WebRTC

May 15th, 2013 by Dominick Accattato

What is WebRTC

In the world of disruptive technologies, WebRTC has quickly caught the attention of the web development community. WebRTC at its core provides real-time communication between browsers. The following represents the group’s mission statement:

WebRTC is a free, open project that enables web browsers with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple Javascript APIs. The WebRTC components have been optimized to best serve this purpose.

Our mission: To enable rich, high quality, RTC applications to be developed in the browser via simple Javascript APIs and HTML5.

Why was WebRTC created

WebRTC has humble beginnings but grand expectations based on source code that Google decided to open source. The original code came from two companies: Global IP Sound (for voice) and On2 (for video). These two companies were acquired by Google for the codecs and security based protocols for peer to peer streaming technology. On2 was the source for the webm project and codec.

Why is it interesting

WebRTC is interesting for so many reasons, but for real-time streaming developers it brings full circle what we have been working on for over 10 years. Previous to WebRTC, people were streaming with either their own proprietary technology or through a browser plugin. The most ubiquitous plugin was, and still is the Flash Player. Flash still remains today the best option for web conferences that want to maintain backwards compatibility with older browsers and leverage a full stack of streaming technologies.

However, WebRTC is steadily gaining momentum and will eventually overcome the advantages that Flash currently has in this space. It will take a bit of time for the technology to increase adoption, but it will eventually happen and many of the leading browser vendors are behind the movement. Especially since the standards are supported by the W3C and IETF working groups.

What are the current challenges?

Currently WebRTC has some challenges. First, it still needs wider acceptance and adoption. At this moment, only Chrome (Stable) and Firefox (Nightly) have support. Internet Explorer has expressed interest, but Safari has not made any indication that they would provide support. That said, if all the other major vendors end up supporting the standard, Safari would most likely follow suit.

Also, since the technology is largely peer to peer, there isn’t a great solution for a media server yet. In addition, the technology requires implementors install either a STUN or TURN server. A STUN server basically facilitates “hole punching” which is what is needed for NAT traversal through firewalls. A TURN server is basically a STUN server with extensions that allow it to also act as a fallback media relay server. Regardless, it’s still difficult to choose the right STUN/TURN server to work with, but I’m sure this will become more clear as the standards and implementors start to roll out more products.

In addition, there is still much work to be done on the specifications. The standards boards are continuing their efforts on the creation of their working drafts. These will eventually be published standards and RFC’s.

What are the main API Interfaces?

You can visit the following site for a good description of the API’s (http://docs.webplatform.org/wiki/apis/webrtc)

What about Flash Streaming?

I’ve thought about how this will affect the current ecosystem of Flash Streaming which basically dominates the video streaming on the Internet today. As Flash has a large adoption rate, it will continue to thrive and will even remain as a great backward compatible solution. At this point, I still feel like the Actionscript API’s are easier to work with and the aggregated technology behind Flash Streaming appears to be easier to work with, but that is a biased statement since I’ve been working with Flash Streaming for over 10 years.

Many groups are also still very interested in how WebRTC will affect Red5. I can only say that at this time, the Red5 developers including myself, are excited about the potential of WebRTC, and we plan to modernize Red5 to accommodate this new plugin-less approach.

Conclusion

So I hope I’ve drawn some attention to this very new and exciting technology. We at Infrared5 hope to put this technology to use for our clients. If you’re interested in a project based on WebRTC, just drop us a message.

More Information

Project Website: http://www.webrtc.org/

Google Code Project: https://code.google.com/p/webrtc/

WebRTC Blog: http://www.webrtc.org/blog

W3C Editor’s Draft: http://dev.w3.org/2011/webrtc/editor/webrtc.html

WebRTC Example: https://apprtc.appspot.com/?r=65920333

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The Wicked Ten

February 27th, 2013 by Rebecca Allen

At Infrared5 we’re passionate about the work we do. At a recent Friday Tech Talk, we had an open discussion on what kind of work gets us fired up, and what projects we would like to take on in the future. The goal was to come up with criteria by which to identify the most compelling projects, and thus the ‘”Wicked 10″ was born. 

Energy was high and ideas were plentiful. We accumulated pages and pages of ideas that reflected specific project ideas and general ideologies from our entire team. Since then, we have whittled down our initial brainstorm to our top picks.

Behold…

The “Wicked 10″

1. Pushing Technology Boundaries / Challenging / Problem Solving
2. Creating Open Source Tools and Projects (sharing our knowledge with the community)
3. Physical Computing (Perceptual Computing) / Integrating with New Hardware
4. Unique UX Experiences
5. Data Visualization / Interactive Timeline
6. Reasonable Timeline / Good Budget – Never hurts to feed the team once in a while…
7. Social Impact / Social Outreach (hack-a-thons, game jams)
8. Installation (Museum Exhibits), Interactive Displays
9. Creative Freedom / Controlling Campaigns Start to Finish
10. Second Screen Experiences (like Brass Monkey)

and this might go without saying… they should be Fun + Exploratory!!!

 Let us know what you think. What would make a project exciting for you and your team? What relegates a project to the world of “ho hum”?

And this definitely goes without saying, but if you have any “Wicked” projects that you would like us to dig into, let us know!

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Top 10 GDC Lists

March 1st, 2012 by Elliott Mitchell

GDC is approaching next week and I’ll be traveling to San Fransisco to participate in the epic game developer event. I’m psyched and here’s why:

TOP 10 GDC RELATED THINGS I’M EXCITED ABOUT

10  The Expo Floor
9    The History Of 3D Games exhibit
8    Experimental Gameplay Sessions
7    The Unity Party
6    Indie Game: The Movie screening & Panel
5    GDC Play
4    14th Annual Independent Games Festival Awards
3    Networking, Networking & Networking
2    Independent Game Summit
1    Unity Technology Engineers

TOP 10 GDC SESSIONS I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO

10  The Pursuit of Indie Happiness: Making Great Games without Going Crazy
9    Rapid, Iterative Prototyping Best Practices
8    Experimental Gameplay Sessions
7    Create New Genres (and Stop Wasting Your Life in the Clone Factories) [SOGS Design]
6    BURN THIS MOTHERFATHER! Game Dev Parents Rant
5    Bringing Large Scale Console Games to iOS Devices: A Technical Overview of The Bard’s Tale Adaptation
4    Light Probe Interpolation Using Tetrahedral Tessellations
3    Big Games in Small Packages: Lessons Learned In Bringing a Long-running PC MMO to Mobile
2    Art History for Game Devs: In Praise of Abstraction
1    Android Gaming on Tegra: The Future of Gaming is Now, and it’s on the Move! (Presented by NVIDIA)

If you’re going to be at GDC and want to talk shop with Infrared5 then please ping us! info (at) Infrared5 (dot) com

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