Definition

ORTC (Object Real-Time Communications)

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Understand WebRTC basics to maximize deployment and adoption

ORTC (object real-time communications) is an open source component of WebRTC that enables mobile endpoints to talk to servers and Web browsers with real-time communications capabilities.

ORTC is under development by a W3C community group that was formed in 2013. The W3C community group is supported by vendors including Hookflash, Google and Microsoft. ORTC is not an official W3C standard.

ORTC uses low-level Javascript APIs to function as a replacement for session description protocol (SDP) for WebRTC. Unlike SDP, ORTC does not mandate a signaling protocol or offer/answer exchange to establish a session. The lower-level APIs are more flexible than SDP and offer greater interoperability across WebRTC implementations. ORTC is backward compatible with WebRTC 1.0, and the next generation of WebRTC will include ORTC.

ORTC can implement capabilities like layered video coding, simulcast and scalable video coding (SVC). It gives developers greater access to more control functions, like SVC, to build applications and features without the need to change browser source code.

Microsoft announced in September 2015 that ORTC was supported in its Edge Web browser to encourage developers to build applications that include the ability to communicate with Skype users and WebRTC-based services.

This was last updated in February 2016

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