So your Flash can do this? WebRTC can do this too. And your Flash can do that? WebRTC can do that too. But can your Flash do what WebRTC can do? No? Didn’t think so.

As you may know, Adobe Flash has owned the video plug-in market for about a decade, then Apple’s Steve Jobs officially declared war on Flash with the launch of iPads in April 2010 when he published his “Thoughts on Flash” article. Companies world wide moved swiftly to adopt “HTML5” solutions for video playback so as to be a part of this new Apple device craze, and Google Android soon followed after Adobe announced support for HTML5 and left the Flash plug-in without a future in mobile streaming. Now, cross-platform interactive streaming has assumed a new incarnation – WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication).

WebRTC picks up where the Flash plug-in left off – at least at the experimental level, it can do the same interactive and collaborative things that Flash can do such as webcam and microphone audio/video streaming, peer-to-peer connectivity, VoIP, and even screen sharing. Then it takes it a step further going beyond what the Flash plug-in is capable of today – it lives right in your cross-platform compatible browser and can connect any internet device whether PC, phone or tablet with super low latency and speedy real-time connectivity! Browsers with WebRTC support currently include Firefox, Opera and Chrome.

Think of the possibilities! WebRTC applications have the potential to power everything from traditional video conferencing to websites that improve readability based on how far away the reader’s head is, as mentioned in Computerworld’s article “With WebRTC, Real-Time Communications Come to the Browser“. The article also mentions that it could revamp the way customer support calls are done with communication that seamlessly integrates video, audio and desktop sharing. Or it could make for new types of real-time collaborative gaming such as Google’s Cube Slam, or maybe a photo booth or audio recording application.

And just how secure is a WebRTC connection, you ask? Security is built into WebRTC in several ways, per Computerworld’s article. First of all, any camera and microphone access is explicitly opt-in. For each session the browser will ask for the user’s permission to allow the application to access the camera and microphone. Next, AES encryption ensures all data shared between peers is encrypted. Lastly, since WebRTC does not use any plug-ins, it runs within the browser sandbox and is limited to only access the user’s computer as much as how any Web application would.

Google's CubeSlam - click to try it.
Google’s CubeSlam – click to try it.

So how can you get your hands on WebRTC and start building apps? And once you build apps, where you could host them in an easy, friendly managed environment? To get started, recommend following the steps listed here on the official website. And when you’re ready to get expert WebRTC hosting, I recommend XirSys. Here, your resident Flash Server experts at Influxis, who have over 10 years of specialized experience in browser-based RTC, have set up the XirSys infrastructure to power all things WebRTC.

XirSys Homepage
XirSys Homepage

While WebRTC is still an open source work-in-progress, and has yet to become officially part of the W3C standards, major companies are showing extreme interest, even the telecommunication industry which many market experts and tech pundits expect to be disrupted by WebRTC.

Yes, not only does it do more than ye olde Flash plug-in, it may soon become the industry standard. Get your skills ready now…



4 Responses to “WebRTC Starts Where Flash Stopped”

  1. Nick Collins

    As exciting as the possibilities of WebRTC are, it still has a LONG way to go. Even among the very few platforms that currently support it, support is limited and the maximum number of clients are few. WebRTC is currently so heavy that most users will struggle to get beyond 4 users in a single session doing audio/video streaming without their available bandwidth and CPU resources becoming a major bottleneck. That is according to the WebRTC experts at TokBox.

  2. Jay

    Technology moves fast. REAL fast. I took a 1 year break from the technical world (job related) and came back to HTML5 and CSS3 being widely supported and Mobile/Tablets becoming the system of choice for browsing the web. Though WebRTC may not be there yet…1 year from now who knows!

  3. Daniel Ferreira

    @Nick, agreed!… obviously the article is a little self serving but beyond that WebRTC has the same limitations as previous P2P tech and in some regards may be worse than what “ye olde Flash plug-in”… just look at the choice of DTLS…That alone may have security focused companies look the other way.

  4. zermok

    what about RTMP/RTMFP? what about vectors? what about ip multicast and application multicast? webrtc is nothing more than a fake open source made by google team who just took all flash functions and integrated it in their browser. the thing that adobe and google don’t care is the millions complex applications built on flash won’t be reprogrammed from scratch for sure, and thus they will enjoy to kill the market another time. webrtc is carp, like javacrap, nothing but another way to control the standards without any free will for alternatives


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