The Magic of WebRTC with VoIP – Where Does it Lead?

Posted on: 2018-05-18 | Categories:VoIP Services

Businesses looking to switch to VoIP have two options to choose from. You can purchase hosted VoIP services from a vendor, freeing your company from maintenance, repairs, upgrades etc. Or you can set up your own on-premise SIP trunking solution that gives you complete control over each little setting.

There have been countless debates on which option is better for individuals, small businesses, and large corporations. But the general consensus is that everyone should choose the option that works best for their situation. Regardless of the option you choose, there a few things that are common to both. For instance, you have to pay a provider for the phone service or SIP trunks.

Another thing that is absolutely essential to VoIP is having the hardware to make calls. It is true that VoIP supports a wide range of equipment, you have more flexible alternatives than For the PSTN offers. Users can make calls from personal or work mobile phones, tablets, SIP-compatible desk phones, laptops, computers, and so on. But at the end of the day, you need some sort of equipment.

An Alternative to VoIP Devices

What if you could eliminate VoIP devices altogether? The very thought seems preposterous and impossible. Then again, many people thought that we could never improve upon the traditional PSTN either. In fact, it might be possible for individuals and even businesses to completely eliminate VoIP devices in favor of something far more basic – the web browser. And that day is closer than you might think.

How Does This Work?

Making phone calls to a browser is possible thanks to the magic of WebRTC. It is an open source project that has been in development for years. WebRTC confers web browsers with real-time communication capabilities through APIs. It is supported by many companies and is being standardized by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

WebRTC was initially developed for web browsers but it can also be extended to mobile and IoT (Internet of Things) platforms. With WebRTC, users no longer need to download and install specific applications to make calls. There is nothing to update on a regular basis either. By integrating VoIP with WebRTC, developers have made browser-based calling a reality.

What Does This Mean for Enterprise VoIP Services?

Not many providers have utilized WebRTC as part of that VoIP phone service. Browser-based VoIP telephony can eliminate the need for softphones and physical equipment altogether. This solution has many advantages compared to other VoIP devices – both hardware and software.

VoIP softphones are probably the quickest way for organizations to start making calls. You can download apps made by the vendors or third-party ones that work with your service. Unfortunately, not all softphones are equal. Some are free, some require payment, and others may not be compatible with all the features that your service provider offers.

For instance, some vendors only provide VoIP softphones for a few platforms like Windows laptops and iOS phones. So employees using different devices don’t have a software option. Another drawback is that the softphones have to be updated. Quite often, the providers will release new versions with more features are better security. If a business does not bother to update them, it can leave security gaps.

A browser-based solution using WebRTC is an elegant solution for all these weaknesses. With web-based calling, the hardware or operating system doesn’t matter at all. The solution will work in any browser that supports WebRTC. The organization does not have to bother with updates either. Most companies will apply security patches to operating systems and software applications like web browsers by default. This means one less application for the IT department to maintain update schedules for.

The benefits of WebRTC based calling over hardware VoIP devices are more readily apparent. Organizations do not have to purchase separate equipment for calls. Most employees will already have access to a laptop, desktop or mobile device with a browser. Why use physical equipment at all? It eliminates a large chunk of the costs associated with VoIP calling. You don’t have to plug phones into the network, provision them for VoIP or fix them when something breaks.

Perhaps most importantly,browser-based calling would reduce the security risks for an enterprise. Every new piece of hardware or software application that you bring into the company poses a security risk. It is another avenue for criminals or hackers to exploit. However, few organizations can conduct business without using a web browser. If you can also make calls with the same application, you close many security loopholes.

Browser-based calling is not yet ubiquitous but several service providers have started offering it is an option. In a decade or so, calling one person (or ten) from Chrome or Firefox may well be the norm!