WebRTC Use Cases for Professional StreamingSeptember 4, 2020
When it comes to Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC), the name spells out the benefits. Real-time communication allows developers using WebRTC to power near-instantaneous video and data transfer, whereas web means that these exchanges can take place directly within major web browsers.
Click-to-start video chats are the most common applications for WebRTC. But the use cases don’t end there. Let’s explore the many ways that businesses are putting this technology to use in 2020.
As we’ve established, video chat is the bread and butter of WebRTC. The framework already powers two-way communication on Slack, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, and Houseparty. But what about when video calls go beyond just social networking? Several of the industry-specific examples below leverage WebRTC video chat to drive engagement and elevate the end-user experience in more unique applications. From customer support to medical emergencies, real-time streaming isn’t just for facetiming grandma anymore.
Social distancing efforts prompted by COVID-19 have accelerated the need for technologies that replicate real-life exchanges. Video-enabled telehealth is instrumental for everything from virtual doctor visits to camera-aided surgical technologies, with WebRTC hard at work in the background for many telemedicine services.
Video calls between patients and doctors are self-explanatory. In these use cases, WebRTC combines the lowest latency possible with an accessible end-user experience via browser-based streaming. But IoT medical providers like Child Health Imprints are also using WebRTC for device-to-person communications. Specifically, their cloud-hosted appliance enables remote doctors to monitor babies on life support across the globe by streaming low-latency video with Wowza Streaming Engine. Watch the video below to learn more.
Remote Monitoring and Surveillance
In addition to medical-grade monitoring, WebRTC has found its way into doorbell cams, smart city technologies, wearable health devices, consumer baby monitors, and drones. Wherever real-time audio and video deliver value, WebRTC makes it happen. Often, this involves ingesting an RTSP video source from an IP camera and repackaging with sub-one-second latency.
One-to-Many Enterprise Communication
Whether enterprise communication takes the form of a marketing webinar or an all-hands meeting, WebRTC proves useful for browser-based streaming at scale. These applications require converting the WebRTC source stream into an HTTP-based protocol like HLS or DASH. That way, presenters can publish their video streams directly from the browser with just a webcam and microphone (often built into their computer). Then, once the content reaches a media server, it’s repackaged into a more suitable format and distributed through a content delivery network (CDN).
WebRTC wasn’t designed to support one-to-many streaming capabilities out of the box. As a result, this type of workflow injects additional latency to accommodate large-scale broadcasting capabilities. But when a much more passive audience group is consuming the content — such as viewers taking in information during a company-wide address — real-time delivery is no longer at the crux of it all. Instead, WebRTC delivers the benefit of simple publishing from any major browser — without requiring additional encoding hardware or software.
Emergency Response and Communication
In a similar vein to telehealth, emergency communications technologies leverage WebRTC for mission-critical data exchange. Bodycams, video-enabled 911 calls, and disaster relief robots all rely on video streaming for information sharing. Any lag could mean the difference between life and death for these applications, making real-time streaming critical.
As one example, the emergency 911 service Carbyne relies on a hybrid WebRTC workflow to achieve both real-time interactivity and scale. The platform leverages Wowza’s WebRTC capabilities to support sub-500 millisecond video delivery from virtually any connected device. This supports two-way video chat between citizens and call-takers. From there, Wowza Streaming Engine repackages the feed into the HLS protocol for broad distribution to paramedics, law enforcement officers, hospitals, and other stakeholders.
Betting and Bidding
WebRTC also works well for virtual gambling and bidding scenarios, delivering a time-synchronized experience to online participants. Horse racing, livestock auctions, online casinos, and art auctions all fall into this category.
Fractions of seconds can mean billions of dollars when it comes to auctions and gambling. As such, sub-500-millisecond streaming via WebRTC eliminates problematic delays and ensures that everyone has the same opportunity to place their bets in near real time.
Developers can use WebRTC to configure interactive streaming environments by synchronizing timed metadata, chat functionality, and two-way live video. There’s also the opportunity to use a professional encoder for these types of use cases. Broadcasters simply transport the RTMP, RTSP, or SRT source to their media server, where it can be converted into WebRTC.
Remote learning takes the form of both collaborative video chats and one-to-many lectures. The right WebRTC workflow can power any number of tele-education applications by providing instant access to video content within browsers. A key challenge in distance learning is accessibility — so developers would be wise to integrate WebRTC as a means to democratize education, build more immersive experiences, and remove any barriers to entry.
Retail, Fitness, and Other Types of Influencer Streaming
As a final catch-all category, influencer streaming in the e-commerce and fitness spaces has taken off. WebRTC delivers real-time communication and ease of development for web developers in these industries, with specific use cases ranging from customer support to live interactive fitness classes like what Peloton offers.
For whatever you’re trying to build, Wowza delivers the technology and expertise required to shape the future of streaming. Our promise is simple: If you can dream it, Wowza can stream it.
Contact us today to learn more.