Videoconferencing is supposed to transform the business. Save money, effective meetings, better collaboration. Video software vendors pushing for their agnostic solutions, and hardware vendors still trying to sell you boxes. WebRTC is supposed to democratize videoconferencing the way browsers democratized Web access. Okay, so maybe Skype gets the that badge of honor, but truth be told netizens expect a certain transparency when it comes to democratizing technologies, and Skype has been proprietary.
So perhaps WebRTC, initiated by Google and offered as open source, should become the democratizing force for videoconferencing. After all, the promise is to enable real-time video between any browser. Yes, on the desktop and/or on the mobile device.
Unfortunately, WebRTC isn’t a standard yet and lacks support from the two other browser makers: Microsoft (Internet Explorer) and Apple (Safari). Well, maybe not “lack of support” per se, but more so “let’s agree to disagree”… Therefore, WebRTC remains something that is enthusiastically hacked and widely demoed, but still shun by most users, especially in the enterprise.
That’s why it’s so important to note what companies like Weemo and TokBox are doing. If you are not familiar with these two companies, let’s just say they are not newbies to the videoconferencing game. Both have headquarters in San Francisco and are well funded. Their products are Web-centric and user friendly. They really want to bring videoconferencing to the general population. No need to download a client, just fire up the browser and go.
To further their cause, Weemo and TokBox have looked beyond the desktop and set sights on enabling mobile videoconferencing on iOS and Android devices. Skype and FaceTime are cool, but the mobile app ecosystem have many more to offer and tons of developers wanting to embed real-time video interaction in their apps. Weemo and TokBox are blazing the trail by offering WebRTC-powered APIs to interested developers.
Yes, WebRTC is still toddling, but having companies like Weemo and TokBox along its side is encouraging. It’s only a matter of time for WebRTC to mature, but thanks to these companies we get to witness WebRTC’s potential as it grows.