webrtcOnline shopping continues to grow, as well as online banking, but many customers are missing the personal face-to-face guidance on the Internet. However, with the so-called Web Real Time Communications (WebRTC) technique, shop owners can offer just that via video chat.

With WebRTC, each and every user can directly contact the service center of the provider via the browser, and this in fact without having to install any software. This works as the multimedia content is transmitted encrypted, and peer-to-peer from one user to another. When the site visitor wants a consultant to appear via video on his monitor to clarify all questions, he just has to click.

What is WebRTC?

WebRTC is an API definition drafted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that supports browser-to-browser applications for voice calling, video chat, and P2P file sharing without the need of either internal or external plugins.

We all know that web browsers have been first designed as the interface to display information provided by web servers, but today they are actively used to access social networks, as the interface for online games and for exchanging emails and messages, as well as to stream audio and video content. In that way, web browsers have become the main access interface to the Internet.

Up until recently, the communication capabilities of web applications were limited to either text-based communications - such as messaging or email - or non-real-time audio and video, e.g., streaming. The combination of real time services, such as a voice call or a video conference, with a web application was only possible using either a separate application or proprietary plug-ins that lack open specifications and interoperability, hence are often limited to certain platforms.

In order to add real time capabilities to commercial browsers in a standardized manner and move from proprietary solutions, the major standardization groups responsible for the advancement of the Internet protocols and applications have launched the HTML5 and real-time web (WebRTC) initiatives to complement web applications with real time media features.

The W3C draft of WebRTC is a work in progress with advanced implementations in the Chrome and Firefox browsers. Then in May 2011, Google released an open source project for browser-based real-time communication known as WebRTC. This has been followed by ongoing work to standardize the relevant protocols in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and browser APIs in the W3C.

By MediaBUZZ