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Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) transforms the communications landscape; becomes a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Recommendation and multiple Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards

WebRTC enables rich, interactive, live voice and video communications anywhere on the Web, boosting global interconnection



https://www.w3.org/ and https://www.ietf.org/ — 26 January 2021 — The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) announced today that Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC), which powers myriad services, is now an official standard, bringing audio and video communications anywhere on the Web.

WebRTC, comprised of a JavaScript API for Web Real-Time Communications and a suite of communications protocols, allows any connected device, on any network, to be a potential communication end-point, on the Web. WebRTC already serves as a cornerstone of online communication and collaboration services.

"Today’s landmark achievement is timely. Faced with a global pandemic of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the world has gone more and more virtual. It makes the Web even more crucial to society in information sharing, real-time communications, and entertainment," said Dr Jeff Jaffe, W3C CEO. “It is gratifying to see our technologies playing a key role in enabling such critical digital infrastructure. Combining the universal reach of the Web with the richness of live audio & video conversations has reshaped how the world communicates."

"Voice and video over IP revolutionized the way that people communicate around the world,” said IETF Chair Alissa Cooper. “Integrating these technologies into the Web platform has dramatically expanded their reach. Thanks to close collaboration between the IETF and W3C to standardize these technologies. WebRTC has enabled billions of people to connect and engage with each other during the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of device or geography."

Live audio-video communication systems in any website, any web app

The WebRTC framework provides the building blocks from which web and app developers can seamlessly add video chat to a range of applications, including tele-education and tele-health, entertainment and gaming, professional and workformce collaboration.

With the foundations standardized and deployed as a royalty-free feature in Web browsers and other devices and platforms, setting up a secure audio-video communication system with WebRTC has become a built-in capability, eliminating the need to install plugins or download separate applications.

WebRTC is massively deployed as a communications platform and powers video conferences and collaboration systems across all major browsers, both on desktop and mobile. Billions of users can interact now that WebRTC makes live video chat easier than ever on the Web. And from startups to Web-scale companies, in commercial products and open source projects, WebRTC has vastly expanded the ability to deploy real-time interaction solutions to customers and users.

Real-world positive and timely impact

The year 2020 has shown both how critical WebRTC already is in a world where travel and physical contacts need to be limited, as well as the many improvements that can be brought to the technology to address new usages that have emerged.

Businesses and households are relying on WebRTC for a wealth of operations, increasing its adoption. Organizations are leveraging WebRTC to conduct training, interviews, strategic planning or as a substitute for in-person meetings to keep connected through happy hour and other social interactions - it is replacing not only in-person meetings, but it is now also replacing the human interactions inside offices. Domains such as healthcare and defense use WebRTC for training. Schools and universities have shifted to virtual learning platforms. Cloud gaming and social networks use live streaming and interactive broadcasts. Entertainment is trying to figure out how to bring the audience back to the studios by doing it remotely. Sports are trying to recreate the in-stadium experience using WebRTC. Families and friends make daily use of products that are built with WebRTC or parts of it.

The future of WebRTC is already in the works

With the use of WebRTC expanding beyond the initial core design to power video conferences and collaboration systems in web browsers and other ecosystems (e.g., native apps), more features and more optimizations are now needed.

There is already work underway in the IETF WebTransport (WEBTRANS) and WebRTC Ingest Signaling over HTTPS (WISH) working groups that will build on, coordinate with and extend efforts of other IETF working groups. These include QUIC, to defin new protocols that support the development of the WebTransport API, and HTTPBIS, to specify a simple, extensible, HTTPS-based signaling protocol to establish one-way WebRTC-based audiovisual sessions between broadcasting tools and real-time media broadcast networks.

The W3C WebRTC Working Group has started work on WebRTC Next Version Use Cases to map out WebRTC's future, notably:

The WebRTC Working Group is iterating on existing and new use cases, with a focus on understanding the full range of the needs and their priority. W3C recently started work on WebTransport and Web Codecs, which promises to bring the benefits of low-latency streaming to the broader media and entertainment ecosystem.

WebRTC joins the many W3C standards that define an Open Web Platform for application development with unprecedented potential to enable developers to build rich interactive experiences, powered by vast data stores, that are available on any device and environment.

