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Why You Should Pay Attention to WebRTC in 2016

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ShoreTel WebRTC

After a couple of years of quiet growth, WebRTC is poised to become a mainstream technology in 2016 – one that has major implications for unified communications. That’s because almost all of the major browsers have now announced support for this open API, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Windows 10’s Microsoft Edge browser. (Safari has been the holdout.) Both Android and iOS support the application, too.

WebRTC presents intriguing possibilities for small and medium-sized businesses. Not only does it have application across the organization – from sales and customer service to product and business development – but its potential for frictionless, unified communications may make traditional telephony systems obsolete, a boon for the IT group in lower costs and reduced need for support.

In an analysis of the market conducted by Webtorials, 90% of IT professionals said they believe WebRTC has the potential to improve contact center performance and 67% see it as a potential solution for external video communications. It’s not surprising, then, that 47% of IT professionals said they are using or will use WebRTC in the next 12 months.

Those numbers are likely to increase as more IT professionals become comfortable with the technology and find new ways to deploy it. Here’s a closer look at some of its potential benefits.

Lower Costs

WebRTC can significantly decrease the costs of IT. Not only does it reduce the need for a traditional communications infrastructure, it’s also easier to deploy. Businesses can save on equipment, infrastructure and IT support costs.

Instant Collaboration

WebRTC allows companies to quickly deploy a simple yet high-quality video conferencing solution without regard to employee location. Teams can work collaboratively at a moment’s notice, and WebRTC also makes it much easier to connect with external participants. All they need is a link. With instantaneous connections, teams can take advantage of opportunities as soon as they emerge. In fact, in the Webtorials market analysis, 65% of respondents considered it critical for browsers to provide native support for WebRTC to enable collaboration with customers.

Better Support for Mobile Workers

Mobile workers may be among the biggest beneficiaries of WebRTC, which can make it easier for companies to support a wider range of devices. Because audio, video and data sharing are implemented directly in the browser, there’s no need to require employees to choose a particular device. And because WebRTC doesn’t require a proprietary plug-in or technology, IT support issues are minimized.

“An open standard for peer-to-peer unified communications that enables businesses to embed rich communications in apps and websites without proprietary plug-ins or technology is the perfect companion to mobile and web-based communications,” writes Rory Lidstone in Unified Communications.

Improved Customer Experience

Businesses are likely to find numerous benefits for WebRTC in the call center. Since links can be embedded in customer-facing applications or products, customers can click to connect directly with a call center representative. This type of frictionless communication has potential to greatly improve the customer experience.

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of WebRTC is its flexibility. Early adopters are likely to be innovators, but the technology can enhance the Web-based communications of any business. In addition to its cost-savings potential, WebRTC can transform collaboration, mobility and customer experience. It’s certainly one of the top technologies to watch in 2016.