Video in real-time communications has been coming for a long time. Unfortunately, its hype came way before it should have. Service Providers knew it had potential, but were never sure how to “sell” it (price, market, etc.). Also, let’s not forget the discussions around the bandwidth requirements of video. So what has changed now that video is moving to the forefront once again? One big reason… WebRTC.
WebRTC single-handedly solves the incompatibilities for real-time communications by leveraging the web browser as the “application,” facilitating browser-to-browser communication. Since the browsers themselves include all the capabilities needed to support real-time multi-media communications, no software downloads or registrations are needed, thereby standardizing communications between browsers, enabling audio and video communications, as well as data bridges to support text chat or file-sharing.
I know this blog is about video and WebRTC, but WebRTC has so many use cases that I feel the need to divert for one moment in that direction. In Tsahi Levent-Levi’s bloggeek.me blog on February 11, 2016, he lists “a few” use cases off the top of his head that he has come across in the past year or so, where WebRTC was used or seriously planned to be used. Take a look, as there is little doubt in most people’s mind that WebRTC is here to stay as a key to any realtime communications.
The benefits which video (and voice) derives from WebRTC are many. Here are three…
1. Security – WebRTC has an “always-on” voice and video encryption. The Secure RTP protocol (SRTP) is used for encryption and authentication, preventing recording and eavesdropping.
2. Quality – WebRTC uses the VP8 codec for video. This selection ensures interoperability and avoids the need for codec downloads that may contain malicious code.
3. Interoperability – The biggest value of WebRTC is its promise of interoperability with existing voice and video systems. If the existing devices use standard protocols, they will probably work with WebRTC-based devices.
Let’s look at Video ACD and see how WebRTC helps make it a reality. You are on your smartphone shopping on a website and have a question on a Blu-ray player you want to purchase. You click the click-to-call button and WebRTC facilitates the browser-to-browser communication. At this point, a live video session with an agent begins, or if an agent is not available, a generic video-on-hold is played.
You can take this one step further by enabling the live video session and video-on-hold to be “contextually aware.” By this, I mean pushing data through WebRTC so your call can be routed to a Blu-ray specialist who knows the exact model of the player you are interested in. Of course, the same applies to the video-on-hold, where it would play a video about the Blu-ray player you want to purchase, highlighting all of its functions and features.
Talk about enhancing the user experience! With WebRTC, video is here and now.