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Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC) applications emerge as the tech stabilizes

Michael Frendo, EVP of Worldwide Engineering, Polycom | Aug. 7, 2015
Perhaps the single-most significant standards based technological advancement in the field of unified communications over the past year has been the completion of Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC) standard and the appearance of several WebRTC based implementations.

Perhaps the single-most significant standards based technological advancement in the field of unified communications over the past year has been the completion of Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC) standard and the appearance of several WebRTC based implementations.

WebRTC 1.0 APIs are defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the IETF (Internet Engineering Taskforce) RTCWeb Working Group, and they make it possible for Web browsers to support voice calling, video chat, and peer-to-peer connections.

There has been considerable stabilization of the WebRTC browser implementation over the past year or so, enabling much more robust WebRTC apps to be developed. On the other hand, there still remains considerable and substantial work to be done on the IETF protocols for WebRTC.  

Since the dawn of the WebRTC era, IT professionals have created different strategies depending on the specific needs of their industry. Broadly speaking, developers are strategically using WebRTC in three ways:

  • The most common model is to create WebRTC onramps to legacy collaboration applications. This extends those applications to a broader range of users on a broader range of platforms.
  • Second, there are a host of companies building new collaboration applications based solely on WebRTC. They can leverage the flexibility and development speed of an environment unencumbered by the need to support existing workflows and equipment.
  • Finally, there are a smaller set of companies who are using WebRTC to develop new collaboration capabilities while retaining the ability to integrate with existing mission-critical networks and workflows. 

These three thrusts have resulted in a growing rich ecosystem of open-source software that innovators and early-movers can adopt to jumpstart their WebRTC-based solutions.

Current day WebRTC verticals

Today we are seeing WebRTC implementations across a cross-section of vertical markets. This is a direct result of the significant time developers have invested to make WebRTC one of the most stable and versatile communications tools available today.

Retail: Because of its stability, huge retailers, including Amazon, are using WebRTC based applications to enable their customer service programs. Amazon has enabled Kindles and Fire phones to run WebRTC. Amazon's devices have a button to click that connects consumers with customer service representatives within ten seconds. This ability is just one example that demonstrates confidence in the future of WebRTC.

Healthcare: Telehealth is an area that absolutely demands consistent high-level performance. This need is why firms such as TruClinic, Claris Healthcare and Regroup Therapy are relying on WebRTC to bring patients and healthcare professionals together faster. Of course with telehealth there is the added need for security and WebRTC is flexible enough to allow developers to build in technology for doctors to validate the identity of their patients as well as protect their patients documents. One of the key strengths of WebRTC is its flexibility.

 

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