Real Time Communications Featured Article

Thinking Beyond WebRTC

October 28, 2014

A communications-as-a-service provider, Bit6 challenged the business community recently with its argument that applications developers need to look beyond WebRTC as a stand-alone technology and focus on how it fits into the entire world of communications.

WebRTC makes it easy for developers to add audio and video communications into their applications by using Web browsers as the platform for data transmission. Modern HTML5-capable browsers can work with the WebRTC protocol and handle high-quality communication with no extraneous plugins or add-ons. Despite those advantages, however, Bit6 CEO Alexey Goloshubin still reportedly thinks of the real-time communication technology as a “building block” that should be integrated with other systems.

“By bringing WebRTC to mobile and coupling it with other aspects of communications, such as text and multimedia messaging, application developers can create new communications capabilities and deliver a unified experience that satisfies how people actually communicate,” Goloshubin said.

It is that integration, such as with text and multimedia, that can inform developers intentions when they create applications. Bit6 says developers can ask themselves a number of questions that will ultimately improve their own efforts and the health of communications in general. Bit6 wants to know:

  • Are mobile users with smartphones and tablets on multiple platforms able to use the WebRTC-driven app?
  • How does the app affect legacy systems and users with landlines and feature phones?
  • Users prefer text and multimedia messaging. With that in mind, does the WebRTC application enhance those modalities and bring more users into the fold of audio and video communications?

Overall, these questions lead to a push for WebRTC to be seamless, work across many devices, and allow users to continue to text while having the option of audio and video. New technologies should enhance user experiences, not try to hold them back or force them into something new.

TMC’s Call Center Services points out that customers prefer speaking to customer service representatives through text messages and Web chats as quick ways to solve their problems. Communicating through voice or video is seen as a slower, more cumbersome method of communication. That may be the biggest hurdle for widespread WebRTC usage by consumers. They want interactions to be quick as well as effective.

WebRTC may actually be able to provide users with the best of both worlds. Audio and video communication can be effective and personal, and it meets users where they spend a lot of their time: on the Internet. The use of mobile devices to access the Internet increased over the past 12 months, TMC reported this past September. That means that they are exactly in the place where WebRTC makes its home.

If developers can make use of that information, they may have a way to increase the preference for voice and video and compete with the present overwhelming preference for text. If apps can sync with Web browsers and websites in a meaningful way and use WebRTC in a manner that is fluid, they will have begun to enhance the entire communications ecosystem. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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