API Update Presentation from Hookflash, Google and Microsoft