Communication: Securely

Why do they call WebRTC disruptive?
How does it really work?

This article examines the top benefits of WebRTC for business, analyzes any concerns with WebRTC security and describes the most important factors that a company should take into account before adopting WebRTC.

What is WebRTC

WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication)​ is an open source project which includes a collection of
communication protocols and JavaScript APIs aiming to enable the web with real-time, rich and high
quality communication capabilities. In simple words, WebRTC makes it possible for web browsers to
transfer audio, video and data peer-to-peer in real-time without the need of any plugins.

WebRTC was started as an open project by Google back in 2011. Its APIs are actively being defined and
standardized by W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). Currently WebRTC is supported by Google Chrome,
Mozilla Firefox and Opera web browsers on PC and Android.

What makes WebRTC disruptive

In its “Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing” Gartner predicts that by 2019 15% of enterprise voice and
video communications will happen using WebRTC (compared to less than 1% today)  [@ Gartner Inc. Adam Preset | Mike Fasciani | Whit Andrews – Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing].
Many web services have been supporting RTC (real-time communication) in some way for a long time, so
what is so disruptive about WebRTC? Let’s see in detail what makes WebRTC different:

  • WebRTC does not rely on any proprietary plugin; its components are natively integrated into web
    browsers​ and can be accessed via standard JavaScript APIs, allowing developers to enable
    websites and web applications with real-time audio, video and data transfer capabilities.
  • Natively integrated audio and video means that in order to start a call from WebRTC-enabled
    applications and websites, users no longer need to waste time on installing, updating and
    troubleshooting any plugin. No more Java Applets​, all that users need to do is to enable access
    to their microphone and webcam.
  • Since WebRTC is interoperable with VoIP and UC solutions, it can be integrated into a company’s
    existing telephony infrastructure in order to extend the Unified Communications capabilities
    beyond the confines of an enterprise to customers​, partners, suppliers. In other words, external
    users can benefit from the UC features, such as presence, chat, audio, video, conferencing, data
    transfer, screen sharing to interact with the company over the web (all this using only a web
  • WebRTC responds to bandwidth availability​, detecting and avoiding congestion and mitigating
    the effects of packet loss. WebRTC includes adaptive jitter buffers, echo cancellation and other
    components for audio and video, that guarantee the best possible quality of communication in
    changing network conditions.

Benefits of WebRTC for Business

#1: streamline collaboration through video conferencing

It is quite common for companies today to have remote work teams, employees working from home or
elsewhere, collaborators who often travel, go to customers or roam between different sites of the company.
For many companies videoconferencing is no longer an option but a must-have​, and the only way for
remote work teams to collaborate efficiently and reduce unnecessary traveling.
But videoconferencing solutions are not all made the same. Let’s see which advantages a WebRTC-based
video conferencing offers compared to other solutions on the market:

  •  Proprietary video conferencing solutions are expensive and complicated. With WebRTC a video
    conference takes place on the web allowing users to connect instantly without having to install,
    download and update any plugin, or use expensive hardware.
  • WebRTC can be integrated into a UC&C platform in a way to allow users to extend a point-to-point
    chat conversation or an audio call to a multipoint videoconference at any time.
  • External users (customers, suppliers, freelancers) can be invited to enter a video conference room
    using a web browser.

#2: enhance customer interaction with free click2call

Customers may leave the company for different reasons, but one thing is for sure: a customer who has
difficulty contacting the company is an unhappy customer and is more likely to opt for a different brand.
WebRTC offers some unique features that significantly improve the customer interaction:

  • Having to download, install, update and troubleshoot plugins and clients can be a complicated
    process. With WebRTC you can relieve the stress and save the time by providing your customer
    with an easy, instant and plugin-free way to contact the company over the Internet.
  • With customer auto-authentication and login via social networks you can add a personal
    approach to the way you communicate with the customer. Integration of WebRTC with the
    telephony system also allows routing the customer to the right agent or group.
  •  Simplify your customer interaction by offering file exchange and screen sharing capabilities.
    Possibility to exchange files or start a screen sharing session right during a call or a chat session,
    without the need to use external applications can significantly streamline sales and support

#3: leverage the website to bring in new customers

A customer who has found the company on the web, expects to be able to contact the company in the
same way–over the web and using the browser​–without having to resort to different means of
communication (writing an email, dialing a phone number).

