Real Time Communications Featured Article

If You Want Real-Time Communications, You Need WebRTC

December 16, 2014

When was the last time you had to wait for a message to send or a page to download? If you’re like most of today’s mobile society, your patience for technology is next to nothing as you’ve grown accustomed to real-time communications. What once took weeks to receive is now available in mere seconds and anything slower makes us angry. Is this a sign that our society is going in the wrong direction or that we simply want real-time access to information?

I tend to lean toward the latter, putting expectations for speed where they belong. Anticipating that something should happen in real-time doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve lost patience across the board. It simply means that we want technology to perform as it should – quickly, especially when it comes to communications.

The advent of the landline connection without the need for operator help made us accustomed to real-time communications long before the advent of the mobile phone, the Internet or many of the other modern luxuries that seem to have zapped us of our ability to be patient. The next logical step, now that we also have access to other real-time communications offerings, is to demand it on the Web.

This is where WebRTC comes into play. This technology was originally designed as a joint project between Mozilla, Google and Opera to deliver an open platform for direct communications in real-time through the Web browser. Without WebRTC, such communications require the download of a plug-in or the use of the same platform among participants. This may work between known parties, but it doesn’t make sense for companies offering customer care or platforms where webinars are offered to large groups of individuals.

The platform is also designed to work perfectly with VoIP, eventually becoming a part of the overall toolbox of collaborative solutions. While it doesn’t rely on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to work, it WebRTC will co-exist with the technology as companies have already and will continue to make significant investments in VoIP technology. Standardization still needs to catch up, but developers anticipate it’s just around the corner.

The point is this open platform is in demand simply because real-time communications are in demand across the Web portal. Users are increasingly turning to their connected devices – whether mobile or otherwise – to make connections. If they get thwarted by a lack of technology, they’re likely to look to an alternative rather than download the plugin. To stop this churn from happening, companies need WebRTC now and into the future.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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