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WebRTC: Unlock the Power of Video Communication Through Your Browser

We’ve never had more options when it comes to how we communicate. Though choosing the right method or platform isn’t usually complex, it can depend on the context of the message and parties involved.

If you wanted to suggest a drink with friends for later in the week, you might just send a text or email via your smartphone. But if you’re a couple suddenly expecting a child, you’re more likely to want to share the happy news with your loved ones in person, if possible.

Why is that? It just makes sense, right?

Simply put, there are situations where seeing and hearing the person you’re communicating with delivers great benefits for both participants (and the related organization, if that applies). This is why, for example, most of us prefer to use the phone, instead of email, when contacting a customer service department to resolve more complex issues like service problems or billing discrepancies. It’s also why you naturally forge stronger connections with colleagues at real networking events than you would through LinkedIn.

But we’re all equipped to communicate through video now, as well. Most of our devices feature cameras and microphones – and there are numerous apps that facilitate real-time, audio/visual conversation from a distance.

Tap Into Open Source Technology

Several forms of protocols and standards help make this real-time communication possible. But one technology in particular, has quietly gained momentum since it was first introduced five years ago. In fact, this technology – known as WebRTC – either partly or wholly powers the capabilities of apps like SnapChat, WhatsApp, Facebook’s Messenger.com, and Google Hangouts.

But WebRTC isn't a software package you download and install. Its powerful capabilities are built right into most browsers and can be found in open-source libraries for inclusion in mobile apps. With just a few lines of code, your website or app can unlock these capabilities and provide real-time communication between you and your customers.

Enable Video Communication Without Plugins

There could be a lingering perception that implementing real-time audio and video is overly complicated and potentially expensive. But that’s not necessarily the case anymore.

WebRTC was first made available by Google in 2011 as an open source project for browser based communication. A common API standard has led to the adoption in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Opera. So now, audio/video conferencing can be facilitated without requiring the use of plugins.

As a developer, you might be concerned with challenges like these:

  • How do you connect multiple parties that are on different devices, browsers, and networks?
  • How do you handle variable network conditions and firewalls?
  • How can this be achieved economically, given the licensing costs typically associated with telecommunication software and media codecs?

WebRTC helps you address these concerns and more. Its standards-based API eases development and ensures cross browser compatibility. Its network traversal technology helps simplify the complicated process of setting up connections between parties. It’s built on top of open and freely implementable HTML, HTTP, and TCP/IP protocols, with a royalty-free API specification and media codecs. In other words, WebRTC handles the difficult parts, so you can focus on customizing it to your business problem.

Attend Our FREE Webinar

Are you looking for more effective ways for your users to collaborate and share with each other? Perhaps you’re striving to establish stronger, lasting relationships with your customers by interacting with them through audio and video.

If you’d like to learn more, we invite you to sign up for our FREE webinar: Unlock Video Communication Through Your Browser. We’ll provide an overview of WebRTC and show you how you can put it to use for your business.

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A bit about Marty:

Marty has a B.S. in Computer Science and over 15 years of software architecture, development, and management experience - building everything from large scale, enterprise back end systems to innovative client side apps using Meteor.js. In his free time, he loves playing hockey and imbibing Tim Horton's coffee when he's not playing with his three kids.