THE BLOG
02/05/2014 07:38 BST | Updated 01/07/2014 06:59 BST

The Interesting Accessibility of WebRTC

The next step in the communication revolution is to have a conversation with any person, anywhere in the world, as if they were in the room next to you. The latest development on the road to that becoming a reality is the creation WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication), which is paving the way to reach a new level of connectedness. This API definition accommodates voice calling, video chat and a two-way data sharing channel, which has huge technological capabilities. No longer will programmes be required to be downloaded, it really is as simple as plug and play.

There are huge benefits to not having to download any software or use plugins. This is what gives it the advantage over Facetime or Skype. It is designed to exist as a strong RTC platform that works across multiple web browsers, across multiple platforms. There are thousands of skilled web programmers that have HTML, CSS and JavaScript skills that for the very first time now have access to add real time communications. This is what makes WebRTC interesting, although the technology itself is of interest; the accessibility is what sets it apart from other technological innovations. The WebRTC initiative is supported by Google, Mozilla and Opera and its developers are currently focusing on getting feedback from current users to advance the programme further.

As a result of how easy it is to use we predict that it will have a great impact on the way that we work and the true power of real-time communication is still to be unleashed. Previously for real-time communications a developer needed to know protocols, select stacks and often required licensing. From now on WebRTC browsers such as Chrome and Firefox will have all of this built in and developers can use them with a few simple API calls in their JavaScript. Removing these boundaries will allow for the technology to spread. Users will also no longer have to undergo unnecessary downloads of third party plug ins. Gone will be the days when a conference call is planned and then delayed when it is discovered that one of the crucial attendees has failed to get the correct plugin or app.

There is a great deal of potential to take this technology further, due to how easy it is to use. The web could become far more interactive. For example company websites could include real time video based customer service, like the Kindle Fire Mayday button (although this isn't actually WebRTC). Despite this huge potential WebRTC has not yet become prevalent and there are only a few companies leading the way.

At Powwownow we have been experimenting with the new browser technology throughout 2013 and have developed a demonstration of WebRTC technology that allows multiple users to chat using just a web-browser. Our engineers have innovated and taken the peer-to-peer nature of WebRTC one step further to support the multi-person paradigm.