Online conferencing has exploded in popularity as businesses realise the value of hosting virtual meetings. Video conferencing systems reduce much of the trouble and expense associated with a traditional round-table meeting, as participants can join from anywhere in the world using nothing but their laptop.
Virtual meetings save cash by reducing travel time and expenses, lost productivity and even the time needed to synchronise the schedules of all attendees to ensure that everyone is available. Then there is the ability to share screens and collaborate on projects in real time – without having to be physically present.
But current platforms have a major problem of interoperability – how can the new WebRTC help your business surmount this issue?
The problem with plugins
There are dozens of virtual conferencing platforms available, each with its own strengths and unique selling points. But every service is reliant on a plugin that needs to be installed on PCs, tablets or smartphones in order to connect to the conference session.
This in itself is not a huge problem for conferences taking place between employees of the same company because only one plugin needs to be installed on devices. More importantly still, your business has control over those devices, making plugin installation relatively easy.
For conferences that involve third parties however, the issue is far less clear-cut. If an attendee has never used your conferencing service before, they will need to install the associated plugin. Under many corporate IT policies however, end users are not permitted to install software – including plugins. This means having to pre-arrange installation before the meeting, or potentially missing out all together.
WebRTC to the rescue
In order to avoid the problem of plugins for video conferencing and collaboration, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C – the body responsible for ratifying internet standards) has developed the Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) API. This toolkit allows for the creation of a video conference call using nothing more than a modern web browser.
WebRTC makes the process of virtual meetings even simpler, by removing the need for software installs, and making it easier to launch a conference or collaboration session. Better yet, almost all of the available web browsers already support RTC – the exceptions being Apple’s Safari and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
To take advantage of this new, simpler method of communicating, all you need do is ensure that the conferencing service you select uses WebRTC technology.