What is WebRTC?

WebRTC (real-time communications) is a communications standard that enables Web application developers to write rich, real-time multimedia applications – such as video chat – on the Web. However, unlike previous developments, WebRTC doesn’t require additional plug-ins, downloads or installations because the Web browser is the application itself; it comes fully equipped with everything you need to engage in real-time, multimedia communications.

If you’ve been scratching your head lately as to what WebRTC means and, perhaps more importantly, what it can mean for your business, then you’ve come to the right place. On an official site maintained by the Google Chrome team, some important terms are outlined for us:

Your Web App: A third party developer Web-based application equipped with both video and audio chat capabilities. This is powered by the Web API for real-time communications.

Web API: An API used by third party developers to develop Web-based, multi-media applications.

WebRTC Native C++ API: An API layer that enables browsers to more easily implement the Web API proposal.

The site also addresses terms concerning transport/session, VoiceEngine and NetEQ for Voice.

So, how does WebRTC work? The technology has been widely touted as the end-all solution for incompatibilities in real-time communications. For some time, the only way for users to engage in audio or video calls from a computer was by downloading proprietary software – like Skype or OoVoo – to create an account to do so. WebRTC, however, facilitates browser-to-browser communication with no downloads necessary.

The WebRTC initiative is a project supported by Google, Mozilla and Opera, and the WebRTC API is now currently available on Chrome’s stable version and Firefox’s Beta version.

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