How WebRTC Can Help the Channel Sell Unified Communications

By Arvind Rangarajan

WebRTC is one of the most discussed communications technologies today, as it enables enterprises to conduct real-time voice and video calls with customers, partners and suppliers via a Web browser. By 2019, there will be more than 6 billion WebRTC devices and up to 2 billion users, according to the 2014 WebRTC Market Status & Forecasts Report. Even today, WebRTC is already enabled on more than a billion browsers, which indicates a very real and immediate opportunity for channel partners. 

WebRTC is already enabled on more than a billion browsers, which indicates a very real and immediate opportunity for channel partners.Most of the initial WebRTC-enabled applications explored by enterprises focus on an enhanced customer experience through capabilities such as click-to-call. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that businesses view WebRTC as a way to extend real-time unified communications (UC) beyond the confines of an enterprise. This is significant for VARs, integrators and other channel partners that are seeking to strengthen and broaden UC sales to the enterprise and deliver compelling services that employees will actually want to use. This blog will share how WebRTC can fit into the channel partner selling discussion, plus initial use cases for WebRTC.

How to Position and Sell WebRTC

WebRTC overcomes many historical interoperability, installation and compatibility challenges resellers have struggled with around UC by accelerating deployment and, in turn, allowing resellers to sell more services. Channel partners can position WebRTC with any prospect or existing customer that is trying to Web enable their communication infrastructure. WebRTC provides APIs that can be used to build real-time communication applications that run directly on browsers without the need to download plugins, etc. The ability to build these applications is powerful, and there are several early adopter use cases for WebRTC that are applicable to enterprises.

Customer support capabilities can be implemented using WebRTC in an enterprise website as a simple “click-to-call” application to help a potential customer reach a specific agent responsible for supporting a product without having to go through several IVR menus. For example, an Amazon customer visiting the website could hit a click-to-call button and be immediately connected to a call with a customer service agent. Additional use cases include remote workers using a single browser to perform their work as well as to conduct real time voice and video interaction with colleagues.

WebRTC Extends UC Beyond Confines of the Enterprise

WebRTC’s ability to extend UC to an enterprise’s entire ecosystem offers several key benefits that channel partners can highlight in sales efforts:

  • WebRTC lowers enterprise costs by enabling users to take advantage of UC without the need for expensive client software or hardware.
  • WebRTC improves the customer experience by adding a rich media communication experience within their website, email communications and mobile apps as the solution enables real-time, browser-based video and voice calling. For example, website visitors connecting with customer support via WebRTC could be fed, in real time, a pop-down box with product videos and supporting material relevant to their location within the website.
  • WebRTC allows channel partners to customize their UC offers for a particular business need, enabling innovative services that address business issues and current market trends, including an increasingly disparate workforce, the growing share of millennials in the workforce, and a growing desire to access communications applications across a broad array of connected devices. 

WebRTC-Enabled Apps Are Simple to Test and Build

An emerging set of client builder tools and underlying code are open and free to channel partners — or anyone — interested in building and testing WebRTC applications rapidly and cost effectively. These WebRTC-enabling tools simplify the process for channel partners seeking to design and customize their own UC offers with limited/basic development resources by leveraging open source code.

UC continues to grow year over year. Market research firm TechNavio projects the global UC market will experience a 14.1 percent compound growth rate between 2014 and 2019. Organizations are aware of the benefits of UC in providing a better customer experience, and channel partners have a significant opportunity to drive UC further into the enterprise as more end users of existing WebRTC implementations seek out advanced UC capabilities to improve customer interaction in the future.

Arvind Rangarajan is director, solutions product management at BroadSoft, a leading provider of software and services that enable mobile, fixed-line and cable service providers to offer unified communications over their Internet protocol networks.

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