Flash VoIP to expand

You may not have used Flash to make a call to a friend over the weekend, but chances are you could be doing that in the not too distant future.

You may not have used Flash to make a call to a friend over the weekend, but chances are you could be doing that in the not too distant future.

VoIP has been available in the Flash Player for some time now - the large number of Breeze (now Adobe Connect Professional) users can attest to that, but in news that was revealed over the weekend it seems that a team within Adobe have been working towards integrating open VoIP standards into the Flash Player.

And they're serious about what they're doing enlisting the help of Dr Henry Sinnreich, the Godfather of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). Its ability to create, modify and terminate sessions means that SIP is an ideal protocol for VoIP, but it's only one of many currently in use that the team will have to work with - no doubt squeezing all of this into the Flash Player is the greatest challenge of the project.

Adobe's beefing up of the Flash Player's capabilities doesn't mean that they're about to challenge Skype head on, according to an insider, but they do hope that the player will develop further as a platform for applications that give users new possibilities not yet foreseen.

Protocols alone do not a messaging service make, the connectivity they offer still requires the servers and networks to interconnect users - but the news here is that Adobe appears to be providing an open box rather than a locked one so that we can leverage existing technologies.

Why is this really big news, well think of the millions of users daily connecting to YouTube and MySpace to take one example - keeping them on the page for their communication is going to do wonders for the brand loyalty. I'd like to see it being used for stuff that we haven't thought of - think of this, Flash can be embedded into an application.

If you're a Flash or Dreamweaver user you might be familiar with the splash page that lists your most recent files and has links to new templates, it also has an embedded Flash movie that keeps you informed of product news. Why not take it further and give users a way of keeping connected via the application itself, have an online Flash community embedded right there in the Flash IDE!

I've been following the US release of Sony's Mylo, a handheld device that in addition to being a multimedia player offers connectivity to Skype for VoIP and both AOL and Yahoo! chat networks when there's a WiFi network present. A mobile version of the Flash Player with VoIP would offer the promise of these features without having to develop multiple applications. It's a cleaver move on Adobe's part, I hope that they can pull it off with the right number of protocols.