WebRTC (short for Web Real-Time Communication) is an emerging standard between browsers that provides real-time communication. Many tech experts predict that WebRTC would eventually become a breakthrough technology in communication.
Almost any device running a web browser can make video calls through the WebRTC communication standard. This has the potential to make obsolete specialized web communication apps such as Skype. The main means of contact with site owners will become the web sites themselves. For instance, users will just need to press a button in order to be connected to an online shop’s sales manager.
Today, we will take a look here at the main advantages and disadvantages of WebRTC.
1. Open source code
WebRTC is an open source code based project intended for data streaming between apps and browsers. This new communication standard is supported using the peer-to-peer technology. Google is the original developer of this technology, but today WebRTC is supported not only by Google Chrome, but also Yandex, Opera and Firefox browsers. Other browsers can support WebRTC as well, after installing the additional extension webrtc4all.
2. Strong rival to classic telephony
Today, WebRTC is still a new experimental technology. However, it is forecasted that after standardization and certain improvements, this new communications standard will put pressure on the market of classic telephony. In fact, classic telephony already feels serious competition from more quality and cheaper VoIP services, such as Viber and Skype, or more sophisticated web communication solutions such as the one offered by ezTalks.
3. More security and stability
Despite the fact that this new communication standard is still in the process of refinement and development, there are certain clear advantages of WebRTC over the Flash technology. The WebRTC architecture is considered to have fewer disadvantages than the Flash plugin and to be more logical. Flash has dominated the market until recently, but it has been discontinued from the main web browsers such as Chrome and Firefox. When it comes to browser security and stability against external attacks, WebRTC is certainly the best choice.
4. Better sound quality
Among the benefits of WebRTC is also included the fact that, particularly due to the adjustable built-in microphone settings, this technology provides better sound quality than Flash. WebRTC technology uses G.711 and Opus codecs for transferring audio.
5. Supported by most leading Windows browsers
The many advantages of using WebRTC and the platform’s open source code make the interest in this technology from different businesses to continue growing. Many companies consider using independent solutions as being strategically profitable. This technology is ready to be implemented by some WebRTC developers into existing online business. Today WebRTC API is supported by most leading Windows browsers, including Google Chrome, Opera beta, Yandex and Firefox. Chrome for Android support was also announced back in spring, 2013. WebRTC API comes available as C++ library as well. This allows third-party developers to use the technology in independent solutions.
6. Supporting SIP solutions
SIP solutions using WebRTC API have also begun to appear. Among them, one (callbacker.com) has found commercial use. Another service allows applying different effects on photos directly taken with a web cam and uploaded to a web (webcamtoy.com). A project based on the WebRTC communication standard allows creating networks specialized in transferring multimedia content (peercdn.com). Regardless of its many advantages and these vast possibilities, it is too early to forecast with certitude that it will dominates the market. It still remains to be seen what the position of Apple and Microsoft is in regards to this new communication standard.
1. Still under development
Among the disadvantages of WebRTC is the fact that this communication standard is still under development. This is considered as a main difficulty about WebRTC, since the code used now may undergo important changes in the near future. The existing WebRTC API version 1.0 is only a working draft.
2. Incertitude regarding the future codecs
Another serious problem among WebRTC disadvantages is the list of necessary codecs. All the participating companies have come to the agreement at the moment to only on one thing. They agreed that WebRTC’s main codec will be cross platform and supported by all browsers. Up to date has been used the royalty free VP8 codec. However, some companies, including Cisco, insist on using non free codecs H.264 and H.265. If the proposal will be accepted, this will become a problem for third-party software developers.
WebRTC will hardly replace traditional VoIP and telephony services until completely developed. Tech experts predict that, at first, because it doesn’t require any telephone numbers, this technology will be mostly used as a “social” voice communication solution. However, despite its current disadvantages, WebRTC has a lot of potential and in the nearest future it may gain a large share of communication market.
Despites its current disadvantages and the fact that the WebRTC idea has a lot of critics, there is certain potential for future development. Right now the technology is supported only by a limited number of browsers and it is not cross platform. However, there’s still a strong possibility that the WebRTC communication standard will soon become dominant on the telephony market.
There are such previous examples in the history of communication technologies. For instance, back in 2004-2005 the wide spread of Skype was a real shock for providers. At that time, it was even considered the introduction of laws to limit Skype. However, the progress cannot be easily stopped and this may be as well the case for WebRTC.
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