It is very likely you missed the announcement less than two years ago about Salesforce acquiring a Canadian-based company named GoInstant. It is also likely that even if you attended Dreamforce in late 2013, you missed a very informative session titled, “Build Real-time Multi-User Apps with Visualforce, GoInstant and AngularJS“.
From what I can tell, not much fuss has been made so far about the Backend-as-a-Service provider that was founded in 2010 and acquired by Salesforce in 2012. I imagine that is mostly because up until a few weeks ago, there was not much you could do with GoInstant, other than add chatting capabilities (Hello, Salesforce already has Chatter). But, with the recent integration with WebRTC (or Web Real-Time Communication), we may be seeing a lot more possibilities popping up.
GoInstant recently released a WebRTC-based widget that lets you EASILY add Audio/Video conferencing capabilities to any Visualforce page. No back-end servers required! And, it is completely free for the first 1000 monthly active users!!!
GoInstant handles all the complexities involved with offering this type of functionality. They handle security, data synchronization and storage, and even scalability. The WebRTC widget specifically lets you initiate, pause, and mute a video stream, all with a single click. And no need for the client to download anything (YEAH). It’s kind of like being able to offer the ease and power of Skype within a secure Salesforce connection.
I can see this type of functionality being really useful for customer support situations, but I can also see it being heavily used in the Enterprise for internal communications. Now, even small to medium companies can offer the type of audio/video chatting once only available to the really BIG enterprises. In fact, I imagine, even the big Enterprises will want to consider dumping their expensive and hard to maintain Unified Communications systems for something like this.
One Gotcha to consider is that currently, WebRTC is only supported in the latest versions of Firefox and Chrome (but I expect the list of supported browsers to be growing very soon). Another thing to consider is that there has still been no final decision made about what standard video codec will be used. (but again, I am sure this will be resolved soon enough).
If you want to see how this works right away, check out this demo created by the clever folks at GoInstant. And, if you want to start playing with this type of functionality in your developer org, I would recommend you check out this GREAT post on Developer Force about how to use the widget in a Visualforce page.