This white paper will explain what WebRTC is and how this new technology will transform business communications.
Searching the term WebRTC on Google will bring up a plethora of results. This is a topic which the tech world has been talking about for a while, and it is now rapidly gaining more widespread interest. So, why is everyone talking about WebRTC? What exactly is it, and how can it be used in day-to-day business communications?
In short, ‘WebRTC is an API definition drafted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that supports browser-to-browser applications for voice calling, video chat, and P2P file sharing without plugins’. (Wikipedia)
WebRTC essentially allows users to use their browsers as applications for real-time communication without the need for any additional clients or plugins. The WebRTC standard is gaining significant momentum and is currently fully supported by open standard browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera.
Adoption of WebRTC
WebRTC is quickly acquiring more users – a trend which is set to increase over the next few years. Even though it’s currently available only on open standard browsers, this already encompasses 56.7% of internet users (W3Counter, 2014). Microsoft have tried to enter the WebRTC market with their own version called CU-RTC-Web available on Internet Explorer, but it is yet to achieve any momentum. Apple on the other hand is expected to support WebRTC on Safari in the near future.
Projected growth of WebRTC devices. By the end of 2019 more than 2 billion people and 6 billion devices are expected to use and support WebRTC (Disruptive Analysis, 2014).
Business Benefits of WebRTC
WebRTC is a game changer for unified communications, offering simpler and cheaper real-time communications options. The following examples below demonstrate how WebRTC-enabled communications can benefit all sizes and types of business:
#1 Break down the barriers to video conferencing
By bringing real-time communication to the browser, WebRTC has the potential to change the way people communicate. Users can start a video conference or voice chat without being interrupted to download a client or update an existing plugin.
With WebRTC, businesses can now communicate via the internet browser without dialling a phone number, or requiring a middleman, such as Skype. There is also no longer a need to sign into an online meeting service. This brings to an end issues of interoperability and compatibility, as with just one-click through the internet browser a user can join a web conference and interact with multiple participants.
As WebRTC is an open standard application, it can be easily integrated with a standards-based unified communications (UC) solution. With an open standards UC solution it is possible to mix-and-match hardware, such as webcams and headsets, so as to create a cost effective solution and thereby removing the cost barrier.
Proprietary video conferencing solutions can be extremely expensive, for instance Cisco Meeting Room can cost in the region of $30,000, whereas Logitech ConferenceCam CC3000e costs around $1,250. WebRTC is breaking down the cost and technical barriers to video conferencing – making a professional web conferencing solution now within easy reach of most businesses.
#2 Communicate with ease
From enriching a standard phone call with video to visualising a sales pitch- these tasks can now take place, hassle-free, through the internet browser. Simplifying communications has great benefits for businesses, including time savings and more effective communication. With a WebRTC-enabled solution, each employee can have their own personal call link, like a DID for WebRTC, enabling them to launch video and audio calls on the spot, whenever they want.
Beyond the benefits for individuals users, businesses also benefit from classroom features to host webinars for both customers and staff. Support departments can also utilise WebRTC to offer clientless screensharing to show users the solution to their problem. When technical help is required, users are often frustrated, but with WebRTC-enabled remote assistance, help can be given with just one click.
Moreover, visual collaboration can provide a valuable and effective way of communicating with customers and suppliers, enabling businesses to give product demonstrations and pitches. Being able to discuss face-to-face, in contrast to impersonal conference calls, can boost creative collaboration and enable businesses to make faster decisions. Non-verbal communication and visual interaction can help create successful conversations.
Imagine that you are having a call with a colleague who is currently working from home. You wish to show them your designs of the latest product so that you can brainstorm ideas. In the past you would have had to sign-into you web conferencing solution and wait for them to turn on their webcam. Now with one click your voice call can be elevated to a video call. This use of WebRTC offers great advantages for businesses with remote workers or multiple offices.
#3 Boost customer service with free click-to-call
Businesses are always looking for more effective ways to communicate with their customers. WebRTC adds a whole new dimension with click-to-call capabilities. This feature enables customers to call a business directly from their browsers, free of charge. Making it easier for customers to get in touch has clear business benefits, research from Google shows that 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results using click-to-call (Google, 2013).
Imagine a customer browsing your website, trying to find a specific product and having difficulties doing so. With WebRTC they can call the sales department with one mouse click and be shown where the product they are searching for is. They won’t detour to another section or even worse go to a competitor’s site because they become frustrated for not being able to find what they want. According to Google’s research on click-to-call, ‘nearly half of mobile searchers, indicated that the lack of a call option would lead them to be both frustrated with the business and more likely to turn to another brand’ (Google, 2013).
