Celebrating the success of WebRTC

At Gemini, we’re lucky enough to have some very clever friends. One of our closest partners, Wildix, is celebrating 10 years of success working with WebRTC. We wanted to use this opportunity to shine a spotlight on their incredible journey from their first steps as a business to the launch of their now indispensable service.

The journey at Wildix

Back in 2009, Wildix wanted to create a real-time communication product for its clients. The key technologies were already in use. Serverless P2P streaming was available, often being used by file-sharing torrents. Flash 2.0 supported sound and messengers like Yahoo, MSN and AOL had calling and instant messaging capabilities.

The issue with real-time communication was that there was no unified thought on how it should be tackled. Without browser standardisation or support from conferencing technologies, it was very difficult to create a system that was secure and that worked well.

At Wildix, their solution made use of applets and serverless P2P streaming to deliver solutions to their clients. It came with a host of issues often caused by the lack of browser standardisation. They worked hard to keep on top of small updates that would randomly break the system as well as security issues that came from relying on Java. It was clunky but it worked.

Little did they know, a solution was on the horizon…

The arrival of WebRTC

In 1999, Global IP Solutions was developing software for real-time voice and video for IP networks. Impressed with what they had developed, Google bought GIPS for $68.2 million in 2010.

Over the next year, Google built on GIPS foundations, incorporating their own ideas and patents whilst also working in partnership with other companies. The result was an open-source product: WebRTC or Web Real-Time Communications.

While its splash onto the world stage was somewhat small, WebRTC gained the support of browsers such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, Mozilla and Opera. This was vital in ensuring a unified industry consensus so the technology would work cross-browser. It also engaged with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to cement the standardisation.

Moving into standardisation

Developing a standardisation takes many years however the technology quickly gained some success with the first cross-browser video call in 2013. This represented a huge step in overcoming the issues that made it so awkward in the early days of development.

Wildix, paying attention to these developments, decided to switch from the applet technique they’d developed to WebRTC. With some browsers including Chrome and Firefox already supporting WebRTC, it removed a host of issues that Wildix had previously had to deal with.

With WebRTC still moving through the process of standardisation, the system was still developing and also hadn’t been adopted by all browsers. This meant that, though many things were easier, there was still a lot of code to maintain and browser updates to contend with. It now forms a fundamental part of the Wildix business comms and phone system.

Over time, more and more browsers supported WebRTC making the process even easier. Now, every major browser runs WebRTC. In 2021 the WebRTC 1.0 specification was transitioned to ‘recommendation’ by W3C. This signals that the standard, having undergone rigorous review and testing, is now endorsed by the W3.

WebRTC today

Today, WebRTC remains a free, open-source project allowing web browsers, mobile applications and IoT to communicate in real time. WebRTC technology has provided the means for apps like Skype, Zoom and Facetime. Over the last few years, the ability to connect with others through real-time voice and video has shown to be invaluable both within business and personal environments.

However, WebRTC systems hold the potential for further innovation. We shall have to wait and see what new opportunities emerge.

Looking for a unified communication system to give your business comms a boost? Talk to our team about the Wildix business communications platform and the limitless benefits it can provide your business with.

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