In recent months the video conferencing industry has been abuzz with WebRTC. But what exactly is it? Prior to his speaking obligation at the WebRTC conference , we caught up with our VP of Product Management, Oded Gal, to get a better understanding of this technology and how it will impact the world of video conferencing.
WebRTC stands for Web Real Time Communications; it’s the ability to use your browser natively for real-time, two-way video. With WebRTC you can define your camera and initiate a video call within the browser. Until recently, videoconferencing was limited by downloading a separate application to run the software. WebRTC negates this step because it allows you to do the exact same thing, but inside your browser.
Awhile back, you’d have to use Windows Media Player or download QuickTime to view a streaming video. But video on the Internet really took off because of YouTube, who used Flash and later HTML5 to embed video into the browser. Two-way video is evolving in a similar way. We’re currently encumbered by downloads but WebRTC takes away that need and makes video conferencing much more accessible and easy to use.
Blue Jeans, who is known for its speed of innovation, quickly embraced the new technology. In June of 2012 we released a WebRTC based browser connection to our Blue Jeans video conferencing service. To overcome current WebRTC limitations (WebRTC was still in beta at the time and released in Chrome only this November), Blue Jeans made several enhancements allowing participants to join high quality video meetings from any browser including IE, Safari, Firefox and Chrome.
Since we rolled out our browser option we have seen it become a very attractive option jumping from 0 to over 30% of our endpoint mix almost overnight. Much of this has come at the expense of proprietary clients like Skype.
WebRTC is an exciting advancement and what it really means is the ubiquity of video. It means less technical know-how and 100% ease of use for the customer. Blue Jeans is about interoperability and bringing the video call to everyone. The advent of WebRTC is an extension of that.