On Sept. 8, 1966, “Enterprise” communication as we know it crackled to life when Capt. James T. Kirk of the Federation Starship Enterprise flipped open his communicator and spoke these words to his crew: “Transporter room: Three to beam up.”Yet even earlier that decade—1964 to be precise—the Bell Telephone Pavilion at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadow Park showed a family on Earth having a video chat with the family patriarch deployed to a space station orbiting high above the planet. Imaginations soared.Today, of course, video chat is real, and so is audio and video streaming to remote corners of the world. If there’s WiFi, there’s communication.So what’s the buzz about WebRTC? Simply, it takes real-time audio/video communication to the browser, opening up possibilities for enterprises—businesses, healthcare organizations, governments and the media, among many others—to better serve their constituencies. And that, according to Dan Burnett (one of the editors working on the WebRTC specification at the World Wide Web Consortium), is what will make it truly transformative. “We’ve had chat: text, voice and video. The ability has existed for a while. The difference is that no plug-ins are required. People hate plug-ins. They create security problems,” Burnett said. “To include audio and video almost trivially in a Web page is transformative. You’ll see for the first time the really ubiquitous use of video.”If you look at building a client that does Voice Over IP, you need a foundation of a microphone, camera, processor and operating system. In a PC, most of that is there now.Next you need a visual interface. On a smartphone, that would be the buttons. On a PC, it’s the screen.Finally, you need a media engine, which takes input, implements code to compress audio and video (and does echo cancellation), puts it into packets, and sends it to the right place.