What is WebRTC? – Overview for Busy People
No other topic is roaming the news and social media as much as WebRTC these days. But what is WebRTC and what should it mean to you?
Today I would like to give you an overview around this trend and where it came from. In this article I would like to try out the “For Busy People” article format by consolidating all hot topics into quick facts to add value to you without getting side-tracked. I know you busy people are busy and so you can just skip the parts of the article that you are not interested in.
What does WebRTC stand for?
WebRTC means Web Real-Time Communication, so we are talking about ways to communicate without any delay, based on a web-browser, without the use of software that needs to be installed beforehand.
What is WebRTC?
WebRTC is an open framework for placing real-time communication components on web-pages and is controlled by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), who are also taking care of other web-standards such as HTML, XML, CSS and others. WebRTC components could include methods such as VoIP, Instant Messaging (or just “chat”), video conferencing or a combination of these. Personally I would count WebRTC to the umbrella of Unified Communications, but the actual use of the WebRTC solutions depend on each enterprise.
Where does WebRTC come from?
WebRTC technology was first developed by Global IP Solutions (or GIPS), a company founded around 1999 in Sweden. In 2011 GIPS was acquired by Google and the W3C started to work on a standard for WebRTC. Since then Google and other major players in the web-browser market, such as Mozilla and Opera, have been showing great support for WebRTC.
How does WebRTC work?
And for our firewall traversal specialists: WebRTC can do STUN, ICE, TURN, RTP-over-TCP and supports proxies. What else do you wish for?
What does WebRTC mean to me?
Imagine the impact of 1,000,000,000+ endpoints. Not bad! This is the potential amount of endpoints talking to each other and making VoIP calls or even video conferences. Even though Microsoft is strongly pushing Skype for desktop video conferencing, they are also making sure that their Internet Explorer is ready to take on the WebRTC challenge.
But the missing link right now is: Will there be interoperability between WebRTC and other Unified Communication solutions? I believe the first developers, making both worlds compatible to each other will have edge.
Examples for WebRTC?
The possibilities are impossible to count. Especially in the age of BYOD everyone has their smartphone always ready and beyond that every notebook and desktop PC could participate in WebRTC. Here are some examples I could think of:
- Customer service via video conference (the end of the service hotline?)
- Working together on documents via web (web-collaboration beyond firewalls)
- Smart-TVs allow you do do video conferences without infrastructure or service running in the back (if there’s a browser – there’s a way!)
- Not interested in video conferences? Have a video diary! (takes only cloud storage and WebRTC)
- WebRTC might change the face of Social Media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter completely if implemented (why not quickly talk about it?)
- Instead of displaying phone numbers to your common window-shopper, provide a QR-code or a NFC space, so users can reach directly to you with their smartphone or tablet (we got a camera, a mic, a speaker – so let’s use them!)
Is there a WebRTC presentation?
You are lucky! Google has recently released a web-based presentation with a lot of interesting slides. I have also added a video below, for your to get some more details on WebRTC, Let me know of your thoughts!
Web Real-time communication – Google I/O 2013 - by Justin Uberti
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This post is also available in: German