In today’s world, where the mobile workforce is in full swing, businesses are more focused than ever before on exploring tools that enable unified communication (UC) anywhere, and at any time.
With a drive to reduce overheads and maximise productivity, the ability to work and collaborate on the move is incredibly valuable, writes Amritesh Anand, practice lead: unified communication at In2IT Technologies.
Web Real Time Communication (Web RTC) is revolutionising this space, introducing a new way of doing business on the move.
Gone are the days when employees were tied to their desk, leaving only for meetings and events. Today’s employees are always on the move, working flexible hours and interacting with their company and its customers and suppliers, from just about anywhere. However, there are limits to many UC tools that hamper true mobility – and there is a new solution emerging in the market to overcome these impedances.
Traditional communication tools just not cutting it
Many organisations are leveraging more traditional communication and collaboration tools such as video conferencing. However, traditional video conferencing lacks the flexibility and mobility for true anywhere, anytime communication and collaboration. Users are still confined to their desktop or an accommodating conference/board room.
Instant Message (IM) applications are also being used extensively by businesses for their convenience. While effective for on-the-go communications as well as video conferencing, most IM platforms are not considered safe enough for enterprise use, and should be used with caution for the exchange of files and other media.
Public cloud based instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat and Skype lack the right security measures for transferring or communicating about valuable company data, and should remain for personal rather than business use.
App-less, plugin-less tools for true mobility
The new trend emerging on the UC scene is web based conferencing, otherwise known as Web RTC. Web RTC requires no plugin download, app download or software in order to work. Users simply require internet access and a web browser, regardless of the device.
On top of this, built in security and authentication measures such as encryption make using this platform far safer for business communications. There is far less risk of intrusion, and users can rest assured that their data is not going to a large social conglomerate for research or market use.
Being browser-to-browser, Web RTC enables true mobility. Even if people are unable to use their own devices, such as if they run out of battery life, they are still able to communicate and collaborate on another device, like a friend’s mobile or an Internet café computer.
Web RTC tools use open standards and are easily modified for simple development and customisation. Organisations are able to limit and control the number of concurrent users, for example, to reduce pressure on the network. Interfaces can also be modified to align with corporate identity.
This type of platform is easily integrated with artificial intelligence (AI) systems, and using chatbots for the likes of customer service queries can alleviate the need for call centre personnel. Users, robotic or otherwise, can also seamlessly and safely share documents and other files, along with conducting text, voice and video communications.
Customer interaction tool
Apart from its use for internal communications, web RTC is also an ideal tool for customers to interact with companies. Customers typically need to download an application, make a call or log in to social media platforms to communicate with organisations. Although effective, this requires a level of effort from customers. It also requires that customers have their personal device to hand.
Customers who are, for example, out of the country or who have lost their personal device are more easily able to communicate with their supplier via web RTC, as they can do this over any browser based device.
The banking industry, in particular, stands to gain from using web RTC as a means for customers to interact with them. For example, if an automatic teller machine (ATM) experiences an issue, customers do not need to use their mobile phone to call into the specific bank’s help desk, or log into the bank’s app to report the fault, they can simply use a browser on the internet enabled ATM to establish a connection to the bank and liaise with them directly, and securely.
Driving digital change
Innovative collaboration tools such as Web RTC are currently driving digital trends, therefore, enabling businesses to move into a completely digital, mobile space. Less travel, smoother, more effective communication and real-time collaboration all translate into less costs and more productivity.