Google came up with WebRTC project in 2011. RTC here stands for real time communications. WebRTC means the browser becomes the interface for communications. It works on Chrome, Safari, Edge, Firefox and mobile browsers too. You are freed from the burden of having IP specific hardware and software for chat and conferencing when WebRTC becomes the base. That makes it the perfect communication solution for a small business employing 5 people for organizations with hundreds of employees.
How WebRTC works?
WebRTC is not an app or software you download and start to us. WebRTC must be incorporated through a set of APIs:
- RTC Peer Connection is at the heart of WebRTC. It enables and establishes direct connection with peers. One need not go through an intermediary server. This API also takes care of codec implementation, packet control, bandwidth management, media transfer and NAT Traversal.
- The RTC Data Channel API handles bi-directional transfer of audio-video or other data using UDP streams and Stream Control Transmission Protocol for fast and reliable delivery of packets.
What the foregoing means is that WebRTC is not something that can be used right out of the box. You need webRTC developer to implement the APIs to create a communication platform. It also means that you can entirely sidestep the familiar VoIP based communications systems like IP PBX. Users do not have to download software or plugin. The browser is the platform and you can use browsers on desktops or mobile devices.
Factors favoring WebRTC
One important factor in favor of WebRTC is that it overcomes the hurdles presented by intermediary routers and gateways using Interactive Connectivity establishment, Session Traversal Utilities for NAT and Traversal Using Relays around NAT.
WebRTC takes care of another important task and that is handling audio and video media codecs. It makes use of PCMU G.711u, G711a and Opus, at 48KHz for audio and VP8 and H264/AVC for video.
It can connect users on a peer to peer basis or through a mesh topology, entirely side-stepping the server. The only drawback is that it imposes a heavy load on the CPU should the number of participants increase.
All these happen in the background. Users simply use the setup to initiate audio or video chat/conference, invite participants who may not necessarily have the plugin but can join through an authentication system using their mobile or desktop. Its versatility is simply unmatched for a number of use case scenarios.
WebRTC’s audio-video chat and document exchange facility makes it ideal for doctor-patient consultation scenario. The doctor can view the patient and check symptoms on his phone or desktop computer screen. The patient can show pathology reports on screen during the HIPAA compliant video conference. WebRTC developers can incorporate and integrate sensors that measure heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar for a more detailed patient examination. This is just one scenario. Then you have another in which a group of doctors can consult with each other to discuss a patient’s condition and determine best line of treatment. A GP may pass on patient records to a specialist and they may hold video conference discussions.
Why only doctors? The legal profession is one prime area where WebRTC can work wonders. Possible use case scenarios:
- Lawyer-client interaction with sharing of documents relating to a case.
- Lawyer-lawyer consultation when working as a team on a specific case
- Remote virtual courtrooms
- Recording witness testimony
Apart from facilitating inter-branch collaboration, WebRTC can be employed for:
- Loan application interviews or to ask for clarification on any document pertaining to loans
- Insurance claims processing when a client interview or discussion is necessary prior to arriving at a decision.
- Conference of branch managers and conference of agents
A full-fledged call center requires sophisticated software with a host of features. However, with WebRTC, anyone can start a call center service from home with nothing more than a desktop equipped with a webcam, headphone and microphone. The operator may employ agents who work from home using their smartphones. This scenario can be put into use by eCommerce sites and by companies to provide a delightful customer experience through audio-video chat. It can be set up on the website itself to encourage customer interaction through WebRTC audio-video. Regular call centers can engage WebRTC developers to add WebRTC to their existing call center software.
Business to business communications
Most businesses make use of IP PBX systems for communications. This solution, if it is a unified one, allows for email, fax, SMS, voicemail and voice. Retain WebRTC developers to provide WebRTC API Integration. Your IP PBX now gains audio-video chat and conferencing facility that works alongside the SIP stack.
WebRTC has multipoint control feature that allows participants in a conference regardless of internet connectivity and speed at their end or codec mismatch. WebRTC handles it all with supreme ease. You may have anywhere from 10 to 1000 participants located all over the world and not a single participant experiences a glitch. If there is internet outage, session rehydration is a trivial matter.
One thing about WebRTC that businesses will appreciate is security. It offers embedded encryption and developers may incorporate another layer for peace of mind. SRTP uses Advanced Encryption standard keys to secure audio video data. Further, users must explicitly grant permission for access to camera, speaker and microphone.
WebRTC is so convenient. You talk, see each other and share documents on screen in real time without leaving the conference. You could say it is a game changer in corporate communication – affordable and versatile.
Regular video conferencing done the traditional ways requires specialist hardware and software with the constraint of every participant needing to use the software or be in the room. WebRTC does away with these constraints and proves to be cost effective. Startups, for instance, need not invest in any VoIP solution at all; a hosted WebRTC solution gives them top notch communication facility.
Businesses may have headquarters in one country, sales office in several locations and a production center in yet another country. Coordination becomes a challenge, especially in cases of custom designs where interaction between sales, production engineers and customers is so vitally important. WebRTC makes it easy for everyone to connect, review drawings and designs, discuss costs and arrive at a decision. WebRTC becomes the pipeline to speedy production.
Content and media delivery
Small independent content producers can use WebRTC for live streaming or on demand delivery of media. WebRTC has inherent security and authentication feature. It can be used to stream content through the browser interface, making it easy and affordable for both content creators and content consumers. Why only small content producers? Even regular larger media houses will find webRTC a great solution to stream content and also to check talent through a remote interview and performance review.
Education is one area where WebRTC can bring about radical transformation. Users simply need to have an internet connection and a smartphone to join online classes. Educators, whether these are individuals running coaching classes, or schools and colleges will find WebRTC conferencing solution one of the best and most affordable tools to conduct educational classes online.
In times of pandemics and social distancing there have been instances of wedding over video. People have tied the knot and conducted ceremonies even though separated by distance. YouTube is good but it is one way video. WebRTC is grand because it is two way interaction to get things done.