One of the most disruptive innovations you probably haven’t heard of


“one of the most disruptive Web/telecoms innovations in years”

Wow, why am I not aware of this, was the first thought through my head when I read this sentence. After some further reading on the subject I could concur with the statement above and I would have anybody to at least know about it. In this blog I would like to talk about WebRTC.

But what exactly is WebRTC (Web Real Time Communications)? It is an emerging standaWebRTC picrd that enables real-time voice, video and data sharing in a web browser without the need for browser plugins. Whereas browsers normally interact with only one or more Web servers, WebRTC allows browsers to exchange media and data directly and in a secure manner. In simplicity WebRTC is build up by three components;

  • GetUserMedia (camera and microphone access)
  • PeerConnection (sending and receiving media)
  • DataChannels (sending non-media direct between browsers)

WebRTC was introduced in May 2011 by Google as an open source project, but quickly many other interested parties helped develop it. The strength of WebRTC is that ordinary web developers using just JavaScript Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) can easily build video, data and voice collaborations or implement these features without other applications with just some lines of code. WebRTC allows programmers to work with almost no software and not more than a compatible browser. This makes it well more accessible and much more affordable, so WebRTC as a disruptive innovation also encourages new disruptive applications to arise.

Currently Opera, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox as well as their mobile internet browsing applications support WebRTC. Due to the simplicity and interconnectivity of WebRTC it easily links the billions of devices using the above stated browsers and operating systems. So the prediction is that by 2016 three billion WebRTC capable devices exist and one billion individual users use WebRTC. On this moment Safari and Internet Explorer still lack the native support of WebRTC, but several plugins are available for these browsers.

The wide acceptance of WebRTC could destroy products as Skype (direct links through the browser can be made without a program or signup to voice or video call) and sites as WeTransfer lose its benefits since a direct connection can be made throughout the browser. https://www.sharefest.me is a website where you can share a file in 10 seconds without any registration. WebRTC makes ‘making connection’ as easy as just creating a link for other people to click on it to establish it. These are just examples of the impact that WebRTC could have (and is having) on the digital world and the way we communicate.

Sources:

Brent Kelly, E. (2013, May 22). ten things cios should know about webrtc. Retrieved from constellationr: https://www.constellationr.com/research/2013/04/ten-things-cios-should-know-about-webrtc

Paulson, M. (2014, October 11). webrtc world week review coming a browser near. Retrieved from webrtcworld: http://www.webrtcworld.com/topics/webrtc-world/articles/391139-webrtc-world-week-review-coming-a-browser-near.htm

TokBox Inc. (2014). About WebRTC. Retrieved from Tokbox: https://tokbox.com/about-webrtc

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