• What is WebRTC?

    WebRTC is a standard enabling plugin-free, Real Time Communications (RTC) in the browser. It includes the fundamental building blocks for high-quality communications such as network, audio, and video components used in voice and video chat applications.

    These components, when implemented in a browser, can be accessed through a JavaScript API, enabling developers to easily implement their own RTC web app.

    WebRTC is made up of three APIs:
    1. GetUserMedia (camera and microphone access)
    2. PeerConnection (sending and receiving media)
    3. DataChannels (sending non-media direct between browsers)

  • Who is supporting the WebRTC standard?

    The development of WebRTC is supported by the W3C, Google, Mozilla, and Opera. Other parties with a vested interest in the standard include Apple, Microsoft, Ericsson, Cisco and countless smaller real-time communications companies.

  • What is the goal of WebRTC?

    WebRTC aims to give the development community access to open, high-quality, real-time communications technology. Before WebRTC, this type of RTC technology has only been available to large corporations who can afford the expensive licensing fees or through proprietary plugins like Adobe Flash. WebRTC will open the door for a new wave of video, voice, and data web applications.

  • What platforms support WebRTC?

    WebRTC is currently supported in Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera. It can be compiled to support Android and iOS.

  • Why is WebRTC important?

    The WebRTC project is incredibly important as it marks the first time that a powerful real-time communications (RTC) standard has been open sourced for public consumption. It opens the door for a new wave of RTC web applications that will change the way we communicate today.

    Significantly better video qualityWebRTC video quality is noticeably better than Flash.
    Up to 6x faster connection timesUsing JavaScript WebSockets, also an HTML5 standard, improves session connection times and accelerates delivery of other OpenTok events.
    Reduced audio/video latencyWebRTC offers significant improvements in latency through WebRTC, enabling more natural and effortless conversations.
    Freedom from FlashWith WebRTC and JavaScript WebSockets, you no longer need to rely on Flash for browser-based RTC.
    Native HTML5 elementsCustomize the look and feel and work with video like you would any other element on a web page with the new video tag in HTML5.

    Watch a status update on WebRTC from Serge LaChapelle and Justin Uberti:

  • 1) Codecs

    • What is VP8?
      VP8 is a video-compression format created by On2 Technologies and owned by Google. VP8 was open-sourced by Google in 2010. When compared to H.264, VP8 is rarely used.
    • What is VP9?
      VP9 is the successor to VP8. As with VP8, VP9 will be open sourced and available for free.
    • What is H.264?
      H.264 is a standard for video compression, and is currently one of the most commonly used formats for the recording, compression, and distribution of high-definition video. H.264 is patented by the MPEG LA group.
    • Which codec does WebRTC use?

      After a long standing debate, the IETF Working Group to arrived at the following consensus in November of 2014:

      1. WebRTC Browsers must implement both VP8 and H.264
      2. WebRTC Non-Browsers/Devices must implement both VP8 and H.264. If compelling evidence arises that one of the codecs is available for use on a royalty-free basis then only that codec can be picked
      3. WebRTC-compatible endpoints are free to implement any video codec they see fit

      To learn more about the long standing debate and consensus please click here.
    • Do either of those video codecs work on mobile devices?
      Yes, both codecs can work on mobile devices. To get truly real-time performance and quality, mobile devices must have hardware to help decode the video. To optimize the experience, platforms like OpenTok will intelligently pick the best codec for each end user based on their mobile device.
  • 2) Browser incompatibility.

    • Do any browsers interoperate with out-of-the-box WebRTC?
      Yes. As of February 4, 2013, Google and Mozilla announced interoperation between Chrome and Firefox. Mozilla released production support of WebRTC in Firefox on June 25, 2013. In addition to desktop support, Google released support for WebRTC in Chrome for Android on August 21, 2013. Chrome for Android interoperates with the desktop version of Chrome as well as Firefox. Learn more here.
    • Is it possible to build WebRTC applications that interoperate across all browsers?
      Yes, through third-party plugins for Internet Explorer and Safari. For example, TokBox offers the OpenTok plugin for Internet Explorer
    • What about Safari?
      Apple is staying quiet at the moment, so it's hard to know where they stand on WebRTC in general. WebRTC implementations do not function in Safari without a plugin.
  • How does the OpenTok platform help me with WebRTC?

    Off-the-shelf WebRTC can only deliver high quality peer-to-peer audio/video conversations between two browsers. But to build applications for the real-world, more than a standard is needed. TokBox delivers the hosted infrastructure, API, SDKs, tools and advanced features to unlock the potential of WebRTC live video, voice and messaging for business through the OpenTok platform.

    The benefits of using the OpenTok platform:

    * Deploy with 10x fewer lines of code than WebRTC off-the-shelf
    * Telefonica-backed global infrastructure - no setup required
    * Intelligent technology that dynamically adapts to deliver a high quality experience to your end users
    * Industry-leading Archiving API that enables secure call recording.
    * Mobile made easy - we provide native app libraries for iOS and Android
    * Supports multi-way calling
    * Provides high-performance, scalable signaling layer
    * Supports enterprise firewall traversal
    * Interoperates between different browsers and mobile devices
    * Offers centralized application management tools
    * Fully customizable

    Start building today or reach out to our Sales team to learn more about how you can use the OpenTok platform.

