Thanks to fast-paced technological change, business is evolving rapidly. Workers are often mobile. Services come via the cloud. Meetings take place over video and chat. Customer service is about the contact center and not just the call center. Social media is a leading marketing channel.
One emerging trend is the rise of an entirely new way of calling: unified communications. UC pulls together voice, video, chat, and both file and screen sharing for more robust communication. Within that space,
Currently the technology is promoted heavily by Google and supported by Firefox and Chrome web browsers. Plugins can be automatically downloaded for Microsoft and Apple browsers until the two companies adopt the emerging standard.
IDG says there should be 4.6 billion devices that support WebRTC by the end of next year, and businesses are already using it to simplify their unified communications experiences and take advantage of the unique opportunities inherent in the technology. Here are five reasons your business should be one of companies embracing the technology.
#1. Easy Deployment and Use
You’ve probably used some form of real-time communications already. There are a slew of over-the-top (OTT) options such as Skype and Viber. Many businesses also use VoIP-based calling and unified communications solutions such as Microsoft Lync, either in the cloud or as an on-premise solution.
WebRTC gives the same benefits as OTT and incumbent UC options, but it is easier to use and set up than OTT services because there’s no need to hunt down logins and password information or install software. Instead, users just click a link or button on a web page or app and typically leverage current browser logins.
#2. New Opportunities for Sales, Customer Service and Collaboration
Because WebRTC does not require any prep or technical knowledge from users and can easily be added to company websites, it opens the door to new ways for businesses to offer customer service. A customer can launch a service interaction with the touch of a button, and agents can use WebRTC to demonstrate product use, solve technical problems visually, or help customers with their online purchases thanks to screen-sharing functionality.
For sales, WebRTC finally takes the friction out of virtual meetings because sales staff can send customers a link to initiate a video call and then not only gain a deeper connection with the customer than would be possible by phone, but also easily include PowerPoint or other sales tools for a better pitch or demonstration. The first time your sales staff uses WebRTC, they’ll be hooked. It is breathtaking.
The same goes for collaboration with remote workers or those working in the field. One of the biggest challenges remote workers face is a lack of deep collaboration and connection with other employees, making the ability for employees to quickly and easily share files and interact through video very significant.
#3. Mobile-First Communications
Customers now view digital content on their mobile phones more than on their laptops or desktop computers. Roughly 51 percent of all digital media is viewed using a mobile browser, according to eMarketer, compared with only 42 percent for computers and laptop browsers. Further, 11.3 percent of all web viewers forego a computer entirely and solely use mobile devices for browsing, according to recent stats by ComScore.
Businesses in 2015 need to ensure that their digital interactions with customers are mobile first. This means adaptive website design that works on both mobile and laptop devices and digital communications that are also flexible. While older unified communications solutions often struggle to work across all devices seamlessly, WebRTC is well suited for mobile-first strategies due to the availability of mobile SDKs for mobile app deployments together with the built-in bowser support on desktops and certain mobile browsers (but not Safari, unfortunately)..
Further, while the variability of cellular network connections can be a significant challenge for traditional services, WebRTC communications as a service (CaaS) providers like Agora.io can deliver a global quality of experience assurance by intelligently routing real-time communications around bottlenecked parts of the Web,. WebRTC brings the reliability businesses need in their customer-facing communications.
#4. Hardened Security
The dirty little secret in the real-time communications community is that many OTT and UC services are not very secure.
That’s because the Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) used for VoIP and UC is not inherently secure. There is Secure RTP (SRTP) protocol that brings the encryption and security businesses want, but many real-time communications solutions go with the less secure RTP because the secure protocol is harder to set up and most customers don’t know enough to demand or care about security.
But of course security does matter, and WebRTC has SRTP baked into its protocol by default. This means WebRTC is easier to use than most competition solutions, and it is as secure or more secure than other options. This is the advantage of using a modern, broadly supported, open-source standard. Corners are not cut, especially with security.
#5. Cost-Effective Communications
At the end of the day, unified communications solutions are about selling hardware, whether it be from Avaya or Cisco. More software-based UC solutions, such as Microsoft Lync, are about licensing revenue, as are OTT solutions. WebRTC is not since it is an open standard.
Further, there is usually a significant capital investment for UC integration and deployment. However, WebRTC can be added to a business quickly, and businesses can forego the high cost of hiring consultants or integrators.
The cost of WebRTC, both for deployment and use, is relatively low—even if businesses pony up for quality of experience assurance or options to enable WebRTC to connect directly with the traditional cell and landline phone network. This makes WebRTC by far the most economical business communications solution.
Easy to use and deploy, innovative, secure, and cost-effective. These are good qualities—and why businesses of all sizes should be getting on the WebRTC bandwagon.
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