The WebRTC technology is seeing a recent surge in interest, with the increase in use cases across various sectors. We can see how easily the variety of new channels for WebRTC can be adapted to our day-to-day lives ensuring activities and tasks become ‘real time’. How broad can the uses of WebRTC become?
We recently read an article with The Telegraph (http://bit.ly/1t7tecd) about Snapchat launching ‘Snapcash’. This allows you to send money to friends in real time. Should we rely on a service, which has been scrutinised in the past for retaining ‘Snapchats’, to ensure your financial details are securely encrypted? Is this somewhat of a big ask? By no means do we want to simply create an attack on Snapchat, as it clearly has its uses with an engaged audience regularly using the service.
With this comes the question… How far can WebRTC take our real time communications and activities? At present, the boundaries are seemingly endless for communication via the web and within apps. WebRTC has been mentioned as the most secure VoIP service currently within the market. When we couple this with its potential capabilities, there is no reason why WebRTC can not become the core focus of all browser based communications. However should we be using WebRTC in applications such as Snapchat for functions such as money transfers? Issues can arise not only from the risk of being hacked but also from general user error.
We ask the question, is it sensible to use in app WebRTC functionality for sensitive information such as financial details or is this beyond what we should use WebRTC for?
WebRTC was initially built to meet real time communication demands from users and developers. Whether Google could foresee how far its uses have exceeded the initial purpose of communication, is yet to be seen. Developers have become creative in their use of WebRTC, creating applications which support audio, video, screen share, annotation tools, and a whole host of additional functions.
In reality bank transfers have become almost instant. As such, the market does not necessarily require a real time service to replace an almost real time service securely available through your bank. Money transfers WILL become useful when making online purchases as part of a wider WebRTC product. Sales agents will have the capability to take a website visitor through the entire purchasing process from answering initial enquiries, to assisting with the payment methods, within one application/API. In this scenario, you will not be required to store your information in an additional portal or system and would complete your purchase as normal.
We currently store our financial information in various places online. Whether it is your account details with PayPal or completing an online purchase with a retailer. Whilst every step is taken to ensure sensitive information is remained confidential, we cannot always be certain the information has not been accessed. Essentially we want all of our information recorded in as few places as possible, to ensure the risk of the information falling into the wrong hands is reduced.
WebRTC is secure and as we have heard from various industry gurus/experts such as Tsahi. However, users may not be comfortable to insert their financial information into an application, which has received scrutiny for the nature of how it operates.
Whilst we feel using WebRTC as a viable money transfer solution moving forward we do not think Snapchat will initially be trusted for this purpose. It will take a substantial amount of time for the trust to build and adoption of the facility to be accepted. As a concept it works well to send money at a click of a button but in practice it may not function as first thought.
Here at Drum we are always interested in seeing new concepts and ways to use WebRTC.We are slightly concerned that Snapchat are to offer a service where Millennials will be allowed to instantly share their money to contacts at a push of a button. MarketWatch have a contrasting view (http://on.mktw.net/1xJmvfb) in that Snapcash will win over Millennials and become a massive success.