In case your website doesn’t offer direct customer interaction options, the client is more likely to choose a
different company.

WebRTC makes your website truly interactive and helps you to convert an occasional passer-by into a
potential customer.
Here is what WebRTC can do for websites:

  • Needless to say that WebRTC is very useful for ecommerce and drastically decreases the cart
    abandonment rate​ by facilitating the contact. In addition, company call agents can know which
    pages of the website the person has been navigating at that moment and be more efficient in
    providing the customer service.

tempurHere’s how TEMPUR-PEDIC ® has increased their ecommerce sales share by double digits:
“We no longer miss any request. Out clients love the Live Chat service because it’s easier for them to ask for the information”
Antonio Carlà, website/ecommerce manager, Tempur Italy.

  • With real-time contact options, potentials are more likely to initiate contact with the company. A
    free click-to-call solution on the website greatly increases and facilitates the contact for those
    customers who are potentially interested in a product or a service, or are ready to buy​.

WebRTC and security

Since WebRTC is an open-source project, many people question its security. Is WebRTC really safe?

Let’s start with the fact that WebRTC is not a plugin or a program that you install on your PC, which means
WebRTC communications cannot be affected in case your PC gets infected by a virus or a spyware.

WebRTC allows passing the data from browser to browser, so your calls and video chats do not rely on
any software. Security of WebRTC communication is contained directly within your browser.
Let’s take a closer look into WebRTC built-in security features:

  • WebRTC offers end-to-end encryption​ which ensures the protection of the user personal data.
  • All the data that is transferred with WebRTC is encrypted using Datagram Transport Layer
    Security (DTLS)​ protocol (so called “handshakes” performed between two clients who are
    establishing the communication).
  • WebRTC also uses Secure Real-Time Protocol (SRTP)​ to protect media and ensure that IP
    communications are kept private.
    In fact many VoIP and UC providers still use a less secure version of the protocol – RTP (Real-Time
    Transport Protocol) because implementing SRTP would require large changes to the configuration
    of their software, while WebRTC project has implemented SRTP from the very start.
  • Before starting communication, WebRTC requires users to provide access to their microphone
    and webcam​.

Considerations before adopting a WebRTC solution at your company

WebRTC brings enormous benefits to businesses by providing amazing and innovative communication and
collaboration tools that were not possible just a few years ago. However, as we saw in this White Paper,
WebRTC is much more than creating a simple chat application or a click-to-call button.
A proper WebRTC implementation implies that WebRTC will be fully integrated into the telephone
infrastructure. Mind that communication between VoIP and WebRTC endpoints is not fully supported in
some cases.
To ensure the full interoperability between VoIP and WebRTC endpoints, you have to choose the right
communication system that has properly incorporated WebRTC standards​ into a UC&C platform.

About Wildix

Wildix has developed its own UC&C solution which is simple to install, to manage and to use. The
company invests in innovation and development and has its own R&D center in Ukraine. Wildix
system is a reliable and complete solution which includes hardware and software.
Wildix was the first vendor to integrate WebRTC into a UC&C platform​ and fully leverage
WebRTC as a video conferencing system.
Wildix’ focus is on user experience, this is why employees can start using Wildix applications and
phones right away. No end user training is necessary, however user guides are in open access:
Wildix has a large network of certified Business Partners all over Europe and in the US. These are
phone system integrators and installers specially trained to install and support Wildix systems.
Wildix is in direct and constant contact with its Partners to assist with installations, for technical
support and new feature requests. Each year Wildix offers additional trainings to update its
Business Partners on the new features and to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the
system and its components.