NTT tests information sharing using WebSocket, WebRTC

NTT Communications is testing information sharing between smartphones and digital signage using technology based on the WebSocket and WebRTC protocols. The test, conducted at a shopping mall/resort in Chatancho, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, will continue until the end of February.

During the test, monitors will be asked to evaluate information sharing via digital signage under various scenarios, including normal conditions for sightseeing information and simulated emergency conditions for sharing information between disaster victims.

Among other things, the test will evaluate how traffic conditions affect real-time information uploading and downloading of photos using digital signage, specifically in terms of effectiveness, potential technological problems and system load characteristics, according to NTT.

NTT Communications scenarios for tests

In the test, WebSocket and WebRTC are expected to enable user devices to easily locate and connect to digital signage. WebSocket and WebRTC do not rely on operating systems or the display formats of user devices, nor do they require specific applications. Communication between devices is enabled by using a Web browser, allowing a variety of devices to connect on the same network. The other advantage of these protocols is that their data packet sizes are small compared to the HTTP communication protocol, according to NTT.

In addition, WebRTC does not require a server for communication after devices are connected. That can be useful in places where there is high-volume traffic, such as tourist sites or during disasters.

If the test is successful, NTT is expected to contribute to the ongoing standardization of the Web of Things (WoT), an advanced concept of the Internet of Things (IoT). WoT leverages Web technologies, such as WebSocket or WebRTC, for IoT services and applications that connect large numbers of devices via a network.

Going forward, NTT Communications also intends to introduce related services for sharing sightseeing or disaster information via Wi-Fi hotspots and digital signage.

Japan's Ministry of Interior Affairs and Communications gave its blessing for the test in July 2014. The test has been designated as an advanced ITC international standardization project for evaluating communication environment transmittance technologies in next-generation browsers.

The WebRTC standard, which is already enabled on more than a billion browsers, allows voice and video calling between browsers without the need to install any software or plugins.

In the United States, AT&T (NYSE: T) has been a vocal proponent of WebRTC, announcing at its developer summit at CES that it would be the first U.S. carrier to launch commercial support for WebRTC via its AT&T Enhanced WebRTC API.

For more:
- see this press release
- see this Telecompaper post

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