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  • How are companies using WebRTC?

    Royal Bank of Scotland: To facilitate more personalized service no matter where their customers are in the world, Coutts & Co (owned by RBS) offers the Coutts Client Video Meeting Portal service to their wealth managers and private bankers.

    Double Robotics: The Double is an ultra-slick iPad on wheels controlled via a remote web app or iOS device. OpenTok on WebRTC for iOS powers the video streams between users and is integrated seamlessly into the robot's interface.

    Fluke: A mobile field service app that enables teams to stay on the same page from different locations, only with the ShareLive video call feature. Securely connect and collaborate with others, so they can see what you see.

    Esurance: To expedite claims processing, Esurance's smartphone app enables their customers to video chat with an appraiser, get an appraisal and estimate on the spot.

    Cambly: There’s no better way to learn a language than to talk to a native speaker and that’s why Cambly connects users to native English speakers through high quality video chat right in the browser. With just one click users can connect instantly with a native speaker for valuable conversation time and advice.

    Minerva Project: The Minerva project aims to reinvent the university experience through offering exclusively online courses to their students. Using the OpenTok platform, Minerva enables students to interact with one another & their teachers, share resources and collaborate in real time creating a powerful and productive virtual learning environment.

    Chegg Tutors: Chegg Tutors users can connect with helpful online tutors the moment they need help. With interactions powered by OpenTok, users can connect via video, upload and share documents and use whiteboard functionalities to get the best possible help.

    Read more: Industries + WebRTC
  • What is the media saying?

    June 12, 2015Information Age, Chloe Green
    How the Internet of Things can create new opportunities for Real Time Communications

    June 2, 2015VentureBeat, Emil Protalinski
    Mozilla integrates Pocket into Firefox, updates Developer Edition with new performance tools

    April 15, 2015TokBox Blog, Scott Lomond
    Why WebRTC Will Drive the Next Billion Dollar Company

    March 6, 2015Wired, Katie Collins
    Firefox Hello to allow screen sharing on video calls

    March 2, 2015Telecoms, Auri Aittokallio
    Telefónica makes ‘digital telco’ move through Firefox Hello OTT service

    February 28, 2015TechCrunch, Chip Wilcox
    The WebRTC race begins today

    February 26, 2015GigaOm, David Meyer
    Telefonica’s Tu Go service turns to WebRTC for in-browser calls

    January 28, 2015TechCrunch, Itay Rosenfeld
    Is this WebRTC's year?

    January 7, 2015Network World, Larry Hettick
    AT&T Launches WebRTC Support with API at CES

    January 6, 2015PC Mag, Sascha Segan
    AT&T's WebRTC Takes Calling Beyond the Phone

    December 16, 2014PC World, Ian Paul
    How to start chatting with WebRTC, the no-hassle, in-browser voice and video tech

    December 11, 2014Reuters, Jeremy Wagstaff
    With WebRTC, the Skype's no longer the limit

    December 10, 2014PC World, Juan Carlos Perez
    Google and Avaya to bring Chromebooks and WebRTC to call centers

    November 18, 2014InfoWorld, Paul Krill
    WebRTC hammers out compromise on video codec standards

    October 27, 2014VentureBeat, Emil Protalinski
    Microsoft nears bringing WebRTC to Internet Explorer, eyes plugin-free Skype calls in the browser

    October 16, 2014GigaOm, David Meyer
    Hello Firefox! Mozilla’s browser gets built-in WebRTC video chat through Telefónica partnership

    October 16, 2014VentureBeat, Emil Protalinski
    Firefox 34 beta arrives with ‘Firefox Hello’ calling by Telefonica, Chromecast tab mirroring from Android

    October 2, 2014GigaOm, David Meyer
    Ericsson open-sources OpenWebRTC, providing rival to Google’s WebRTC implementation

    September 4, 2014TechCrunch, Frederic Lardinois
    Firefox Beta Gets Built-In WebRTC Video Calls On Desktop, Chromecast And Roku Video Casting On Android

    September 5, 2014The Next Web, Emil Protalinski
    Firefox 33 beta arrives with WebRTC audio and video calling, sending video to Chromecast and Roku from Android

    June 13, 2014Computer World, Matt Hamblen
    Amazon says the Mayday button on its Fire HDX is a hit

    What are other WebRTC resources?

    The WebRTC Project: The WebRTC initiative is a project supported by Google, Mozilla, and Opera. This page is maintained by the Google Chrome team.

    W3C: The Web Real-Time Communications Working Group is the official body involved in the development of WebRTC.

    IETF: The Internet Engineering Task Force is an open standards organization that is helping to develop and promote WebRTC.

    HTML5 Rocks: HTML5 Rocks is a Google project that offers educational resources about HTML5 through tutorials, videos, and provides information on APIs that are not part of the W3C HTML5 specification.

    BlogGeek.me: Blogger Tsahi Levent-Levi is an experienced telecommunications technologist who covers WebRTC.

    TokBox Blog

    WebRTC on Twitter: See what the Twitterverse is saying about WebRTC.

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