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July 31, 2017

What to Consider When Getting Started with WebRTC

By Special Guest
Charlotta Liukas, Marketing Manager, callstats.io

WebRTC offers immense benefits for the modern contact center. WebRTC, which stands for Web Real Time Communication, is a technology framework that enables voice and video communication on a Web browser or in a Mobile/Web App without a plug-in, widget or other software installations. Because of its click-to-call convenience, availability of many platform service providers, as well as the open standards and open source technology, cloud based contact centers are quickly incorporating WebRTC into their operations.     

Adopting WebRTC does, however, come with its own set of challenges: Should you build your own tech or buy a ready platform product? What skills do you need to have in your team for the most scalable and reliable contact center experience? Or, is WebRTC even the right choice for your communication needs?

Lowering the entry costs of communication enabled websites and Web apps

WebRTC is widely backed by the industry, as shown by the recent addition of Safari iOS and MacOS support, which further mainstreamed the WebRTC ecosystem that now includes all major mobile and desktop browsers.

Consequently, WebRTC has become the undisputed default medium for modern Unified Communications and VoIP services. Especially for contact centers, omnichannel communication, contextual support and better CRM management are clear benefits of adopting WebRTC. WebRTC adoption often leads to reduced technological costs and observed reduction of implementation times in the agent platform.      

WebRTC is a free and open technology that is developed and standardized by a multidisciplinary consortium of actors, including the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and private organizations. This means that WebRTC is served by a lively, active community of vendors and platform providers. Because it’s enabled through simple APIs that are part of the HTML5 specification, WebRTC is highly accessible to Web developers, which in turn both accelerates product development and makes the maintenance smoother.   

Building a WebRTC App
Even with all its benefits, including lowered set-up costs, quick deployment and easy scaling, WebRTC is still a medium, not an end destination; contact centers will still need to select and design an application solution with dedicated software systems around it. But while WebRTC applications do require development and maintenance, the skills and resources needed differ from traditional call center software.

Proprietary software for real time communication interfaces used to require a specialized multimedia software development team. In contrast, WebRTC and its numerous off-the-shelf applications offer a light and lean approach to building enhanced contact center experiences capable of serving multi-region markets.

Notably also, for contact centers this means that cloud based WebRTC systems tend to move the bulk of the running expenditure from CAPEX to OPEX. While switching to WebRTC might mean less multimedia engineering resources in-house, what we’ve seen is that, for contact centers to be able to run their WebRTC operations efficiently, you would typically still need to maintain some internal Web development skills. And with the many available drag-and-drop solutions, the role of DevOps will increase in importance.

Application Quality Monitoring and Conferencing Analytics

Selecting the right WebRTC platform, developing the application and ultimately deploying the contact center software to production is a complex process that requires careful testing, analysis and continuous monitoring. Building a robust analytics culture from the start is, in our experience, the best way to ensure data driven product development and decision making in a WebRTC project.

With callstats.io we provide monitoring and analytics for WebRTC services that inform every step of the journey, from development and testing to production level usage statistics. WebRTC monitoring is needed for tracking service KPIs, such as average call length, number of users and other trend graphs. In addition, a specialized analytics dashboard is often invaluable for agents and developers who need to quickly detect, troubleshoot and, in real time, fix diverse communications issues ranging from network connectivity to geographic incompatibility.

Our users include both contact center PaaS (platform as a service) providers and individual contact centers and even agents, all of whom benefit from having a Web analytics interface to track metrics and understand automatic diagnosis of failures and errors in their contact center system.

WebRTC is a powerful new tool that brings numerous advantages and increased convenience to contact center managers, agents and customers alike. Having worked in this industry for the past several years, we’ve witnessed that a well informed monitoring and analytics strategy is often a prerequisite to a successful shift to WebRTC; incorporating application monitoring from the start helps to reap all the benefits from real time communication.

Edited by Alicia Young
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