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How will WebRTC development evolve in the coming year?

WebRTC development is expected to see significant progress, including new media flows and video codec support. Check out these six key areas that should see noteworthy upgrades.

WebRTC development is an evolving ecosystem of browser-based communications, driven mainly by browser vendors. Based on the vendors' roadmaps, we can expect to see several areas of progress in the coming year.

1. Video codecs: WebRTC browser implementations will support a range of codecs. H.264 will be available in all WebRTC-supported browsers, like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, by the end of the year. The VP8 codec will be available as well, though slightly later on Microsoft Edge. The VP9 codec will be available in Chrome and Firefox.

2. New media flows: MediaRecorder has been implemented in Chrome and Firefox and allows local recording of media in the browser. MediaStream relay capabilities enable running a small-scale media server inside the browser.

3. Object real-time communications: ORTC-related APIs and capabilities will continue to trickle into WebRTC browser implementations. This means the tension between WebRTC and ORTC should ebb, especially now that Microsoft plans to support WebRTC 1.0 in Edge. It also means that new features and capabilities might not be added to the SDP layer of WebRTC but introduced via the object model defined in ORTC.

4. Mobile investments: The main focus of mobile WebRTC development will be getting the technology to work as a software developer's kit (SDK) embedded into mobile applications.

5. Security: IP address leaks are being addressed with WebRTC development. There will be a shift toward the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm, which will make WebRTC security stronger.

6. Debugging: More debugging tools will become available, especially with Chrome where has been introduced along with an internal events log for better troubleshooting.

WebRTC development should show continued improvement to the technology in 2016. That improvement should take place all over its technology stack -- from optimizations in network and media processing to the introduction of new capabilities. UC vendors need to continue their investment in their core use of WebRTC and explore these new capabilities from browser vendors.

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