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Startup appear.in Leverages WebRTC for Video Chat App

July 17, 2015

If you’re a consumer accustomed to exploring the world, or perhaps you live in one country, friends are in another and family, still another, how do you stay connected with them that allows you to maintain relationships? Facebook is great, but face-to-face is even better. The challenge is getting everyone on the same platform to avoid managing many and possibly not including everyone. Can it be done? Before WebRTC-based real-time video conferencing, the reality was this was hard if not impossible and likely a real hindrance.

A small team of developers in Norway had the same problem. They couldn’t get everyone to install the same video chat application. As a result, they decided it was better to build their own solution. It was the genesis of appear.in  and its WebRTC-based app which offers video chat without plug-ins or installation.

The founding team included developers Dag-Inge Aas and Svein Willassen, and a video testimonial produced them explains the incredible timeline for the appear.in app. Just two weeks after production started, using three interns, they were able to test the WebRTC-based app. The initiative was a success, but popularity brought along another challenge. While WebRTC was open source and offered significant flexibility, not all browsers support it. At the same time, consumers wanted native apps they could use on their mobile devices.

Fortunately, WebRTC offers great support for native Android and iOS apps. The platform is a secure peer-to-peer communication offering for data, video or audio that streamlines the process. Apps can communicate directly from device-to-device and peer-to-peer without hitting a third party server. But, you have to make sure that streaming data is exchanged between the right devices as simply shouting out to the Internet won’t get the job done. WebRTC apps have to negotiate the connection and often rely on APIs for this step, streaming and more.

The good news is that WebRTC has become an enabler for developing applications quickly that can be tested and deployed rapidly, are simple to use and have extended reach.  The speed at which appear.in has brought to market its innovation solution illustrates this well.  In fact, to learn how they built the appear-in app and the supporting APIs, check out the video in full which is currently featured on the Google+ WebRTC professional connections site.

Edited by Peter Bernstein

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