Website visitors can make a free voice or video call directly to a business through the internet browser. When a visitor clicks on the embedded call button in a website, a VoIP call will be made and can be immediately answered by the right person within the business. This means that customers can bypass lengthy IVR voice menus and reach an actual person from the outset. As a result customer satisfaction will increase along with sales and productivity.
By using multiple call button links, customers can be directed to the most appropriate team member for their enquiry. However, call buttons must be intuitive and well-placed on the website to encourage use and also businesses must ensure resources are in place to handle the call appropriately.
Case study: Amazon’s Mayday button for the Kindle Fire HDX is one of the most well known examples of WebRTC-enabled click-to-call. The Mayday button provides 24/7 tech help, with an average response time of 9.75 seconds it has revolutionized customer service. 75% of Fire HDX customer questions now come via the Mayday button. (Amazon, 2014)
#4 Cut business overheads
As inbound calls via the click-to-call function are effectively free, businesses can significantly reduce, or remove the cost of operating expensive 800 number calls. This can really add up for a contact centre. From the perspective of the customer although 800 calls are free on a landline, on a mobile they are still charged airtime rates, thereby rendering an 800 number useless. As a WebRTC call is free for customers and more cost-effective for businesses than a 800 number, all parties benefit.
Besides cutting call costs, with WebRTC-enabled web conferencing businesses can reduce the amount of time and money they are spending on business travel. With 70% of SMBs preferring to have a video conference, rather than travelling to meetings, it clear that there is a demand for high-quality professional conferencing solutions. Moreover, businesses that use video conferencing have reported seeing a 30% reduction in travel costs (PowWowNow, 2012). In turn, this time saved can be used to reach out to more potential customers, thereby increasing productivity.
How to adopt WebRTC in your business
The recommendations outline what features you could look for in your phone system in order to successfully incorporate WebRTC-enabled technology:
- Identify your short term and long terms communication needs to ensure that you choose a solution which supports all the WebRTC-enabled features your business requires.
- Make sure your vendor is fully committed to innovation and adopting WebRTC technology to ensure your phone system does not become outdated.
- Select a phone system and video conferencing solution that natively speaks WebRTC. A fully-integrated, open standards UC solution is a popular choice for many businesses as it offers a one-stop shop for all communications needs – combining WebRTC-enabled web conferencing, click-to-call and an IP phone system.
- Choose a software-based solution which can be easily integrated with your existing IT infrastructure and CRM applications.
- Select an open standards solution which will give your business the flexibility to ‘mix and match’ hardware, such as webcams and IP phones, to create the perfect communications solution at a cost effective price.
WebRTC is a useful new technology standard for businesses as it enables colleagues to communicate more easily and for customers to get answers quickly with click-to-call. As a customer service and collaboration tool it’s hard to beat. Businesses that embrace WebRTC will undoubtedly see commercial benefits and gain a competitive advantage – not least better customer engagement, boosted sales, improved communication and reduced call costs.
A corporate UC solution is an investment for the future- a high quality vendor will provide a fully functional, secure communications system which will increase productivity and create a professional appearance. 3CX Phone System is a software-based solution packed full of UC features, including a fully integrated web conferencing solution, 3CX WebMeeting. 3CX WebMeeting uses WebRTC to offer clientless web conferencing. In addition, 3CX Phone System 12.5 offers click-to-call and provides each extension with their own call link. Designed with the IT administrator in mind, 3CX Phone System is easy to install and manage and can cut call costs by up to 70%. To find out more visit our website at www.3CX.com.
Download the pdf version of this whitepaper here!
- W3Counter, October 2014: ‘Web Browser Market Share’ [http://bit.ly/1td9Auz]
- Amazon, June 2014: Press release- ‘75% of Kindle Fire HDX Customer Questions Now Come via the Mayday Button—Average Response Time is Just 9.75 Second’ [http://bit.ly/11s3XSr]
- Disruptive Analysis, September 2014: ‘WebRTC Market Status & Forecasts’ [http://bit.ly/1x1q6C3]
- Google, September 2013: ‘The Role of Click to Call in the Path to Purchase’ [http://bit.ly/11i507G]
- PowWowNow, 2012: ‘The rise of video conferecing’ [http://bit.ly/1yRNsKA]