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Microsoft adopts WebRTC – what’s next?

The possibilities offered by WebRTC are multifaceted and far-reaching.

WebRTC made waves in the news last week. Disruptive Analysis heralded it as “the most important new communications technology of the decade.” In the WebRTC Market Status & Forecasts report, they estimate that by 2019 more than 2 billion people will actively use these communications solutions on over 6 billion WebRTC-compatible devices.

Potential WebRTC users by 2019
Source: Disruptive analysis 2014 WebRTC report

These are powerful assertions, and the industry seems to agree. From Microsoft’s announcement that Microsoft adopts WebRTC and it will support the technology for Skype in IE, to Google’s integration of the tool in Hangouts and Ericsson’s relaunch of Bowser – the signs are there.

Streamroot has long believed in the power of WebRTC. It is the foundation of our solution, which builds on WebRTC’s ability to seamlessly connect video watchers and on the efficiencies created by more decentralized, server-less communications.

For those new to the technology, WebRTC enables real-time communications directly in the browser, i.e. without having to install a separate plugin or application. Cheaper and easier than other means of communication, WebRTC allows users to interact seamlessly over different types of software and browsers. With Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera and now Internet Explorer, 85% of Internet users will soon have access to the technology.

Real-time voice and video are perhaps the most obvious uses for WebRTC, but the tool also has enormous potential for user-to-user data transfer through its Data Channel.

From APIs and platforms designed for developers (like our friends Apidaze and Bistri in Paris) to turnkey WebRTC-based services, let’s take a look at a few of the innovations currently under development across various industries. A taste of how far-reaching this technology really is…

Private and secure connections

A lot of attention has been given to enterprise communications, and to how simplified real-time video could increase productivity and team building across geographical distances. The Twinme application, built for both personal and corporate use, allows private voice and video conversations and real-time texting using peer-to-peer connections. Veeting Rooms meanwhile specializes in real-time video conferencing. Combined with the privacy offered by WebRTC mesh networks, we are bound to see more and more services of this kind in the future.

Direct encrypted connections are equally useful for highly regulated sectors that require heightened security and authentication. Take the healthcare industry, for instance, where companies like TruClinic use WebRTC to facilitate secure virtual doctor’s visits and a host of other telemedicine services.

Note: WebRTC’s privacy capabilities can work in the other direction as well. Blippex – a search engine that ranks results based on the time users spend on each suggested page – uses the technology to guarantee searchers’ anonymity through a peer-to-peer anonymization chain.

Direct file transfer

The Data Channel allows for direct and secure sharing of all types of data. The days of needing to upload voluminous files to Google Drive or use server-based sites such as WeTransfer are numbered, as WebRTC makes this possible directly from one device to another. Extended to large-scale file sharing, WebRTC offers the possibility of networked sharing systems. Using the technology to index transferred files, a website could become an information hub even without having to store or distribute data; it would simply need to identify which segments are where and establish a data channel between users.

Which leads us to a final set of practical applications…

Bandwidth reduction and improved user experience

The most bandwidth- and server- intensive activities – one of Streamroot’s favorite topics – are prime grounds for innovation. WebRTC unlocks great potential for multiplayer gaming, for example, where direct connections, low latencies and a lightened load could potentially offer more immersive experiences. Less conventional applications are also beginning to surface, such as PeerMesh, which uses peer-to-peer networks to optimize geographic information systems.

With Streamroot’s peer-to-peer based video delivery solution, we too are harnessing the power of WebRTC’s mesh capabilities to reduce bandwidth costs, better regulate traffic flows and improve quality of service.

With its seemingly endless applications, Streamroot firmly believes that WebRTC will revolutionize the way we communicate in years to come. We’re excited to be a part of it.

If you’re interested in learning more about how WebRTC works, check back soon for a more in-depth look at how to use the Data Channel!


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