Although WebRTC is still a relatively new open source project, it’s already changing the way that we communicate in business. Amidst its rise in popularity, there are some common misconceptions about the technology. In this post, we aim to clear up some of the most common WebRTC myths in order to help you gain proper perspective on its capabilities.

For a general overview of how WebRTC works and how it can be used to improve communications, take a look at this video from Google Developers:

Myth #1 - WebRTC Isn’t Cost Effective

Compared to traditional enterprise solutions, WebRTC is in fact, more cost effective in the long term. Of course, there are initial overheads but when we consider that WebRTC is a free, open source service, once it’s set up, maintaining a WebRTC system is nowhere near as expensive as other enterprise solutions.

When we look at the costs involved in maintaining an enterprise RTC system - infrastructure, maintenance and customer support - with free access to WebRTC technology, it’s easy to see how a lot of these associated costs are reduced.

With its collaboration capabilities, the cost of maintaining an RTC system through WebRTC can be significantly lowered, freeing up a company’s spending to be used elsewhere. WebRTC can also reduce the amount of time needed to complete technical development work, all the while delivering the same results as an enterprise solution, but at a lower cost to businesses.

Myth #2 - WebRTC Can’t Compete with Face-to-Face Communication in Business

As RTC technology continues to develop, businesses are becoming more open to the idea of closing deals over video sessions. If anything, WebRTC actually streamlines the process of negotiating and handling paperwork as there are arguably less barriers and distractions associated with video conferencing than with face-to-face communication.

It’s important to note that WebRTC is much more than just VoIP calling and video conferencing. Businesses can work together on the same document in real time and information can be shared quickly and securely over a WebRTC platform. What’s more, with specialist companies like HelloSign and SafeDocs now offering dynamic electronic signatures, WebRTC can actually provide a boost to sales.

Myth #3 - WebRTC Offers Poor User Experience

This is perhaps the biggest myth surrounding WebRTC. In reality, WebRTC platforms actually offer superior communication quality than other enterprise solutions. WebRTC uses the Opus audio codec, which produces high fidelity voice. Even with today’s modern IP telephones, the voice quality is still on a par with the digital telephones of yesteryear. The Opus codec however, is based on Skype’s SILK codec technology and was designed specifically for WebRTC to offer high quality audio.

WebRTC also uses the VP8 codec for video communication. Perhaps the biggest advantage of this codec over other enterprise solutions is that if offers compatibility with many other platforms and technologies. There’s also no need to download additional codecs, which in turn, reduces the risk of systems being infected with viruses or other malware.

WebRTC also offers a more reliable connection than other traditional RTC systems by dealing with firewall and Network Address Translator (NAT) issues more effectively. Firewalls and NATs can present access issues for developers and they often block other technologies from collaborating with protocols. WebRTC technology however, doesn’t use server-relayed media and so it reduces latency, server load and increases the quality of communication.

Myth #4 - WebRTC Will Replace VOIP

Rather than replacing Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) systems (as used by many contact centres), WebRTC will actually offer companies a more cost-effective VOIP solution. With WebRTC, VOIP can be integrated into web-based applications to create fully-integrated systems, ready to use at the click of a button.

In a nutshell, browser-based VOIP systems will help advance the use of VOIP by reducing setup time and eliminating the need for web sockets, which can make RTC connections unreliable. By eliminating these issues, VOIP maintenance fees will be reduced, costing companies less money in the long term.

Myth #5 - WebRTC Will Create More Security Issues

The diagram below from technology company Quobis, shows the security architecture of a WebRTC system:

WebRTC Architecture

Unlike other RTC systems, which can carry security risks, WebRTC uses Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) to transfer real time data. Because the transferred data is encrypted and built into WebRTC-supported browsers, data transfer through a WebRTC platform is very secure. DTLS connections eliminate the possibility of spyware being installed on users’ computers and stops systems from being hacked by third parties.

As well as using DTLS, WebRTC also encrypts audio and video data through Secure Real-Time Protocol (SRTP), which ensures that Internet Protocol communications can’t be heard or viewed by unauthorised users.

What other WebRTC myths have you come across? Do you have anything you’d like to add to any of the points above?