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Frank SchönbergerFeb 16, 20223 min read

WebAssembly Spreads its Wings to Cover More Use Cases 

WebAssembly (a.k.a Wasm) has undergone an impressive metamorphosis since it was initially announced in 2015. After its first official release in early 2017, the major browser developers significantly extended their Wasm feature set and continue today with no signs of stopping.

Wasm Emerges from the Chrysalis

Among Internet browser providers, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome have been vanguards in supporting Wasm by adding support for features like multi-threading and SIMD (Single Instructions, Multiple Data). They even paved the way for video-related workflows and use cases. And in December 2021, Apple enabled Wasm multi-threading support. I suspect they will add even more features, such as SIMD, in 2022. These additions indicate that engineering investments in WebAssembly are being made by global players like Google, Mozilla, Microsoft and Apple—who combined account for over ninety percent of browser traffic. This opens the door for a plethora of video-related use cases in common Internet browsers.

Security & Surveillance

With the requests for Wasm we have received at MainConcept, there has been a clear bent towards the security and surveillance market, as detailed in last year’s blog post Secure Browser-based Video with WebAssembly. In many of these use cases, organizations are using modern security cameras or bodycams that record and transmit in HEVC/H.265 video format for remote playback in the browser.

This begs the question: browsers don’t support native HEVC playback, so why don’t these devices use AVC/H.264 instead? Remember, one of the most important advantages of HEVC is that it provides excellent quality even under low network conditions—a benefit you will not see when using AVC and targeting a higher data rate. When you want to save bandwidth, HEVC is the answer! To that end, the MainConcept WebASM HEVC Decoder SDK is the perfect companion for browser-based security monitoring and playback solutions where low-latency preview of multiple camera feeds is a key feature.

But Wasm can do so much more than decode for security and surveillance purposes and there are a number of other areas where Wasm would be a fabulous fit.

Wasm Takes Wing to Cover More Use Cases

From my perspective, I see two extremely valuable benefits of Wasm: first, the platform and operating system are independent and, second, Wasm can be deployed on many different devices. Wasm can be used on a desktop PC, laptop, tablets, mobile phones and other mobile devices. Nowadays, even smart TVs and game consoles support Wasm. This opens the door for numerous use cases from different markets, including:

  • Video-editing and production in browser
  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
  • Remote gaming
  • Interactive education and training
  • Scientific visualization and simulation
  • OTT content playback

Many of the scenarios above can be applied in both live and on-demand workflows where video playback is required. And, with the low-bandwidth requirements for Wasm, you can use it with a fast and flexible decoder like HEVC/H.265 to maintain best-of-breed quality.

Learn More About Wasm

Want to learn more?  Join us for our upcoming webinar Secure and Flexible Video Decoding with MainConcept WebAssembly HEVC SDK where Sarah Cook, Product Marketing Director, and I will talk more about Wasm, its history and use cases. REGISTER TO WATCH LIVE FEBRUARY 24 OR ON DEMAND

Shhhhh! Wanna Know a Secret?

In addition, we will talk about the MainConcept WebASM HEVC Decoder SDK, and how it enables users to implement secure and efficient playback in a sandbox environment. We will discuss features such as multi-threading that are currently supported and give you a sneak peek of the features you will see with our upcoming release!


Frank Schönberger

Frank Schönberger has been with MainConcept for two decades focused primarily on product management. With deep knowledge of customer requirements and engineering methodology, he is dedicated to collaborating effectively across Sales, Marketing, Product Management and Engineering to ensure MainConcept brings users the technology they need to achieve their vision. A graduate of RWTH Aachen University, Frank studied languages, teaching, history and politics.