WebRTC: Frictionless Communications
Humans have always needed to communicate. We are a social species, vulnerable to loneliness and keen on group input. Throughout the ages, humans have developed many creative ways to satisfy their need for connection. Before the advent of communications technology in the 20th century, the primary method was face to face meeting. Our communication options continue to increase dramatically as technology presses forward. Given this accelerating evolution, the way we communicate will be radically different in the future.
Consider the browser
Your browser is an example of a quickly evolving communication tool. While today your browser is mainly a medium for the consumption of services, in the near future it will support real-time communication such as voice, video and messaging. In their current capacity, browsers are not useful for real-time activities. With the exception of games, most real-time applications are still delivered natively on the users system and not via web-based interfaces. Because there is no standard negotiation between clients, real–time synchronous browser to browser connections don’t really exist. While we have intricate systems for data lookup, personal communication and service locators (DNS, Email, Search Engines, etc.), there is no direct system to negotiate connections between end-users.
WebRTC represents the first ubiquitous technology specifically facilitating real-time communication and browser to browser connectivity without a middle-man. In layman’s terms: any browser can connect to another browser. We’re not just talking ajax long-polling: we’re talking bona fide real-time. With its capacity for frictionless contact, WebRTC could be the democratization of communications as we know it.
With all of this history in mind, it’s easy to see why we Telco folk are tremendously excited by the prospects of WebRTC. Being able to provide the experience of synchronous video communication without the big price tag is a beautiful thing.
What 2600hz is doing with WebRTC
2600hz builds architectures that power some of the world’s largest telecommunications infrastructures. Many of the architectures we deal with focus on delivering real-time services such as voice and SMS. In addition to more traditional services, these providers are increasingly demanding video communication. Installing the necessary plug-ins and proxying/transcoding data necessary for many video applications can be a headache for end-users. WebRTC makes this headache obsolete. Instead of trying to have a video chat with a call center employee via a downloaded Adobe plugin, WebRTC makes features available instantly without the hindrance of user interaction. Put simply: WebRTC equals frictionless access for all.
WebRTC is also just another medium, as far as the end-user is concerned. Integrating WebRTC in a way that allows common habits people already possess (picking up the phone and dialing, for example) to enable this new technology is paramount to making the technology successful. That is what we are focused on at 2600hz: humanizing technical innovation.