With an ever-expanding array of available solutions and platforms for connecting teams, customers, clients, and key stakeholders, there has never been a more exciting time for business communications. From Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) to evolving cloud infrastructures and even to the access to real-time data, there are many new technological advances in place to help businesses and their associates collaborate regardless of platform, location, or time zone. One innovation that has attracted a significant amount of attention in recent years is WebRTC, or Web Real-Time Communications.
An open-source project backed by Google, Mozilla, and Opera, WebRTC enables direct, real-time communications (such as voice, video, chat, and file sharing) via a standard web browser. No application downloads or plugins needed. With its simplicity and convenience, it’s not surprising that WebRTC is exponentially growing. In fact, according to a new market research report published by MarketsandMarkets™, the WebRTC market is expected to be worth USD 6.49 Billion by 2022, up from an estimated USD 1.04 Billion in 2017. If anything, this shows that WebRTC has no doubt moved past hype—it's here to stay and to help shape communications.
VoipReview recently had the chance to speak with Michael Affronti, the Vice President of Product at Fuze, a company that has poised itself as a leader in enterprise global voice, video, messaging, and collaboration. Affronti discussed how WebRTC has changed business communications and the company’s latest offering, Fuze Web, a WebRTC-based collaboration tool that offers calling, conferencing, video and messaging capabilities.
The Basics of WebRTC
In essence, WebRTC is the combination of two technologies: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and the Web. VoIP is a group of technologies that enable the transmission of data (such as audio, video, and chat) over an internet connection. WebRTC adopts this technology and brings it to web browsers and mobile applications, enabling developers to add RTC capabilities to browsers using simple APIs. With the use of WebRTC, users simply have to click a link, which in turn opens the browser to launch a voice or video call in seconds. And all of these actions can be performed without needing information such as user’s phone numbers or email addresses.
According to Affronti, the barriers created by traditional communication and video conferencing systems have been torn down by WebRTC. “Originally, for video conferencing and meeting solutions to take place there was a plugin or a download of the application required... there was a set of predetermined steps you had to follow in order to conference,” Affronti mentioned. “But WebRTC lets everyone and anyone have a zero-click experience. It is really an elegant solution given the state of the market.”
Power Up Your Browser with Fuze Web
Fuze is committed to delivering truly unified communications and collaboration solutions to businesses, and fully understands the growing collaboration needs of today’s modern enterprises. As teams expand and become increasingly dispersed, companies need to harness collaboration tools that not only offer convenience and ease of use, but also supplement employee workflows.
Unfortunately, many of today’s companies find themselves stuck in a pool of inefficient and incompatible communication technologies that not only breed frustrated users, but also lead to conflict and missed opportunities in the enterprise. To address these user frustrations, Fuze recently unveiled a new offering that lets users or guest participants enjoy a full UCaaS experience without any app or browser extension required: Fuze Web.
Fuze Web simplifies UC deployment and accessibility across the enterprise through its single-click functionality and integrations with Google and Microsoft productivity suites. “You can create trends to match the things you want to do in the product, or you can have the product match the market trends...and with Fuze and Fuze Web, we see the latter of the two,” said Affronti.
According to Affronti, Fuze has seen a desire from their user base for flexibility, collaboration, better overall quality, and a great mobile experience. This push is also apparent in the larger industry and market as a whole, too. The demand for collaboration experiences across all devices (Chromebooks, laptops, Macbook airs, etc.) is also ever-present because Fuze users live in their browsers. This demand, coupled with Fuze’s technology, has made it possible for the company to create and offer Fuze Web. “Our recent changes show that high-quality audio and video don’t have to be relocated to native apps or high-powered machines,” shared Affronti. “Fuze Web matches the expectations of users in their browser, and it allows for users to simply have a tab right there in the browser where you work.”
Why Fuze Web
Fuze Web offers a plethora of features and the collaboration experience modern enterprises need--but with none of the hassle. Top features include high definition video and high fidelity audio, modern messaging, presence, voice calls, and meetings that can be linked and set up through Outlook and Google Calendar.
In addition to these included features, Affronti believes that there are three standout features when it comes to Fuze Web:
One-click functionality - With Fuze Web, users only click once to join voice calls or video meetings. “The one-click functionality goes back to the whole idea behind Fuze. It is designed for anyone, and the zero-click to download in order to get into a frictionless experience to collaborate is a highlight of this,” explained Affronti.
A complete UC experience - “The second standout feature is that Fuze Web is a UC experience, and what is what I would call the best parts of the constituent experience,” said Affronti. “When people are moving to Fuze from a traditional video solution, they often come with a long list of 50+ features that they had in their legacy systems, and that they now want in their new system. And what we show them in response to this is that Fuze Meetings was built with these big feature lists and desires in mind. We see that feature usage drops off after the first few popular features, and so we wanted to create a unified experience that had only the right parts from the different constituents to create our communication and collaboration solutions. Fuze was built for unification, which is a large theme that is a highlighted in our Fuze solutions.”
Seamless transition - The third (and most important) feature of Fuze Web, according to Affronti, is the ability to treat Fuze as a full UC platform. Affronti explains that the transition to a software application as the primary way to make calls is often a jarring experience for the older demographic in the workforce, especially when these individuals are used to receiving business calls through a desk phone. This is also challenging if their only VoIP experience is using Facetime or WhatsApp video. “We as a company specialize in making the transition to the voice portion of the Fuze platform (and this is true for Fuze Web) a graceful blind transfer,” said Affronti.
The Future of UC and Business Communications
With continuous innovation in the industry, the future of UC and business communications as a whole is bright. Affronti believes that there are two things that will shape the future of the industry. First is mobility, specifically in regards to smartphones. “iOS and Android may soon have their own adoption of WebRTC within browsers, which will signal a shift towards the age of smartphones becoming friendly with UC systems. Mobility will become more important as networks get better (think 5G) and will be a primary endpoint, not a companion,” said Affronti.
The second thing looking further out, claims Affronti, will be how UC data will play a central point in a company’s strategy. “By this, I mean the rich data from UC usage. We are trending towards the next level of data.”
For more information on Fuze and how they are reimagining the enterprise communications experience, head on over to Fuze’s website.
A trusted provider of cloud-based Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), Fuze is redefining communications for today’s increasingly connected, global enterprises and workforce. Headquartered in Boston, MA, Fuze offers solutions that simplify and integrate voice communications, video conferencing, and collaboration, greatly enhancing enterprise productivity and bottom line. Fuze has recently been ranked by Synergy Research as the as the most widely used UCaaS technology among today’s large enterprises in its UCaaS Market Tracker.