WebRTC Continues to Emerge as Microsoft and Apple Get On Board

Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) is a free, open-source API that enables what the name suggests – real-time voice, video and data communication and peer-to-peer file sharing through a browser-based interface. Rather than using internal or external plugins, software or applications, users can establish a connection for communication and data sharing by simply clicking a button in their browser.

Launched by Google in 2011, the WebRTC initiative was designed to simplify communications based upon standard protocols rather than having a separate network with different applications specifically for communications. All capabilities are already integrated with the browser, which uses the WebRTC application to access the device’s camera and microphone, initiate calls, capture media, and transmit data. Users can than communicate and share files with JavaScript and HTML5.

Initially, WebRTC was only available in Chrome and Firefox browsers. Although WebRTC is not supported by Internet Explorer, the new Microsoft Edge browser does support it, and Apple is in the process of developing support for WebRTC as part of Apple’s WebKit specification. With support from Microsoft and Apple, adoption of and use cases for WebRTC in the business community are expected to expand.

Because WebRTC is not tied to a single browser, device or vendor, organizations can implement WebRTC without purchasing new hardware. Not only are upfront costs minimal, but the simplicity of the interface reduces the time and training required to implement WebRTC. To ensure the highest possible audio and video quality, the Internet Engineering Task Force has recommended that browser vendors use VP8 and H.264 video codecs.

The use of standard web protocols allows WebRTC to be easily integrated with VoIP and unified communications solutions, making it easier and faster to connect with mobile workforces and customers. Instead of dialing into an audio or video conference and opening a separate application, users can collaborate by clicking or tapping a button in their mobile or desktop web browser. This allows organizations to streamline business processes, improve productivity, and increase customer satisfaction. At the same time, the elimination of disparate communications platforms reduces the risk of performance disruptions.

WebRTC is already being used as a contact center technology to allow direct communication between an agent and the end-user or customer. Agents can take calls within the browser instead of using a telephony application or plugin. WebRTC also makes it possible for companies to offer live video support in a cost-effective way. This enables agents to show customer how to fix a problem instead of just telling them. The overall flexibility of WebRTC allows organizations to improve the operational efficiency of their contact centers.

WebRTC can also replace toll-free numbers with click-to-call functionality, which reduces operational costs, eliminates per-minute fees, and simplifies the customer experience. Instead of finding a number and placing a call through a different application, customers can place a call directly from the company’s website.

WebRTC technology is emerging quickly and needs to be on your radar. Contact IPC to learn more about how WebRTC can simplify communications and reduce costs in your organization.