5 Facts about WebRTC

WebRTC is an open source framework that provides Real-Time Communications (or simple RTC) from a web browser. Here are some facts that you should know about WebRTC before you start to use it over other technologies.


Image Source: WebRTC


What is WebRTC?

WebRTC is an API (short for application programming interface) standard for enabling real-time audio and video communication. WebRTC is browser-based and therefore you don’t have to install special programs or to download additional drivers or plugins. Moreover, it doesn’t need installation of updates.


Who is behind WebRTC?

WebRTC is an open-source project supported not only by Google but also by Mozilla and Opera. Furthermore, there are lots of other companies, that are working on particular parts of the project. So, for example, Cisco and Ericsson are working on this in standardisation forums. Thus, the API and underlying protocols are being developed at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).


What are supported browsers & platforms?

WebRTC enables multi-platform (Microsoft Windows, iOS, Android etc) support via the use of a WebRTC capable browser (Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera). In addition, WebRTC includes NAT / firewall traversal capabilities to allow calling outside the private network.


Which video codecs does WebRTC use?

WebRTC uses both video-compression formats VP8 as well as H.264. The first one, VP8, is owned by Google and is supported by Google Chrome, Opera and Mozilla Firefox. The second one, H.264, has existed for more than a decade. The main difference between these standards is that developers have to pay royalties to use H.264, while VP8 has a royalty-free public license.


Which companies are using WebRTC?

Royal Bank of Scotland: To facilitate more personalised service no matter where their customers are in the world, Coutts & Co (owned by RBS) offers the Coutts Client Video Meeting Portal service to their wealth managers and private bankers.

Double Robotics: The Double is an ultra-slick iPad on wheels controlled via a remote web app or iOS device. OpenTok on WebRTC for iOS powers the video streams between users and is integrated seamlessly into the robot’s interface.

Minerva Project: The Minerva project aims to reinvent the university experience through offering exclusively online courses to their students. Using the OpenTok platform, Minerva enables students to interact with one another & their teachers, share resources and collaborate in real time creating a powerful and productive virtual learning environment.

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Nadiia Gunko