Innovative service providers are making real time gains with WebRTC
According to a recent report, Web Real-Time Communication Market 2016-2023, published by Credence Research, the global WebRTC market will exceed $19 billion in 2023, with an annual growth rate of more than 40 per cent over the next five years.
What is driving this growth? In part, it is the imperative for enterprises, businesses, governments and other organisations to improve the quality of end-customer experiences while lowering the cost of providing customer service. Web Real Time Communications or WebRTC delivers considerable gains in productivity when used for internal applications, including streamlining workflow, supporting collaboration and improving field service.
Adoption rates for WebRTC are climbing across industries, with some of the most successful and large implementations happening in banking, financial services, insurance and public sectors.
Other drivers include the increasing number of WebRTC-enabled devices, the overall growth in social networks, where more and more customer engagements are taking place, and changing preferences. Growing numbers of internet users prefer web-based support versus having to dial a toll-free number and wait in a queue to have their questions answered or problems solved.
In addition, the increase in mobility trends which include Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is driving innovation, as companies are introducing new and innovative solutions developed for mobile platforms, web browsers and the IoT.
Real Time Communications (RTC) makes digital conversations easier and less expensive, a trend that is highly relevant in all regions, and growing fastest in North America and Asia Pacific.
According to the Credence Research study, Asia Pacific is experiencing faster growth due to the large gains that can be made in very populated countries including India and China. Additionally, with fast- growing pools of software and web developers, the integration of RTC into mobile and web applications is leading to greater collaboration in the areas of systems integration and embedded services.
In these countries, and in the region, businesses ranging in size from start-ups to medium-sized companies are leveraging WebRTC solutions, given its high quality, low cost communications capabilities, even as larger enterprises are moving to switch from old, expensive fixed and on premise solutions to the cloud, which is growing dramatically.
WebRTC started as an open source project led by Google that embeds real-time voice, texts and video communications capabilities in web browsers. The technology enables peer-to-peer (P2P) communication without the need for specialised software applications or browser plugins.
With the demand for plugin-free video and voice calling features over the internet or OTT at an all-time high, web browsers including Chrome, Opera, and Firefox support WebRTC in mobile phones, computers, smart TVs, and tablets.
Some analysts estimate that four-fold growth took place over a two-year period, when, in 2014, more than 1 billion devices supported WebRTC, increasing to 4 billion by the end of 2016.
Two companies ahead of the trend in the Asia Pacific region include Hong Kong Broadband Networks Limited (HKBN) and Optus.
In 2018, HKBN announced it was leveraging a WebRTC-based solution to build and deploy Global Talk, a custom OTT application within its Global Phone service, which enables callers to enjoy high-speed global data connectivity across more than 60 regions worldwide without incurring roaming charges.
HKBN is one of Hong Kong’s top providers of residential high-speed fibre broadband service and a fast-growing enterprise solutions provider. The group offers a wide range of telecommunications solutions for both the residential and enterprise markets, including broadband and Wi-Fi network services; cloud solutions; data connectivity; mobile and global data services; data facilities; system integration; voice communication; and entertainment services. Its fibre network covers more than 2.2 million residential homes and 2,300 commercial buildings.
Global Phone is a smartphone offering with built-in global data accessibility. It features patented CloudSIM technology, empowering customers to stay connected on a single device in more than 60 countries without needing to swap SIM cards. Global Talk is one of the key add-on mobile applications riding on the benefits of Global Phone’s global data plan. It allows users to make free calls to Hong Kong mobile and landline phones, as well as receive calls from around the world through the internet using data networks or Wi-Fi. Users can stay connected with friends and family without pricey voice roaming charges.
WebRTC technology enables HKBN to quickly and easily design, build and market its new business portfolio, and evolve to become an open, web-based services provider.
OPTUS TARGETS SMALL BUSINESSES
Based in Australia, Optus is another company leading in the WebRTC space. Optus Loop Live, the company’s new WebRTC-based service, delivers a mobile- oriented solution that enables small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to quickly and efficiently conduct business telephony on their mobile phones.
Optus Loop Live is the answer for small businesses that don’t require full PBX functionality, but have moved past a basic offering. Launched in 2018, Optus Loop Live is bought, managed and billed entirely online, runs through a mobile device, and can be provisioned, set up and operational in less than 15 minutes. The service provides SMBs with both a primary business number on their mobile and a fixed-line number, as well as features including voice calling; video; messaging; group chat; multiparty video; screen sharing; auto attendant; and hunt groups across desktop and mobile devices. SMBs also gain the ability to purchase phone numbers for multiple employees.
These are two of the many examples that illustrate how innovative service providers are using WebRTC in very different but effective ways to address their customers’ demands. Mobile and fixed operators are seeing the benefits of this technology and its capacity to help them compete in a highly competitive marketplace.