Remember all the times when you had to fight your way through multiple web pages or input however many numbers on your phone just to communicate to a company representative on the other side? Since 2018, WebRTC has been shifting the way people interact over the internet. You can now have instantaneous communication via messages, phone calls, and video calls over web browsers or smartphone apps.
WebRTC is an open-source project that uses simple APIs to allow peer-to-peer communication directly through a web browser. It eliminates the need for a third-party software installation since it is already integrated into desktop browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, IE, Edge, and Opera. Apart from informal communication between people on a personal level, WebRTC has become a very handy tool for businesses to get in touch with their customers.
WebRTC as a business asset
To a customer wanting to talk to a company representative, nothing says inconvenience more than an automated voice at the other giving them step by step directions only to wait for a chance to speak to an executive. Even with e-mails, it takes a few days before the customer receives a reply which may or may not solve their query. The fact is, businesses benefit exponentially when they add a personal touch to their customer care. It says that the company is compassionate towards its patrons.
According to Gartner’s UCaaS magic quadrant of 2019, everyone from Facebook, Microsoft, Google to Cisco, Fuse, and Windstream are using WebRTC. While the technology may be more prevalent in the tech and telecom industries, it is slowly being deployed in the industrial, healthcare, education, and IoT sectors as well. Ever since the pandemic, the trend of virtual consultation and online classes has skyrocketed. WebRTC makes these services much more accessible and efficient for both sides. As far as its industrial and IoT uses are concerned, it is great for surveillance and creating a smart environment, along with interacting with visitors.
Another pro about WebRTC is the ease of setup. Although a strong development team is required to build the service for the particular company, WebRTC requires no further downloadables – software or plugins. Every relevant desktop browser and mobile OS have built-in support.
While WebRTC comes with a promise of pure peer-to-peer communication, it is not always the case. In many cases, an external module is required to help facilitate the communication. The most common ones are Full mesh peer-to-peer, Multipoint Control Unit (MCU), and Selective Forwarding Unit (SFU), all of which have their pros and cons.
The full mesh allows a direct peer-to-peer data connection without involving any server unit. The data is transferred directly from one user to another, free of any latency. Since there is no server used, Full mesh can only serve a few clients without putting too much load. For this, it is useful in one-on-one communications particularly for customer service and healthcare consultations.
Multipoint Control Unit has been a reliable module in the multi-peer communication industry for a good while now as it allows large-scale conferencing among its users. In MCU-based structures, data from each user is sent to the MCU, which processes it, augments it, and sends it to the rest of the users. This can cause some delay. MCU is useful for communication to remote regions since it generates outputs based on each client’s bandwidth. MCU is widely used in the manufacturing and education space.
Much like the structure of MCU, Selective Forwarding Unit architecture also uses a central server. The difference, however, is that, unlike MCU, SFU does not interfere with the data. It simply relays it from one peer to another. Also, an SFU allows users to send and receive multiple media streams at once. This not only means reduced latency but also that each steam maintains its original identity. SFU also has greater scalability without added stress on each user. One of the biggest present uses of SFU is large-scale conferencing with IoT in its future.
It’s a secure form of communication
Security and privacy are inherent features of WebRTC. Communication through a WebRTC channel is directly between peers without any kind of storage in between. When you share data through any medium, the information is already encrypted with Secure Real-Time Protocol, which prevents decoding without encryption keys. On top of that, WebRTC makes it extremely difficult to locate the encryption keys.
Adding to its own security, WebRTC also utilizes the browser’s security. Browsers are pretty much the workstation for the internet. They store credentials, passwords, and other vital details, and therefore, demand the highest form of protection from hacks and leaks. If there is a flaw, dedicated teams at parent companies fix these security lapses and make them available with the next update. This shows that user security has no room for compromise.
Facebook is working hard towards the goal of eliminating phone numbers by implementing WebRTC. Now, even though we are far from that day, the use of real-time communication is only progressing by the day. People are growing more tech-savvy and less patient. When they want to contact a business, it is no different either. So, it’s about time businesses start catching up to their demands.
Being a leading communications solutions provider, StarTele Logic provides WebRTC services. If your enterprise is interested, get a free demo of our tech services.
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