About the World Wide Web Consortium

The mission of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is to lead the Web to its full potential by creating technical standards and guidelines to ensure that the Web remains open, accessible, and interoperable for everyone around the globe. W3C well-known standards HTML and CSS are the foundational technologies upon which websites are built. W3C works on ensuring that all foundational Web technologies meet the needs of civil society, in areas such as accessibility, internationalization, security, and privacy. W3C also provides the standards that undergird the infrastructure for modern businesses leveraging the Web, in areas such as entertainment, communications, digital publishing, and financial services. That work is created in the open, provided for free and under the groundbreaking W3C Patent Policy. For its work to make online videos more accessible with captions and subtitles, W3C received a 2016 Emmy Award. And for its work to standardize a Full TV Experience on the Web, W3C received a 2019 Emmy Award.

W3C's vision for "One Web" brings together thousands of dedicated technologists representing more than 400 Member organizations and dozens of industry sectors. W3C is jointly hosted by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the United States, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France, Keio University in Japan and Beihang University in China. For more information see https://www.w3.org/.

About the Internet Engineering Task Force

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is the Internet's premier technical standards body, gathering a large, international community of network designers, engineers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. For more information, see: https://www.ietf.org/

End Press Release

Media Contacts

Amy van der Hiel, W3C Media Relations Coordinator <w3t-pr@w3.org>
+1-617-253-5628 (US, Eastern Time)

Greg Wood <ghwood@ietf.org>
+1-703-625-3917 (US, Eastern Time)


Support for WebRTC from W3C Members and the industry

Agora.io

Ten years ago, WebRTC ushered in a new era promising the democratization of real-time audio/video communications. By breaking this capability free from the confines of hardware endpoints and moving it into the browser, WebRTC started us down the path of real-time engagement (RTE) for all.

As a company whose core mission is to make our novel RTE technology ubiquitous around the world, this is a particularly memorable moment for us at Agora. We are proud to stand alongside W3C on this groundbreaking day to recognize WebRTC as the web standard.

Edward Brakus, Senior VP, Product & Product Marketing, Agora.io

China Mobile

WebRTC provides the basis of quick implementation of audio and video communication services. The W3C efforts greatly improve the compatibility and interoperability for the product teams in development and deployment. Today, we are looking forward to the enhancement and extension in the WebRTC NV, including PeerConnection, Media Capture and others, from which the web developer community can benefit. We will promote the vigorous development of the web ecosystem with the new release.

Song XU, Technical Director, China Mobile - Migu

WebRTC提供了音视频和和通讯的基础实现,而经过W3C 标准化的该技术,让很多企业开发团队在实施和部署时候具有极大兼容性 和高效性。今天我们非常期待WebRTC NV新版本中的增强扩展,包括 PeerConnection、Media Capture等新内容中得到受益,并一起推进Web生 态系统的蓬勃发展。

徐嵩 技术总监 中国移动 咪咕公司

Cisco

The creation of the WebRTC standards and their implementation across all major browsers provides developers with a common set of protocols to add video conferencing to a range of applications. By enabling easy deployment for all web conferencing applications including Webex, we can connect people globally, empowering richer and more inclusive experiences.

Cullen Jennings, CTO for Security and Applications, Cisco

Ericsson

Ericsson has been a main contributor to the WebRTC specifications in W3C and IETF since the first discussions started in the industry. Today we are pleased to see it become an official standard. We have successfully used WebRTC in several commercial solutions, and we have also contributed to including key elements of WebRTC in 3GPP standards to enable a richer 5G voice service in the future with interactive calling. WebRTC plays an important role in aligning user experience and improving interoperability of rich collaboration services to provide better communication capabilities for people, which is more important than ever.

Mikael Prytz, Research Director, Ericsson

Google

As one of the longstanding drivers behind WebRTC, Google is pleased and proud to see the recognition of WebRTC as a universal and open standard for real time communication. The WebRTC W3C standard, the support from Google’s open source implementation and free-to-use technologies such as the VP8 video codec, have all formed the basis of a thriving and growing ecosystem of companies and services. At Google, WebRTC is fundamental to a great number of products and services including Google Duo, Google Meet and Stadia. We applaud the contributions from volunteers and industry stakeholders that have contributed to making this milestone possible and share this moment with them.

Tomas Gunnarsson, WebRTC engineering lead, Google

WebRTC has grown into a thriving ecosystem of applications and services, thanks to the web and the innovation enabled by open standards and open source. We’re especially proud of the role WebRTC has played during the COVID-19 pandemic in keeping people connected through video communications, as well as the emergence of new domains like cloud gaming. It’s been a rewarding journey, and we’re thankful for all the individuals and organizations across the industry who have contributed to making this milestone possible.

