Online Video Communications with WebRTC

Online Video Communications with WebRTC

We love it when a client gets in touch with a new idea that pushes our talents in new directions and forces us to think outside the old box

This client, from outside Northern Ireland, wants us to provide a real time, secure, web-based video communications platform. Sounds amazing but where do you even begin?

We could opt for off the shelf, but developing a bespoke solution is not only more interesting for us, it ensures our clients are in control of their own product. 

Two areas of technology we had to wrap our heads around were how to deliver video reliably across multiple platforms and devices and also how to bill by the second and chain payments together. I’ll chat about the payments solution another time but let’s look at the first problem and how we are solving it for them.

Introducing WebRTC

WebRTC stands for Web Real Time Communications. It provides a series of components accessed through Javascript that allows Browsers to communicate in real time - think text messaging, audio and what we're after - Video. 

Importantly it is a free, high quality solution that is being standardised with the W3C (the big guys that ensure all these technologies talk to one another regardless of the device or browser you are using). Current support is great with Google Chrome and Firefox. Microsoft Edge is getting there though they are pushing for oRTC, their own standard. It looks like oRTC will be rolled into WebRTC so the only one left to worry about is Safari - it is due to add support soonish (it’s “in development” and my own guess would be announcement in June, rollout in October this year).

Choosing WebRTC was the easy bit! It’s awesome technology but there are a few hoops to jump through regarding network traversal and security.

Currently we have everything working really well on modern Browsers and as soon as the technology rolls out and stabilises we’ll be in a great position to go from concept to full product.

The Internet is the ultimate Open Communications platform. The whole reason we got into this line of work. So it’s great to be working at the forefront of using the latest open standards to improve the way we all interact in the online space. 

So give us shout if you have any great ideas for communicating online!