WebRTC Next Version Use Cases and the FPWD Explained

By Allie Mellen on December 13, 2018
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The WebRTC Working Group released the First Public Working Draft of a set of use cases motivating the development of WebRTC Next Version (WebRTC-NV). This is the basis for a discussion around new use cases for WebRTC-NV, and is an exciting step in identifying how WebRTC-NV will change and aid real-time communications. Twenty five requirements are listed to implement these use cases.

 


At callstats.io, we like to look forward to new and exciting use cases of WebRTC. We believe WebRTC has a bright future across many different industries. If you’d like to learn more about current applications of WebRTC, check out our blog posts dedicated to WebRTC use cases and WebRTC verticals.

Alternatively, check out our white paper on emerging use cases of real-time communications. We believe the future of real-time communications lies in use cases like the internet of things, virtual reality, self-driving cars, and security devices. While we diverge on this First Public Working Draft in a few areas, we also strongly agree in some cases, including the importance of internet of things devices and virtual reality as emerging use cases. 

Learn About Emerging Use Cases For RTC


Existing Use Cases Updated

A few existing use cases were mentioned in the Public Working Draft that were previously referenced in RFC 7478, Web Real-Time Communication Use Cases and Requirements. These use cases are looking to be updated as part of this First Public Working Draft (FPWD).


Multiparty Online Game with Voice Communications

Multiparty online game with voice communications requires ICE enhancements to reduce the time to join the game and receive media. This has previously been implemented by a gaming service using ORTC. Snowflake is an ongoing proposal to extend ICE, directly related to this use case.


Some WebRTC-enabled games exist, like this multiplayer version of the legendary mobile game Snake by Steven Gunneweg.


Mobility

Mobility, or a communications service where the user changes access network during the session, is an additional existing use case updated in this FPWD. This requires ICE enhancements to re-route media over an alternate path without signaling - again, consider Snowflake. It was requested as part of the WebRTC mailing list by Lennart Grahl.


Video Conferencing with a Central Server

Video conferencing with a central server allows end users with differing capabilities including bandwidth availability, screen size, or maximum displayable frame rate to take part in the same conference. In order to support this, several new enhancements are necessary, including Scalable Video Coding support and, if the video codec is known beforehand and participants are muted by default, the ability to allow new participants to receive immediately without negotiation. This has previously been implemented by several conferencing services using ORTC and proprietary additions to WebRTC 1.0.

 

Check out our blog post on PERC for more information.


New Use Cases for WebRTC-NV

As the FPWD states, there are several use cases that cannot be supported in WebRTC 1.0, but are looking to be addressed in WebRTC-NV. These use cases would add a dynamic quality to WebRTC-NV, as they are diverse and would provide added functionality for creativity developing with WebRTC.


File Sharing

File sharing, or more specifically participants in a mesh exchanging large files without disrupting audio and video, as well as sending large files to offline users, is a requested use case. In order to implement this, several requirements are necessary. QUIC is an interesting transport protocol that may be used to reduce latency. It was discussed on the WebRTC mailing list.


Internet of Things

Internet of things devices require long-term connections with minimal power usage. Sensor data can sometimes be reliable and ordered, while others it can be partially reliable or unreliable. IoT devices need a dynamic range, and therefore will need several requirements. It was discussed on the WebRTC mailing list.


We have discussed IoT devices as a use case for WebRTC frequently on our blog. We strongly believe that 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.


Funny Hats

A topical and mainstream addition, this use case manipulates media prior to encoding or after decoding to produce effects like background blur, in-browser compositing, funny hats, voice effects, or stress detection. This use case would add several requirements and originated in the mailing list discussions and Sharper Image Research.


Machine Learning

Some services, such as “NameTheBird.com”, allow users to submit images and receive information about the image (in this instance, what bird it is) in real-time. This involves cloning incoming media streams into an inference stream and a training stream, custom encoding the inference stream, classifying and evaluating the data, and using payload protection as well as transport object for communicating with servers and peers. It adds several requirements to WebRTC NV.



Virtual Reality Gaming

Virtual reality gaming, whereby a centralized conferencing server synchronizes data with media using an SFU for distribution, will require the ability to send data synchronized with audio and video. This use case would add several requirements and originated in the mailing list discussions.


We are very excited about the potential for WebRTC and virtual reality. The true future of VR/AR/MR experiences is wireless, and we believe WebRTC is meant to be part of it.


This First Public Working Draft and new use cases are an exciting step forward for outlining further enhancements to WebRTC NV. If you’re interested in learning more about emerging use cases for real-time communications, check out our latest white paper.


Learn About Emerging Use Cases For RTC

Tags: WebRTC Use Cases, WebRTC-NV, WebRTC, WebRTC Verticals, W3C