WebRTC: A Differentiator and Revenue Generator

Lynn HaberWebRTC (web real-time communications) is poised to be a business disruptor. WebRTC is an open framework that provides browsers and mobile applications real-time communications capabilities, such as voice calls, video conferencing, instant messaging, file sharing and business applications and is as easy as using APIs. It’s open and it’s free.

There’s a ton of vendor support and platforms for developers. However, it’s the big names that we should watch: Google, Microsoft, and AWS. A quick trip down memory lane reminds us that just about five years ago it was Google that put WebRTC in Chrome – and opened the technology to developers to go out and create voice and video applications on the web.

In fact, the WebRTC initiative is a project supported by Google, Mozilla and Opera, among others. Its mission: To enable rich, high-quality RTC applications to be developed for the browser, mobile platforms, and IoT devices, and allow them all to communicate via a common set of protocols.

With the excitement around WebRTC, the session – What Do AWS, Google & Microsoft Have in Common? WebRTC – at the upcoming Channel Partners Evolution, Aug. 14-17, in Washington, D.C., promises to be an eye opener.

The session’s moderator is Michael Bremmer, CEO at He’ll be joined by panelists Dean Manzoori, vice president, global cloud communications at Masergy Communications; Alan Rihm, CEO at CoreDial; and Sanjay Srinivasan, vice president and chief technology architect, business engineering, with Vonage.{ad}

We caught up with a few of them for insight about WebRTC, its potential to be a differentiator in a partners’ businesses and, more importantly, a customer and revenue generator.

Channel Partners: Why do partners need to know about WebRTC?

Michael Bremmer: Technology is always evolving, but the change is exponentially faster now and is destroying old business models. Saving a customer money used to be a great business plan, but the market killed the margin, so you have to create unique value now.  

WebRTC is just the latest step in this process, but what’s different now is you have to create unique business value for your customers if you expect to stay in business. Customers expect things to just work and they’ll pay for productivity gains because they’re under the same pressure as you, to create more value and eliminate waste their customers will not pay for. 

WebRTC creates a sticky, interesting conversation because it does exactly that.

Alan Rihm: Since the adoption of cloud communications is expected to reach nearly $38 billion by 2022 (a CAGR of more than 23 percent), channel partners need to know how new technology, such as voice, video and collaboration tools, can help their customers. They need to know the what and the why of WebRTC, but just as important why their customers already care.

Embedded communications will be everywhere — in the obvious applications like hosted PBX and VoIP, but also in business applications like CRM for sales, support, and much more. WebRTC makes it easy to embed communications in the process when and where the customers want it — making it almost invisible yet extremely critical to the customer’s journey and experience.

CP: How about some examples of what WebRTC looks like in the real world?

MB: For example, WebRTC is the link between Google Apps and Salesforce, connecting your Google Calendar, automatically filling in the address for a customer, then Google will automatically create drive plan using Waze, reminding you to leave 45 minutes before you thought you needed to, because traffic is heavy today.

WebRTC is also the link between your VOIP app, automatically logging calls, reminding you to create a follow up task in your CRM and queuing up the next call for you. We’ve also used WebRTC with mobile geofencing to create a virtual in/out board for a large client’s call center, allowing the employees to no longer have to remember to update their status because it’s done for them.  

Dean Manzoori: The web today is a growing universe of interlinked web pages and apps, teeming with videos, photos and interactive content. Over time, web technologies have evolved to bring new generations of useful and immersive web experiences. Yet, there is virtually no high-quality, enterprise-grade service available that enables real-time communications natively from a web browser to existing unified communications (UC) platforms without the need for a plug-in.

WebRTC is about to change this. Leveraging WebRTC service, providers may now transform their customers’ web pages into real-time communications portals. Visitors of such WebRTC-enabled websites may reach their person of interest directly from the company’s website. They can click to connect to internal resources on existing legacy UC infrastructure directly from the browser bypassing the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Visitors are no longer forced to write down the phone number and use their phone to call. What’s more, the company’s cost of communicating with such visitors leveraging WebRTC is a fraction of the cost of the same visitor calling a toll-free number.

CP: So WebRTC has caught a partner’s attention, now what?

AR: Since the majority of our partners are not software or infrastructure experts, they benefit from the expertise platform providers bring to the table and how we can help them deliver value to their customers. From suggestions on product enhancements, to integrations and standalone applications, we always look to help them understand the possibilities, as well as get their ideas on where to take the technology next.

DM: As a service provider, we’ve simplified deploying the Visual Automated Attendant (VAA) for our cloud communications customers. We’ve already built the back end using both Broadsoft APIs as well as Genband Kandy APIs to deliver turnkey solutions to cloud communications customers without the need for software developers. A business admin can easily create a directory, associate it with a button, automatically generate JavaScript Embed Code, copy/paste the code onto their website, and they have the solution deployed on their website. 

CP: Is WebRTC something for every partner or is there a particular partner profile that’s best suited to take advantage of WebRTC API integration?

AR: Partners of all sizes can take advantage of WebRTC integrations; however, small-to-midsize channel partners are particularly well positioned to bring the value to their SMB and SME customers quickly and efficiently. They tend to be smaller and more nimble, and go from 0-60 much faster. 

DM: Partners who help clients identify best-fit cloud communications services during the buying process — SIP trunking and UCaaS.

CP: Now address the “What’s in for me?” question.

MB: Strategic partners need to be having these conversations with customers or risk losing the best opportunities to those of us who are. We don’t do app development in-house as we leverage our masters and suppliers to understand their capabilities, which allow us to bring better opportunities to them.

AR: Delivering more and more valuable communications solutions and collaboration services for customers means more revenue opportunities for the channel. Especially recurring revenue opportunities since it’s through cloud software and services. Going forward, voice, video, chat, presence, and collaboration tools will be delivered as a monthly subscription service by the channel to the end customers. And since all of this is just another application on the network, the channel is perfectly situated to service and support customers of all shapes and sizes.

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