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March 11, 2014

Using WebRTC for Virtual Team Interactions

As technology in ICT keeps evolving, what was previously only available at the workplace is now becoming accessible to the public at large. This has changed the way in which organizations view the work place, with an increasing number of companies changing their philosophy by making work an outcome and not a place. This is a big shift in the existing paradigms of the employer/employee association. With talent readily available around the world, virtual teams can be established in which the location becomes secondary to achieving the shared goals of the organization or team. Making video communications a standard tool is an essential component in maximizing the efficiency of virtual teams.

According to social science research, 80 to 90 percent of what we communicate comes from body language, which makes video communication an important asset to fully engage everyone in the team. Just like any other tool, organization must establish a code of behavior for calling meetings only when necessary and using the technology to move the overall agenda forward. If an issue can be addressed using email, then by all means it should be used.

Depending on where the team is located and what type of technology they're using, compatibility issues can create problems. Establishing open communication tools such as WebRTC video can provide solutions in which protocols that simulate physical office behaviors can be achieved.

Once properly established, a centrally managed platform can provide the team with tools for tracking and commenting on any development that is currently taking place with everyone involved in the project as well as outside assets for consultations or other specialized services.

While WebRTC is designed to be integrated with ease, any established group that is going to perform their task virtually has to be properly trained on how to use the technology and follow the guidelines that have been outlined to communicate with each other. This eliminates unnecessary communication that currently plagues physical offices.

As WebRTC becomes a standard tool, it will be as ubiquitous as email. This will mean individuals will be able to make their talents available to anyone around the world by joining different workgroups as contractors. Freelancers will be able to provide niche services or products no matter where they are as long as the right infrastructure is in place so both parties can collaborate.

WebRTC will change the global work environment by giving anyone who has the capability to perform a task a level playing field when it comes to bidding for a particular project, and businesses will be able to introduce more collaboration solutions by integrating remote home and mobile technologies.

WebRTC provides:

  • A free open-source application programming interface (API) residing in with available browsers
  • Platform and device independent, allowing developers to create applications that can work on any device
  • Secure, with voice and video with always-on voice and video encryption using Secure RTP protocol (SRTP) for authentication of voice and video
  • Advanced voice using the Opus audio codec for producing  high fidelity voice and the VP8 codec for video quality
  • The sessions are reliable by supporting session establishment to increase quality by reducing latency and reducing the server load.
  • It uses multiplexed RTP Control Protocol (RTCP) and Secure Audio Video Profile with Feedback (SAVPF) to avoid congestion and respond to bandwidth availability

Additionally the technology promises to deliver interoperability with existing VoIP and video systems as well as providing developers a license-free voice and video codecs to streamline to development process to introduce application faster to market.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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