Flash to Speak VoIP?

by Bruce Stewart

After a quick perusal of my VoIP-related RSS feeds this morning it was clear that something interesting was going on over at Adobe. Om broke the story last night that Adobe is working on adding VoIP functionality to its ubiquitous Flash media player:

And now Adobe Systems wants to replicate its success in video space in the Voice over the Internet (VoIP) arena, making it easy to embed voice into web applications. GigaOM has learnt of a secret start-up project currently being incubated by the $1.9 billion in annual sales software giant. Some members of this startup come from the Macromedia Breeze (now called Acrobat Connect Professional) conferencing group. (Breeze is a Flash based web-conferencing system, much like WebEx.) Though less than a year old, the start-up has started to attract some serious VoIP talent.


The charter for the start-up is to enhance “Flash” and add support for various voice-over-IP protocols including SIP. They have to come up with ways to make Flash-based-voice work with some of the commonly used signaling systems. These are huge challenges, but if they can overcome all these issues, they could be onto something big. For starters, they could enable web based calling, and prevent the technical hell that comes with many soft phones of today.

VoIP bloggers rightly jumped on this story, as it could be a very big deal. Om points out that just one of the possible killer apps here is if mobile Flash starts supporting VoIP, this could be an end-run around all the companies working on adding VoIP and wifi capabilities for mobile phone users. Tom Keating whipped out an interview he did with an unnamed developer at Adobe about this project, and looks at the possibilities this could lead to in the social networking space. Alec Saunders thinks it's a great idea though points out that there are some serious technical hurdles to get over before Adobe could truly create a standardized VoIP platform. Ken Camp sees it as more proof that VoIP is rapidly evolveing into the unified communications tool we often talk about in these circles and that Adobe is showing some real foresight and leadership in this area.

While I may not get up as early as some of my fellow VoIP bloggers, I share their excitement at this development.