And call quality is key. Features like forward error correction and redundancy that improve calls on poor quality connections are "extremely important," said Aboba. "We found for both audio and video [in Skype] that if you don't have robustness features you will see problems." Those features are common in services like Skype; they aren't yet in the standard, but they're being proposed. "There's a whole separate effort to develop standardized forward error correction."
"You can see browsers today that can render more multiple video streams than some telepresence systems you can buy; they can render 12 streams on screen. But if the network starts losing packets, the absence of those robustness features is very clear. They would have been in the telepresence systems, but they're not in WebRTC."
In short, Aboba sees WebRTC as an important technology that's not yet finished, but he's excited about the potential. "When we're done, we will have a very powerful base for real time applicators to be developed on. We now have as much real time functionality as was in the enterprise quality systems of a few years ago."
But it depends on how fast different browser makers adopt all the new standards as to how well WebRTC applications will work on your different devices.
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