WebRTC isn’t the only cool media API on the Web Platform. The Web Virtual Reality (WebVR) spec was introduced a few years ago to bring support for virtual reality devices in a web browser. It has since been migrated to the newer WebXR Device API Specification.
I was at ClueCon earlier this summer where Dan Jenkins gave a talk showing that it is relatively easy to add a WebRTC video conference streams into a virtual reality environment using WebVR using FreeSWITCH. FreeSWITCH is one of the more popular open source telephony platforms and has had WebRTC for a few years. WebRTC; WebVR; Open Source – obviously this was good webrtcHacks material. ...Continue reading
The Chrome Webstore has decided to stop allowing inline installation for Chrome extensions. This has quite an impact on WebRTC applications since screensharing in Chrome currently requires an extension. Will the
getDisplayMedia API come to the rescue?
Screensharing in Chrome
When screensharing was introduced in Chrome 33, it required implementation via an extension as a way to address the security concerns. This was better than the previous experience of putting this capability behind a flag which lead to sites asking their users to change that flag… that got those sites an official yikes. ...Continue reading
One of WebRTC’s biggest challenges has been providing consistent, reliable support across platforms. For most apps, especially those that started on the web, this generally means developing a native or hybrid mobile app in addition to supporting the web app. Progressive Web Apps (PWA) is a new concept that promises to unify the web for many applications by allowing web-based apps to look and act like native mobile ones without introducing an intermediary hybrid framework. As will be discussed, this approach has a lot of advantages, but does it make any sense for a WebRTC app? ...Continue reading
I am a big fan of Chrome’s webrtc-internals tool. It is one of the most useful debugging tools for WebRTC and when it was added to Chrome back in 2012 it made my life a lot easier. I even wrote a lengthy series of blog post together with Tsahi Levent-Levi describing how to use it to debug issues recently.
Firefox has a similar about:webrtc page which shows the local and remote SDP for each page as well as a very useful grid of ICE candidates. But unlike Chrome it does not show the exact order of API calls or nice graphs obtained from the getStats API. I miss both features dearly. Edge and Safari don’t support similar debugging helpers currently either. ...Continue reading
Back in October 2013, the relative early days of WebRTC, I set out to get a better understanding of the getUserMedia API and camera constraints in one of my first and most popular posts. I discovered that working with getUserMedia constraints was not all that straight forward. A year later I gave an update after the situation with Chrome was greatly improved, but Firefox at the time effectively only supported a single resolution so constraints were not much help. Specifically, I am interested in understanding what happens when you ask for a specific resolution. You might want to have a specific resolution returned by getUserMedia if you want to match the camera resolution to a specific video area to have a 1 to 1 pixel correlation, in a computer vision application where each pixel represents a distance, or if you are dealing with non-standard video devices. ...Continue reading
If you are new to WebRTC then you have missed out on years of drama in the standards bodies over various issues like SDP and codecs. These standards dictate what vendors must implement so they ultimately dictate the industry roadmap. To get a deep perspective and appreciation of the issues, we like to ask Dan Burnett, W3C editor to comment on where we are at with the standardization process. I caught up with Dan at this year’s IIT Real Time Communications Conference and had the more detailed Q&A with him shortly thereafter.
We asked Dan to comment on recent spec changes, ORTC, the next version of WebRTC, codecs, Apple, when the 1.0 spec might ever be finalized, and a whole lot more.
As a reader of this blog, you probably know what WebRTC is but let me quote this:
WebRTC is a new set of technologies that brings clear crisp voice, sharp high-definition (HD) video and low-delay communication to the web browser.
In order to succeed, a web-based communications platform needs to work across browsers. Thanks to the work and participation of the W3C and IETF communities in developing the platform, Chrome and Firefox can now communicate by using standard technologies such as the Opus and VP8 codecs for audio and video, DTLS-SRTP for encryption, and ICE for networking. ...Continue reading
“This release [build 10525] lays the groundwork for ORTC” was quite an understatement. It was considered experimental and while the implementation still differs from the specification (which is still work in progress) slightly, it already worked and as a developer you can get familiar with how ORTC works and how it is different from the RTCPeerConnection API.
If you want to test this, please use builds newer than 10547. Join the Windows Insider Program to get them and make sure you’re on the fast ring. ...Continue reading
A couple of decades ago if you bought something of any reasonable complexity, odds are it came with a call center number you had to call in case something went wrong. Perhaps like the airline industry, economic pressures on contact centers shifted their modus operandi from customer delight to cost reduction. Unsurprisingly this has not done well for contact center public sentiment. Its no wonder the web came along to augment and replace much of this experience – but no where near all it. Today, WebRTC offers a unique opportunity for contact centers to combine their two primary means of customer interaction – the web and phone calls – and entirely change the dynamic to the benefit of both sides.
To delve into what this looks like, we invited Rob Welbourn to walk us through a typical WebRTC-enabled contact center infrastructure. Rob has been working on the intersection of telephony and web technologies for more than 8 years, starting at Covergence. Rob continued this work which eventually coalesced into deep enterprise and contact center WebRTC expertise at Acme Packet, Oracle, Cafe X, and now as an consultant for hire.
Please see Rob’s great technology brief on WebRTC architectures in the Contact Center below.
If ever there was an area where WebRTC is expected to have a major impact, it is surely the contact center. By now most readers of this blog have seen the Amazon Kindle Fire commercials, featuring the get-help-now Mayday button and Amy, the annoyingly perky call center agent:
Those in the industry know that Mayday’s voice and video capability use WebRTC, as detailed by Chad and confirmed by Google WebRTC development lead Justin Uberti. When combined with screen sharing, annotation and co-browsing, this makes for a compelling package. Executives in charge of call centers have taken notice, and are looking to their technology suppliers to spice up their call centers in the same way.
Indeed, the contact center is a very instructive example of how WebRTC can be used to enhance a well-established, existing system. For those who doubt that the technology isn’t mature enough for widespread deployment, I’ll let you into a dirty little secret: WebRTC on the consumer side of the call center isn’t happening in web browsers, it’s happening in mobile apps. I’ll say more about this later.
What a Contact Center looks like
Before we examine how we can turbocharge a contact center with WebRTC, let’s take a look at the main component parts, and some of the pain points that both customers and call center staff encounter in their daily lives.
(Disclaimer: This sketch is a simplified caricature of a call center, drawn from the author’s experience with a number of different systems. The same is true for the descriptions of WebRTC gateways in the following sections, which should be viewed as idealized and not a description of any one vendor’s offerings.)
The web-to-call correlation problem
Let’s imagine that we’re a consumer, calling our auto insurance company. Perhaps we’ve been to their website, or maybe we’re using their shiny new mobile app on our smartphone. Either way, we’ve logged into the insurer’s web portal, to get an u
I’m at the IIT RTC Conference this week in Chicago which is an excellent, no-BS conference that featured many WebRTC luminaries and one of best events I have attended in a long time.
On Tuesday I moderated a panel with WebRTC contributors and ORTC promoters, Robin Raymond of Hookflash, Bernard Aboba of Microsoft, and Peter Thatcher of Google, asking many of the same questions I did on the ORTC Q&A several weeks ago.
Dan Burnett was in the room, asking a lot of questions. If you don’t know Dan, he is a long time W3C author and editor. He is also one of the Godfathers of WebRTC who was there right at the beginning. He also has a highly regarded book on WebRTC coauthored with Alan Johnston. ...Continue reading