WebRTC 101

Update:

In the past, Voxbone was one of the pioneers in the industry to offer WebRTC connections as an alternative to SIP Trunks. We’re happy to have contributed to the technology we believed in, and now that there’s an abundance of open-source WebRTC gateways and proxies out there, we believe we’ve done our part.

However, even though our WebRTC service was shut down in 2018, you can still get all the building blocks of our WebRTC interface and all the necessary tools and tutorials needed to replicate the service on your own, at scale.

If you’re interested in setting this up and would like some advice, feel free to contact our product team.

WebRTC stands for Web Real-Time Communication. It’s an API built into browsers that enable browser-to-browser communication for voice and video chat and P2P file sharing without the need of either internal or external plugins.

SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol, it is a text-based protocol used for signaling and controlling multimedia communications.

Want to learn a bit more about SIP trunking and how it all works? Take a look at our ultimate guide.

Even though the two can overlap in use cases, SIP and WebRTC play different roles in communications. 

A lot has been said about the impact of WebRTC on the telephony landscape and its technology stack. But can WebRTC really replace SIP?

The WebRTC battle is a major one, there’s a lot to talk about, and this article is in no way exhaustive. 

WebRTC Going Mobile

The communication world is changing, not only through new protocols but also new hardware. In a handful of decades, we went from a dial tone to having small computers in our pockets. 

As we move towards new communication devices like wearables, they will need to be packed with speed and low-cost data plans in order to give a chance to WebRTC to surpass the convenience of the phone call.

Troublesome Teens

WebRTC is a kindergartner among communications technologies. But it has hit a growth spurt in recent years thanks to huge adoption among popular messaging and VoIP apps used by consumers and businesses alike. 

A major benefit of WebRTC is that it doesn’t require additional software outside of the standard browser. But some browsers do not support it as a standard, including Safari. 

Even worse, WebRTC capabilities aren’t available on any iOS browsers, even using Chrome’s mobile app. Developers can create their own iOS-native apps that use WebRTC, but this is much more costly to develop and maintain than offering a web app.

Making Money From WebRTC

We already know you can save money by using SIP trunk enabled technology, but how are you meant to make money from WebRTC?

Let’s start by looking at Facebook. The social network sees more than 400 million active monthly users use their WebRTC services, mostly through Facebook Messenger. But Messenger is free. 

Facebook can support its calling infrastructure because it makes a killing by selling your profile to advertisers–that’s not a model most of the world can (or should) replicate. 

Unfortunately, that does not leave a clear business case for WebRTC. If you’re not a big social network or messenger with a fancy name, what advantages of WebRTC can you use to enhance your business? Let’s look at some options:

Click-to-call

With one click, a caller can get through to a company and provide customer information automatically. Seeing as the call is made entirely through the web, it saves money for both the customer and the enterprise while encouraging more productive and satisfying communications. 

An end to IVR

Agents are expensive and it doesn’t make sense to have them sitting around waiting for calls. Thus, the IVR and auto-attendant were invented. The only problem is that everyone hates IVRs, especially when you can get to where you need to go in seconds on the web or using your smartphone app. “Press 1 to enter your access code followed by the pound or hash key…” How many times have you been subjected to this awful system? 

WebRTC allows callers to skip these steps and provide a frictionless customer interaction experience. All it takes is cutting and pasting a couple of lines of JavaScript. 

Modernizing contact centers

WebRTC brings a completely new opportunity for implementing and maintaining a call center via the web. Whether you serve call centers or maintain your own, WebRTC can allow you to cut costs by enabling cloud-based voice services which can scale as your business grows. 

Even if you are not a massive social network, WebRTC is an incredibly useful technology that can have an immediate impact on customer satisfaction and your service costs.

At Voxbone we used to be big on WebRTC and its capabilities, and while we still acknowledge its potential, we no longer look at developing our product with it in mind. While this is the case, it doesn’t mean we don’t support it as part of our network and people using WebRTC systems who also want all the benefits and reach of the Voxbone network can continue to do so.

Interested in our network capabilities? Take a look at what we can do for your business here.