Insight

What Is WebRTC?

As the demands and expectations of online communications become increasingly sophisticated, the technologies that facilitate it are evolving too. WebRTC – or web real-time communications – is a cluster of protocols and interfaces that enable instant calls, video conferencing, data sharing and more. It’s become the hallmark of digital communications, and is gradually being standardised across the globe.

But what is WebRTC exactly, how does it work, and what does it mean for businesses and consumers? Allow us to give you an insight into this fast-evolving technology.

 

What is WebRTC? How does it work?

WebRTC is an open framework made up of several application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable real-time communications. These APIs work together to facilitate interactions between devices via peer-to-peer connections. It enables you to request, encrypt and send data between two parties.

The technology is a significant shift away from the external plug-ins that were once required to enable real-time communications on a browser. Instead, it can be incorporated directly into web-based applications and mobile apps, allowing for voice, video and data sharing on multiple channels.

Recognising the value of a standardised open framework for communication, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla have come together on this project. However, Apple, a company that traditionally operates closed frameworks, is yet to jump on board.

The question of ‘when will Safari be compatible with WebRTC?’ remains unanswered, although Apple has announced that it’s a work in progress…

 

What can WebRTC be used for?

We’ve alluded to some of the uses for WebRTC already, but it’s important to note how the framework builds on the functionalities of voice, video and data sharing already available online.

By creating a flexible, open source collection of APIs for peer-to-peer communications, WebRTC is levelling the playing field for businesses of all sizes to take advantage of real-time communications. It makes developing chat applications an option for businesses that, once upon a time, would have had to rely on third party platforms, such as Skype.

For example, Impression have been working on a WebRTC platform for our client, PhysioCam, that allows people to receive a live physio session without even leaving their home. The benefits for both client and practitioner are obvious, and could be applied to so many industries.

In the coming years, we’re going to see real-time communications opening the door for rapid advancements in new technologies too. Chatbots are one such example; WebRTC is a stepping stone to artificial intelligence, allowing for automation in the workplace and enhanced engagement with customers online.

It’s an exciting time to be in technology; as a growing web development agency, we’re able to deliver fresh and intelligent solutions to our clients thanks to the emergence of frameworks like WebRTC. With the right support, you too can take advantage of real-time communications, opening up a world of possibility for the way in which you interact with your audience.

 

Curious to learn more? Get in touch with Impression to explore the power of peer-to-peer connections. We’d love to fill you in!