Often WebRTC is positioned as a way to save money, just like VoIP initially was positioned as a cheaper alternative to traditional calling.
While the cost savings possible with WebRTC certainly exists, there also is a lot of opportunity for profit generation through the technology, which lets users easily conduct real-time communications through a browser.
“I think the biggest disruption from WebRTC is with making money,” TokBox CEO Scott Lomond told RealTimeCommunications during the recent WebRTC Atlanta conference. “A lot of people thought that when WebRTC first came out it would be a cheaper way to do voice, or a better way to do videoconferencing. But in reality we’re seeing people do new things where they’re actually delivering positive ROI by increasing basket size, and by making sure the conversion rate is going up because they can engage customers at the point of sale.”
TokBox, which is owned by telecom giant, Telefónica, develops and operates a global WebRTC platform called OpenTok that enables developers to add live face-to-face video experiences to any web or mobile property. As a WebRTC platform used both by startups and Fortune 100 companies, it has plenty of visibility into what is currently being done with the technology.
The company is seeing a lot of WebRTC activity in the customer service space, of course, but medical and the education market also are actively developing solutions with WebRTC that drive revenue instead of just cutting costs.
In the education space, tutoring platforms are one place where WebRTC is driving revenue.
“They’re using the platform to power the video and the audio components of that,” he told us. “Very often, those services involve screen-sharing or other types of data collaboration, so that’s very exciting.”
The opportunities with WebRTC are very much still to be determined, however.
“We talk in terms of when HTML came out that nobody really anticipated there would be LinkedIn or Ebay or anything like that,” Lomond noted. “I think that as developers really engage with what can be done on the WebRTC platform and protocol, we will see all manner of very creative solutions that no one can imagine quite yet.”