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OPLIN 4cast #477: Real-time communication in the browser

Posted in 4cast

browser communicationsAbout three weeks ago, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released the latest Working Draft of a specification for WebRTC, and announced that they intend to publish a W3C Candidate Recommendation for WebRTC soon. This is a significant step in a process that started five years ago, with the end goal being the establishment of standards for real-time communication (RTC) between web browsers. Actually, it’s not the browsers that communicate, it’s the people using the browsers. WebRTC makes it possible to move voice, text, and video communication into a website, replacing phones, instant messaging, and video conferencing. A business (or library) using WebRTC can engage customers faster and easier if the only technology needed is a web browser.

  • Making the case for WebRTC (Network Computing | Kevin Riley)  “Consider someone shopping for a home online. Typically, a customer will identify several properties of interest online, take some notes and contact an agent to schedule a live conversation. Now imagine being able to go directly from browsing properties online to initiating a live video call with an agent from the webpage and reviewing the properties online together. Customers could ask live questions, agents could navigate the webpage to point out features and even show related properties online during the session.”
  • Lost opportunities: Real time communications in the 2016 primaries (Real Time Communications | Doug Mohney)  “When it comes to presidential politics, people want to feel like they’ve made a connection with the candidate. Not everyone can come to a live rally, but anyone can attend an electronic town hall. Imagine if one or more of the presidential candidates held a series of ‘Fireside chats’ using WebRTC, answering questions in real time or near real-time via Twitter, Facebook, email, and/or video.”
  • WebRTC is finding a home in North America, especially on mobile devices (FierceEnterpriseCommunications | Chris Talbot)  “The technology has been slow to catch on, but unless something better arrives to take its place, it seems likely the growth would continue after 2020. For networking administration and engineering teams, this likewise means an increase in the amount of time spent managing WebRTC-enabled applications and the infrastructure needed to support them. Many vendors are aiming to make it easier to add WebRTC features to existing and future Web applications, creating additional communications paths into individual enterprises.”
  • WebRTC demand isn’t exponentially growing ( | Tsahi Levent-Levi)  “This situation isn’t really bad. 2015 has been a great year for WebRTC. We’ve seen public announcements coming from larger vendors (call it adoption) as well as the addition of Microsoft into this game. Will 2016 be any different? Will it be the breakout year? The year of WebRTC? I doubt it. And not because WebRTC won’t happen. It already is. We just don’t talk that much about it.”

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