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Responding to Customer Demand with Deeper Customizations of WebRTC

By Darach Beirne, Vice President of Customer Success at Flowroute, now part of Intrado, and Julien Chavanton, Voice Platform Architecture Lead at Flowroute, now part of Intrado

As technology evolves, the way consumers prefer to interact with businesses also changes. In order to stay ahead of these changing demands, businesses continue to identify ways to personalize communication options for their customers to deliver the next generation of customer experience.

One way businesses are differentiating themselves is by tailoring their customer support and contact center communications using real-time communications tools like Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC).

WebRTC Explained

WebRTC is a technology that enables cross-platform and context-based support to improve interactions between customers and support services. Introduced in 2011, WebRTC has been used to enhance deployment of voice and video tools within browsers and apps. Enterprises that leverage WebRTC can deliver personalized experiences to customers because they gather the relevant data and context on a customer's interaction with the business. For example, a customer service representative can see which platform (i.e. via a phone call, web browser or in-app) the customer prefers to use when interacting with support. Armed with this data, enterprises are better equipped to resolve questions and issues quickly, while also feeling more engaged and connected to their customers.

Since WebRTC is an open source standard, it helps browsers and mobile apps communicate directly with others in real-time, from any device, without extra plugins or CSPs. Using WebRTC, developers can create contextual apps that provide the information to users through the right channel.

WebRTC is also a proven way to simplify and enrich direct communication and collaboration. As it becomes more deeply enmeshed in the landscape, WebRTC will someday take the place of most native apps on mobile phones and tablets. This shift would take it beyond a web-based application and anything that would apply about connecting web users would be true when connecting mobile users.

Outlined below are two ways developers and IT departments can deploy WebRTC to give customers better control over browser behaviors for web-based telecom tools.

Improve Browser Experiences with WebAssembly

One way developers and IT teams can more deeply customize WebRTC is by integrating WebAssembly.

WebAssembly boosts media applications on the Web and is powering the next generation of rich web and mobile client applications.

WebAssembly increases the power of WebRTC by enabling integration of features like new codecs, audio controls and image recognition into browsers. WebAssembly also allows for the creation of media processing features by running code as fast as compiled C/C++ with hardware optimization allows. As developers work to enhance voice and call capabilities through WebRTC, WebAssembly will be one of the primary methods to improve browser experiences and generate more powerful customer communication platforms.

VoIP & SIP: Where Does WebRTC Fit?

While WebRTC is becoming more widely recognized as an important component of technology, SIP has risen to become the default telecom standard. SIP is fairly easy for developers to integrate given that it shares many concepts with HTTP.

WebRTC is related to other VoIP technologies like SDP/RTP in SIP/SDP/RTP, though it is important to note that SIP is complementary to WebRTC, rather than comparable. While VoIP is often the choice for voice communications, SIP can include data such as video and other media. Though WebRTC and SIP can operate independent of one another, uniting them can open the door for great enhancement of communication possibilities. 

Some of the benefits of joining WebRTC and SIP together include upgraded user experience with one-click audio contextual communication and the option to receive inbound calls over the internet without crossing the PSTN. By doing this, developers can connect legacy PBX equipment with more modern web users by using one efficient protocol.

Using SIP/WebRTC instead of PSTN can also improve HD audio quality. In some instances, it can result in more reliable audio transmission using codecs that come with WebRTC like Opus (an offshoot of Skype/Silk). This codec is already well integrated and tested in PBX such as FreeSWITCH, Asterisk and many modern softphones. Users can get even more benefits by using SIP like chat or registration/NAT traversal.

With customers increasingly gravitating toward personalized experiences, there is a growing need for tools, such as enhanced WebRTC, that will improve digital engagement and communication. By implementing deeper customizations of WebRTC, enterprises can improve web browsing experiences to align with what customers want, while also developing cutting edge communications tools. As they do so, businesses will see value added to their bottom line and increased customer retention and satisfaction.

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About the Authors

Darach Beirne is vice president of customer success at Flowroute, now part of Intrado.

Darach Beirne 

With more than 25 years of experience building and leading B2B customer success, Darach leads Flowroute's dedicated customer support team, driving strategy for customer success and improved customer satisfaction. Prior to joining Flowroute, Darach lead professional service and sales engineering teams for providers such as Contenix, Huawei/3Leafsytems, InQuira, Siebel/Scopus and Ingres. He also has assisted high-tech companies develop strategies to improve the customer experience and increase scalability.

Julien Chavanton is the voice platform architecture lead at Flowroute, now part of Intrado.

Julien Chavanton 

As a voice software engineer, open source/free software enthusiast Julien has spent the last 20 years hacking and engineering. He started his career in computer and telephony integration in 2000 contributing to GNU/Bayonne, where he became an active contributor to a variety of other open source projects like Kamailio, FreeSWITCH and Linphone, etc. Outside of his work, Julien enjoys reading and studying open source software to continuously improve his skills.

Published Friday, August 21, 2020 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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