Not Your First WebRTC Rodeo? Give It a Second Chance
Posted On September 9, 2017 by Chip Wilcox in Blog, Media
A little over a year ago I had an opportunity to speak with a team of developers at a social media application company. We were comparing notes on our respective experiences with WebRTC. They all expressed their excitement about the potential for WebRTC to enable real-time communications in all kinds of apps.
However, only two of them had actually tried to work with the technology, and their experience was less than ideal. They had done some testing and “played around” with WebRTC in late 2012, a year after it was announced as an open source project by Google. Unfortunately, WebRTC was very difficult to work with at that time, and they had to abandon their efforts to explore its capabilities because it was clear it wasn’t ready for prime time.
Over the last six months or so, I have spent more time at events and conferences where I’ve met with CxO’s, product managers, and all kinds of developers. It’s my job to learn about their experiences with real-time communications and to gauge where we are on the road to making the embedding of real-time features in apps ubiquitous, versus the exception to the rule.
Today’s focus tends to be on how to improve customer engagement by enhancing “the digital experience.” When I talk about throwing WebRTC into that mix, what I hear is usually something like, “We love the idea but is it really scalable/secure /reliable/ready…?”
Many more people know of WebRTC than a couple of years ago. However, the impressions and experiences people had with it then still color their impressions of the technology today. We think that’s a bit unfair.
Has this happened to you with WebRTC?
Have you tried to embed real-time communications features in your website or mobile app? Maybe you’ve even used WebRTC? And perhaps you realized that getting it to work (at all) was much harder than you originally anticipated. Or, maybe you looked into the technology and wanted to move forward with it, but you didn’t have the infrastructure to easily support the solution you envisioned.
And now, like many others, you’re skeptical about trusting WebRTC as a core part of the technology stack you use to support your customer interactions.
The game has changed. A lot.
Much has changed in two years. When I first wrote “The WebRTC Race Begins Today” in February 2015, I really thought that WebRTC was just getting its legs and starting to work reliably enough to build a business around.
I was very passionate about WebRTC back then. Yet, all of that enthusiasm meant little when what we really needed was to see real businesses — and for Temasys, real customers — adopt the technology and pave the way for players in a number of different industries to learn about and use it effectively.
We also had much to do to make the technology even easier to use and more accessible to developers of all stripes, and to make it reliable and scalable, truly enterprise-grade. Compared to today, it was like the Wild West.
Well, it’s 2017. We are confident when we say that the WebRTC experience people have today is vastly and positively different from the way things were in 2015. When I look back over how far WebRTC (and Temasys) have come over the past two years, it’s clear by any measure that the quality of experience we can deliver with WebRTC has improved by leaps and bounds.
Today, WebRTC may not be a household name for developers. Yet, businesses of all sizes actively use WebRTC, including large enterprises with household names.
Facebook is still probably the most widely recognized company using WebRTC (its own version) for its video chat service. For our part, Temasys has grown to earn a customer base covering a variety of industries including social media, unified communications and collaboration, webinars, healthcare, education and e-learning, HR & recruitment, and many others, including some that we never imagined we might support.
And when we see forecasts that suggest WebRTC may be used for up to 15 percent of enterprise video and voice communications by 2019, we’re skeptical about that possibility, in the least.
How has the technology changed?
In its earliest form, anyone wanting to use WebRTC would have had to build their solutions from scratch. Building an application that was stable, reliable, and scalable required an enormous effort. This was especially so for anyone without prior experience working with telecommunications or audio and video conferencing technologies.
Many people learned how to make WebRTC work by trial and error. It was painful, to say the least. It was certainly not easy to see how WebRTC would fulfill the promise of democratizing audio and video real-time communications. Ensuring compatibility and interoperability between web browsers and mobile apps was yet another factor limiting adoption.
Today, the whole process is much easier for developers, thanks to the progress made by platform as a service (PaaS) providers like Temasys. As a PaaS provider, we give developers access to APIs and SDKs that help them easily implement real-time communications features in apps without having to build and manage the underlying infrastructure to supports them.
These tools help our customers build and ship applications that include contextual real-time communications features, extremely fast, with great results in terms of reliability and scalability, thanks to the use of cloud computing to enable webscale deployments.
If At First You Don’t Succeed
Perhaps you’re still not sure about whether WebRTC is ready for prime time. I would encourage you to give it a second (or third) shot. Are you ready to learn more about how Temasys can help you have a positive WebRTC experience? Contact us today.