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November 19, 2013

WebRTC: A Revolution for Peer-to-Peer Communications Between Browsers

While the WebRTC Conference & Expo is underway this week in Santa Clara, Calif., it’s helpful to take some time to speak with some of the movers and shakers in WebRTC technology. The WebRTC standard, which allows for cross-browser video communications between computers and devices with no need to download anything, is expected to shake up communications, both business and personal. The applications are almost endless: from customer support to social networking and even to the healthcare industry, WebRTC will allow more people to communicate with one another both face-to-face and remotely.

Webrtcworld recently spoke with Hadar Weiss, chief technology officer of video streaming company Peer5. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company develops products that enable video content providers to ensure quality of experience at all times while reducing bandwidth costs. Using peer to peer and regular content delivery network (CDN) schemas that work seamlessly within the browser, Peer5 helps video content providers distribute their content in a significantly more efficient and high-quality way.

Peer5 currently uses WebRTC data-channels in its peer-to-peer network, and Weiss told Webrtcworld that Peer5’s technology is integrated at a number of customers who are currently offloading some of their traffic to the company’s distributed CDN, where their end-consumers share data with one another.

“WebRTC made it possible for us to create peer-to-peer communication between browsers without hurting the user experience through user alerts and firewall blockage,” said Weiss, who notes that since the technology is still somewhat in the “hype” phase, Peer5 often has to explain the standard to customers.

Weiss notes that WebRTC will open up new possibilities and challenges for corporate IT departments, especially when “bring your own device,” or BYOD, is concerned.

“From the need to create new tools to make sure communication is secure and policies are enforced, to creating new forms of communications working directly from the device’s browsers,” he said. “We believe WebRTC will slowly expand from browsers to a communication standard, implemented into apps as well.”

Apple and Microsoft have both made rather shaky commitments to WebRTC (unlike Google and Mozilla, for example, who have already built the technology into the newest versions of their browsers). The future actions of the first two companies with regard to the standard are an often discussed issue in the tech industry.

“Our solution will be impacted from Apple and Microsoft’s commitment to deliver WebRTC, but we don’t depend on it,” said Weiss. “If both giants choose to deliver WebRTC, we will be able to deliver greater value, but even with existing supported browsers our solution can deliver substantial value. We believe the impact will be much larger for communication tools (i.e. video conference, chat) based on WebRTC which require it to be implemented everywhere for the tools to be adopted.”

Weiss will be speaking about Peer5’s technology and how the company uses data channels at the WebRTC Conference & Expo this week.  


Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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