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Google’s WebRTC event and what it told us about the future of communication

July 16, 2014

What a wonderful event Google hosted at their San Francisco office near the end of June. The pristine quality of speakers, audience members, and helpers was off the charts. We’re very proud to have been part of this initial movement to help spread the seed of knowledge of this great technology that is WebRTC. And even though we’re only mentioning a couple people in this post, we extend our greatest gratitude to everyone involved in the planning and participating of this awesome event.

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XirSys at Google SF
The public faces of this event were Chris Koehncke and Tsahi Levent-Levi. Their blog posts on the event can be found here and here, respectively. They worked hard to set up this event, so don’t forget to thank them! Also, a special shout-out to Tim Panton (pictured onstage on the left) for letting us help with his awesome demos.

We certainly agree with Chris that the demographic at the event was very widespread, from people who didn’t even know what the technology was (WebRTWhat?!) to people who were simply interested in what other people were doing with the tech — and finally, to people who just wanted to see some code and get their hands dirty as fast as possible.

Tsahi was quick to note that the event was a huge success. And it absolutely was. The first WebRTC event was hosted a few months ago and had roughly 35 people. This event had upward to 300 attendees. Holy smokes! As more and more people are catching on to what WebRTC is and why it’s so important for the future of communication, this number is only going to increase exponentially.

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Serge Lachapelle and Justin Uberti outlining WebRTC’s future
Tsahi also gave an interesting poll that asked attendees to gauge their own WebRTC skill level. What shouldn’t come as to much of a surprise, most people selected the “Average” option (57%). Though this is to be expected, we believe the average understanding of WebRTC is still at a very young level. Not too long ago, we were at the HTML5 Developer Conference in San Francisco. Although this was an event of epic proportions for the Internet and communication world, I’d say less than a quarter of the people who spoke to us at our booth even knew what WebRTC was. It is very fascinating how quickly this technology is spreading, and it’s events like these that are doing the heavy lifting. And for the people who did know what WebRTC was, the vast majority of attendees did think WebRTC is going to change the way we communicate. The Kranky Geek WebRTC event has done a great job catalyzing the spread of WebRTC, but we’ve still got a long way to go.

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The awesome audience
I work with all of our clients, so I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to keep my finger on the pulse of the WebRTC world and have watched it evolve since I joined XirSys about six months ago. Back then, the questions were very basic, timid, and arguably fearful of this bleeding edge web tech: What is WebRTC? How does it compare to Flash? Why should I even consider switching my whole stack to WebRTC? What the heck is STUN and TURN?! It’s absurd how much more technical these questions have become over the last few months. They’re now more along the lines of: How can we stream both screen sharing and the screen sharing user’s webcam at the same time? We’ve already built our WebRTC product — how can we just hook it into your platform? Is it worth building our own WebRTC backend? Why should I outsource this task to you?

Just as Justin predicted during that first WebRTC meetup several months ago, the people who have already known what WebRTC was for quite some time have started to build real products, and many of said people have been deploying or are about to deploy. Our clientele no longer consists of basement hackers and small teams, but also of large companies and corporations. And everyone has one thing in common: they’re looking for highly reliable TURN servers.

Though the party has only started, the world is moving toward WebRTC. We’re confident that Google, Mozilla, Apple, and Microsoft will all eventually work together toward the long-term goal of achieving a standard communication workflow across all devices. It’s only a matter of time.

So go forth and create the latest and greatest WebRTC apps with sheer confidence that this technology will be here to stay for a very, very long time. And don’t forget: you can hook any WebRTC API into our platform. Cheers!

Check out all of Kranky Geek’s fantastic presentations here, and take a look at the photo album here.

 

 


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