WebRTC vs. Native apps; The former just isn’t ready.
WebRTC is built on a great and ambitious concept: browser-based, Real-Time Communications (RTC) that is free for any developer to implement. Google released WebRTC as an open source project in 2011 and in the years since, it has attracted contributors and private businesses that have developed on that foundation. Yet five years later, it’s still often referred to as being “in its infancy”, and has yet to be fully supported across all major browsers. Check it out here: http://iswebrtcreadyyet.com/
“I want WebRTC because my clients don’t have to download anything, it’s so simple”
If you checked out that link above you’ll notice WebRTC’s “Completion Score” is 66%. Now you may be thinking “Well hold on, it’s not too bad. I use Firefox and it’s mostly green.” The issue is, are all of your clients using Firefox as well? One of the most sought after benefits in using WebRTC is that your clients “don’t have to download anything” but this is easily not true.
If you look at the chart, you’ll see that Microsoft Edge is mostly red and yellow (Internet Explorer would look the same) and Safari is entirely red. Even Chrome doesn’t fully support all of WebRTC’s features! In other words, anyone using Edge, Internet Explorer, or Safari (the default browsers on Windows and Apple devices, respectively) will have to download another browser.
Bottom line: Anyone selling you WebRTC will recommend you download a ‘more advanced browser like Firefox’ and/or an additional plug-in as a backup. Now that’s two things you’re supposed to download to expect a good video call.
Issues with Stability, Mobile Support, and Group Calling
Now I don’t believe having to download something is a bad thing. I think it can be made very simple. However, using browser plug-ins to make WebRTC compatible with one’s browser can lead to different quality experiences for your clients. An installed application provides a standard, quality experience for all of your clients. Because installed applications are self-contained, this also provides a buffer against potential problems with rapidly updating (or outdated!) browsers. And of course, on an iOS device, WebRTC is only supported by installing an app.
An installed videoconferencing application is also more powerful than video through your browser. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a WebRTC platform that offers group calls of more than 3 participants, but our application allows for up to 50 people to share their videos with one another.
Now let’s talk about the other reason you’re thinking of using it. $$$
It’s free for any developer to implement! That was the first sentence of the article, but how much does this line apply to you? Are you looking to be the developer, completely self-reliant and build your platform from the ground up? Design and implement your own features? It’s a lot of work to start from scratch and it’s still expensive when you consider the expertise you’ll have to hire to program this. Important: Using WebRTC does not automatically make you HIPAA compliant.
But maybe you were planning on using an existing company who has already done these things. If so, think back to the earlier points. You’d be giving up the flexibility of using any browser, you might limit yourself in the devices you can use, it won’t work in weaker signal areas, you can’t hold large meetings, and it’s cheaper for “The Developer” (but not necessarily you).
But enough reading about how WebRTC isn’t ready, you need to know what is.
SecureVideo is a web application that manages an installed app for you. We offer the flexibility to access your account across any browser and on any device, with all the stability of a native application that’s compatible with a wide range of equipment.
If you just started using SecureVideo and don’t already have the video app installed, it will prompt itself to be downloaded (no searching) and the process takes a few seconds (no struggle). Now that you have it, it will automatically launch whenever you start a call. Easy!
Again, we think the WebRTC concept is great; it’s just not ready for a professional setting. We at SecureVideo are always looking for ways to improve our users’ experiences, and have already integrated two of the best videoconferencing engines around. When WebRTC can perform with the same quality under challenging conditions, we’ll implement it as an option too.
In the meantime, check out our different plans and ask for a demo! We’d love to hear from you at [email protected] or you can chat us at our website www.securevideo.com