WebRTC is not a thing. It’s a technology standard. You will never hold it. You can’t see it (just what it does). Or install it (which is the whole point). But you can integrate it. Just like lots of other forms of real time communication.
Like I said before, WebRTC is nothing new. It’s different. It’s easier. And it’s way more open. The point is to make communications more available. Eliminating the requirement for intermediary programming to connect voice and video over the Internet, so “real time” actually means real-time, not, “as soon as I upgrade the plugin.”
WebRTC is going to revolutionize the world of communications by enabling connections and collaboration. In a recent commentary for InformationWeek detailing ways to communicate in real time without WebRTC, Dave Michaels described the developing standard as bridging “the gap between websites and toll-free numbers.” When it hits, the technology will bring you a mouse click or finger tap away from your customers at all times to tighten relationships and drive sales. The challenge lies in the widespread adoption of WebRTC into major web browsers. Until every browser can agree on how it should work, and integrates the code into their product, you and I will be waiting on the sidelines.
But there is something you can do in the meantime.
Get your organization ready.
Any new feature/procedure you implement takes time to feel normal. You gotta work out the kinks. So get a head start on your competitors who are twiddling their thumbs waiting for universal WebRTC by implementing new methods for your customers to connect to your company, and adapting the way you communicate internally. Work the kinks out now.
Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are already WebRTC capable. According to NetMarketShare.com, together those two browsers possess nearly a quarter of the browser market as of 11/2013. So you can’t guarantee your customers and partners are using WebRTC enabled browsers, but you can use them internally to get your people used to communicating in this way.
There are already loads of ways you can connect via WebRTC now. In June, 2013, we helped FreeSWTICH extended PBX services to WebRTC portals through their platform, boosting the functionality of standard WebRTC. Other services like OpenTok let developers incorporate real time video into their apps, with the ability to record and archive videos for playback later. Now is the time to find an app or service that aligns with your communications toolset (or commission one) and put it into practice.
One of the very exciting aspects of WebRTC is the addition of video to communication apps. And you can start using video now. Outside of true WebRTC, Google Hangouts and similar web applications are enabling businesses with real time video communications through installed plugins. There’s no reason why you can’t take advantage of those products now if you can accept the installations and upgrades as growing pains.
Nemertes Research Group Inc., a business technology consultancy, says WebRTC won’t replace existing technology like VoIP, but augment the connection process and, “fill in the gaps,” to simplify customer engagement (primarily). Employing WebRTC-like tactics is all about strengthening and modernizing your communications arsenal.
Get your customers ready.
In the article I mentioned above, Michaels referenced a way Amazon cheats the click-to-call capabilities WebRTC promises by offering “click-to-be-called” support. It creates the idea in the customer’s mind that they can get in touch with you by clicking a button on your website. So when the click to call button is finally a reality, it’s not intimidating, confusing, or beyond the realm of possibility. It’s a teaching principle called scaffolding, and it will help your web visitors understand the level of connection to expect with your business and make them wonder why everyone else isn’t so open. (It’ll also help turn them off those competitors who aren’t so contactable. (Yay!))
WebRTC is the technology of tomorrow.
The full potential of WebRTC is yet to be realized. But with a little ingenuity, you can achieve (almost) everything WebRTC promises in its fullest realization. And, in the process, step ahead of your competitors with technological efficiencies that power stronger, more collaborative communications today.