We have a series of blog posts to release on WebRTC, who is driving WebRTC, Why do we need WebRTC, When and where will it be seen and the Future benefits and possibilities. However first up is an attempt to answer the question What is WebRTC?
“WebRTC is a free, open project that enables web browsers with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple Java script APIs. The WebRTC components have been optimized to best serve this purpose.” WebRTC
WebRTC allows real time peer to peer audio visual communication via a HTML5 compliant browser. Not all browsers have WebRTC capability at present. At the time of writing over 50% of browser support will be available for WebRTC in the coming months, this includes Chrome, Firefox and Opera with Internet Explorer following with their version CU-RTC-WEB in early 2013. There are no plugins required for WebRTC to work and no expensive pieces of hardware either. Just a WebRTC enabled browser, a camera (which is often quite standard on all new laptops), a mic/headset or mic/speakers and your real time communication available to you.
Having WebRTC integrated in a HTML5 enabled browser means you can now make real-time audio video calls to any other WebRTC enabled device including such devices as tablets, smart phones, e-readers etc. The quality of these calls are only limited by the quality of the hardware and the network.
With IETF having set the standard for protocol and signalling, and W3C having set the standard for the APIs for app developers, this means millions of Java Script developers can now deliver and define web based communication. No longer will it be the domain of the small number of SIP developers and VoIP system resellers.
WebRTC has the potential for real change in how we communicate, much the same way the browser did for information. The effect can be that big. What we need is that all invested parties comply with the standards laid down by W3C and IETF; whether this comes to bear only time will tell.
Check out the WebRTC Explained video presentation by Cullen Jennings of Cisco