Internet of things (IoT) devices have grown by some 70 percent over the last couple years, reaching over 6.4 billion. Even more impressive, IoT devices are projected to reach some 20.8 billion by 2020. For many industries, the data-gathering and communication from the litany of IoT-connected devices has been a game-changer, opening the door to new ways of interacting with data and customers alike.
With its focus on real-time, two-way audio and video communication, Web real-time communication (WebRTC) is a natural fit for IoT: It combines the inherent communication of IoT devices with the real-time feedback and collaboration that WebRTC brings to the table. Add in its end-to-end encryption between peers, and WebRTC can significantly improve IoT communication.
Why WebRTC For IoT?
At first glance, WebRTC and IoT may not seem to have much in common at all. After all, the IoT focuses on things, connecting embedded devices to the Internet to access the data they collect and interact with. In contrast, WebRTC is all about enabling communication between people, thanks to its emphasis on audio and visual communication via web browser or mobile application.
Where the two work together is in the overlap where connected devices introduce a human element, or where their function can be improved through person-to-person communication.
Harnessing the Power of WebRTC and IoT
There are a number of areas where the intersection between IoT device and WebRTC communication creates opportunities for improved integration. For example, Amaryllo sells a line of home security products that, like many products, uses sensors to detect when someone is at the door. Rather than simply take a photo or alert the homeowner when the sensor is tripped, Amaryllo’s iSensor HD incorporates WebRTC to offer video streaming, allowing the homeowner to see exactly what is going on. Other products build on this even further by offering real-time communication that enables the homeowner to speak with their visitor whether they are at home or not.
Another example of how IoT and WebRTC technologies can combine is in the area of personal health trackers. Thanks to the Apple Watch, Fitbit, Pebble, and others, the wearables market is on the rise. While a health tracker qualifies as an IoT device, the addition of WebRTC features could significantly improve its functionality. For example, imagine a future iteration of the Apple Watch or similar device that could detect a life-threatening health event and not only automatically call 911 or a loved one — but also enable two-way audio or video communication between the wearer and the recipient of the call. In such a scenario, WebRTC’s inherent emphasis on security and encryption would help ensure even the most sensitive communication was kept secure and confidential.
The Future Of WebRTC And IoT
As the above examples show, despite their differences, WebRTC and IoT have large areas of overlap. With a little planning and development, companies can use WebRTC to augment and improve their IoT products and services.
Other WebRTC Use Cases
This post is the second in a series dedicated to WebRTC use cases. In this series, we explore several use cases of WebRTC. To read the first post in the series, please check it out here.