Justin Uberti, Distinguished Engineer, Google

Intel Corporation

Intel is pleased to support the WebRTC 1.0 standard reaching W3C Recommendation status, a major accomplishment from all the working group participants. As a strong WebRTC advocate, Intel contributes to the WebRTC ecosystem with its holistic hardware and software expertise and perspective to help enable unified real-time communication experiences across devices, operating systems, and browsers. Intel-sponsored Open WebRTC Toolkit open-source project and its Intel Collaboration Suite for WebRTC distribution have helped businesses build end-to-end real-time communication platforms across domains, from video conferencing to remote education and interactive live streaming.

Mark Skarpness, General Manager and Vice President, System Software Engineering, Intel Corporation

Mozilla

Video conferencing is a critically important method of communication, especially right now and WebRTC brings it to everyone instantly using only their Web browser. It’s a powerful demonstration of the true power of the Web.

Eric Rescorla, CTO, Mozilla

NTT Communications

It’s an exciting announcement that WebRTC 1.0 reaches the Recommendation stage. We are proud of one of the contributors to the WebRTC community and business. WebRTC is the game changer of Web, it brings us the real-time scenario to the ecosystem. With the horrific virus, people rapidly changed into remote communication. Though it was dramatical changes, we can smoothly keep up with since there was WebRTC already. I believe this movement will be moving forward. After WebRTC 1.0, new specs will keep realizing a more fantastic and brilliant world. We promise to keep contributing to these great activities.

Kensaku Komatsu, Principal Engineer, NTT Communications Innovation Center

Peer5

In 2012, upon hearing of the upcoming WebRTC spec, Peer5's founders were inspired to create a platform based on WebRTC from the ground up. Ever since, Peer5 has been a vocal and proactive advocate of WebRTC and is delighted that it has finally consolidated its official status as an internationally recognized standard. The community has been fundamental in achieving our shared vision of WebRTC's potential to enable and advance applications such as P2P networking.

Shachar Zohar, CTO & Co-founder, Peer5

|pipe|

I’m delighted to see WebRTC become an official W3C Recommendation. At |pipe| we see tremendous opportunities for WebRTC beyond regular video conferencing between people. Instead we’re applying it to the Internet of Things: bringing simplicity, security and data privacy to small connected devices (baby monitors, IP cameras, drones, etc.).

Licensed as an SDK/API to device developers and OEMs, |pipe| is a small WebRTC implementation with a simple way to claim/lend devices securely to any smartphone browser, without passwords. There are already tens of thousands of small camera devices in the field secured by our implementation of the WebRTC standard.

WebRTC devient officiellement une W3C Recommendation, et j’en suis ravi. |pipe| voit d’importantes opportunités pour le WebRTC, au-delà des vidéoconférences régulières entre les personnes. Au lieu de cela, nous l'appliquons à l'Internet des objets (IoD-IoT), apportant simplicité, sécurité et confidentialité des données aux petits appareils connectés (babyphones, caméras IP, drones, etc.).

Vendue sous la forme de SDK/API auprès de développeurs d'appareils et d’OEMs, |pipe| est une petite implémentation WebRTC qui dispose d’un moyen simple pour s’approprier/se prêter des appareils en toute sécurité, et ce sur n'importe quel navigateur de smartphone, sans mot de passe. Il existe déjà en utilisation des dizaines de milliers de petits appareils incluant un dispositif vidéo, sécurisés par notre implémentation de la norme WebRTC.

Tim Panton, Founder/CTO, pi.pe GmbH

Shanghai Bilibili Technology Co., Ltd.

WebRTC helps to solve many technical bottlenecks of point-to-point communication in the low-latency scenarios. It has brought in great opportunities to us Tech companies, especially contributed a lot to the rapid development in Bilibili. In the extremely difficult period of 2020-2021, I am very glad to see the official recommendation of WebRTC be released. We firmly believe that WebRTC will soon become the necessary infrastructure of the Internet and will play an important role in the innovation of streaming media technology, adding benefit to all walks of life.

Zhaoxin Tan, Technical Manager, Bilibili Inc.

Tencent Games

We’re pleased to see the Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) becomes a W3C Recommendation. The introduction of the WebRTC greatly enhances the capabilities of web applications and enables the possibilities for new promising applications such as cloud gaming which runs directly on the remote servers and can greatly reduce the hardware requirements and costs for users with configuration-free, download-free gaming experiences.

We hope that WebRTC will extensively and flexibly support the characteristics of cloud gaming, including high bandwidth, high frame rate, low latency, and high-frequency interactions and in that case will reach its full potential for interactive entertainment.

Hyton DENG, General Manager of R&D Department, Tencent Games