WebRTC has been slowly gaining momentum as more businesses embrace this relatively new technology. Despite its apparent lack of publicity, people who regularly deal with telecommunications are getting increasingly excited about the potential for next-generation communication applications that the technology will facilitate for business.
Fast and Simple Deployment and Integration
Before Web RTC, there were three primary methods for making video calls: standalone applications such as Skype or cloud-based options such as GoToMeeting, were the two most useful to businesses. However, the lack of third-party integration forces users to continually jump between platforms and accounts during sessions, in stark contrast to WebRTC’s in-browser click-to-call capability that requires no downloads or new logins.
Making Customer Interactions More Personal
By facilitating live video chat without any downloads, WebRTC creates a frictionless communication environment that encourages customer interaction. The real benefit, however, is that consumers get direct access to a real person that’s able to answer questions and even demonstrate product features. The ability to inject real personality into customer services builds consumer trust through interaction with people, rather than a brand.
This type of video sales has applications beyond just retail. WebRTC-enabled web conferencing provides businesses the opportunity to engage in sales pitches and product presentations remotely, dramatically reducing the time and cost associated with travelling to customers’ offices. The time that is saved travelling can then be put towards generating more meetings, which increases the productivity of the team to drive more sales.
Real-Time Video Collaboration to Drive Productivity
With less than 68% of US workers feeling fully engaged at work, more businesses are implementing collaboration tools to drive productivity. However, these text-based tools are poor imitations of the social media platforms they are attempting to emulate, and the limited feature set doesn’t do enough to nurture the interpersonal relationships that come with personal interaction.
WebRTC overcomes this inefficiency by allowing team members in different areas of a building, or in offices on different continents, to maintain face-to-face communication throughout a project. This capability aligns perfectly with the current trend towards working remotely, which has seen the number of US employees who work from home at least 50% of the time increase to 3.7 million in 2015.
Increased Security as Standard
The common misconception with VoIP calls is that the mode of communication is private and secure. However, UC systems generally rely on RTP (Real-time Transport Protocol) to facilitate VoIP calls due to its ease of implementation and configuration when compared to SRTP (Secure RTP). Given the sensitive nature of most business communication, companies relying on RTP-based solutions are leaving themselves, and their businesses, exposed.
WebRTC was built around Secure-RTP (SRTP) as its foundation, making every call private and secure. With SRTP providing authentication and encryption for each transaction, WebRTC ensures the integrity of each call is maintained to ensure the privacy of your corporate video calls.
A Cost Effective Communication Solution
Hardware is the key driver of revenue for companies that offer UC solutions. As a result, the capital investment that is required to purchase the hardware can quickly price smaller companies out of the market. That is above and beyond the time-based expense of getting a dedicated integration engineer to implement and integrate a UC system as well.
With WebRTC’s simple implementation, adding a click-to-call button to a company website clears the path for an open communication channel with your customers. With seamless communication handled over the web, it’s possible to dramatically reduce the operating costs associated with providing 1800 numbers for customers.
All the core WebRTC technologies from Google and others are free and open source (at webrtc.org), but if you want them pre-packaged and easier to use then you may want to pay a little for pre-built libraries and cloud services from a WebRTC infrastructure company. This is most appropriate when you need a guaranteed quality service, for example across global networks and mobile devices as provided as a service by Agora.IO (try their free app at beckon.cc).
WebRTC is still undergoing development work while a joint effort by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) seeks standardisation. Given its cost, implementation and versatility advantages over existing technologies, WebRTC’s business applications will continue to broaden. And with its usability already proven by companies like Google and Amazon, it is only a matter of time before WebRTC is considered the foundation for business communication.
JT Ripton is a business consultant and freelance writer who enjoys writing about a myriad of topics, including business and technology. You can follow him on Twitter @JTRipton