In our last blog post, (a peek at the future of healthcare) we considered the key drivers behind innovation in the health care industry. Telehealth has seen explosive market growth in recent years and shows no sign of slowing down. Despite its enormous potential for growth, the healthcare industry faces regulatory challenges that impede innovation.
Since the 1996 introduction of HIPAA, (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), the healthcare industry has become highly regulated. The scope and complexity of healthcare regulation has made it incredibly difficult for organizations to adopt new technologies. Compared to other industries, they have been relatively slow to adopt technological innovations as a result. This trend has manifested itself in the adoption of the public cloud, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and even the storage of online health records. With this in mind, one can assume this trend will repeat itself when it comes to browser based real time communications powered by WebRTC.
Signaling between client end points has always been an important facet for most interactive web applications. The use cases range from text chatting to multiplayer games to driving a robot remotely. In the world of HTML5, most developers establish signaling through websockets, long polling and server side events. However with the advent of WebRTC, data channels joined the ranks and the question posed by many developers is “Where do data channels fit in the equation?”
Data Channels provide a way to send binary / text data to another peer over the browser. The data channel api is very similar to web sockets when it comes to sending different types of data. It works peer to peer without the need of a centralized server or an additional hop in most cases.
When creating new services and products, organizations always face a challenge whether to buy or build key underlying components and functionality. As WebRTC attracts an increasing degree of interest, we regularly hear from customers that they are considering the trade-off around the decision to buy or build. Many go so far as to try and build their own real time video or audio solution before they turn to a hosted platform like OpenTok. Not surprisingly given the business we are in, we come down pretty strongly on the side of leveraging a hosted service.