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Widening Browser Capabilities With WebRTC

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Widening Browser Capabilities With WebRTC

· Web Dev Zone
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As a hard core developer for the past 6 years, I get quite excited when I see a big new technology emerging. There has been murmurs and whispers going around in the tech community of a cool new voice and video communication capability accessible in our web browsers through a little Javascript. It's all the scuttlebutt and if you have not heard by now you are late to the game. I too was a little late to the game with my head buried in VOIP technologies. Fortunately I was not too late and when I saw this new browser capability I thought, Hmm why not start letting people use their browsers like a phone and placing calls to real PSTN numbers. 

Well that's exactly the problem that myself and many others are now working on. I'm happy to report that all our work has finally paid some dividends. Thanks to various open source technologies including WebRTC, SIP, webrtc2sip and many others we were able to develop a html/javascript Click2Call button that is easy to install on any website. This allows anyone visiting the website to place a call right in their browser.  You can even setup the calls to come into your PBX or phone system (making the calls entirely free), check out how to setup your own PBX here. 

How Click2Call works with WebRTC.

In the past (and the current google implementation) click2call has been really lame, the process went like this: the website visitor clicking the "click2call" button is required to enter their phone number, some backend process then initiates a call to the visitor and the owner of the website, once both parties answer they are connected.  Yes, that is just as useless as it sounds.

With WebRTC and some other VOIP technologies we can actually initiate a real call to any phone number right in the browser.  This new "click2call" implementation allows website visitors to click a button and ring the website owners  phone number. The website owner will then be talking on their phone and the website visitor will be talking through their browser.  Here is an example of the click2call button in action and below is an image of what it looks like.

The benefits of using a browser as a phone

Price

The biggest benefit is pretty clear in that it's free for whoever is talking in their browser. This means those coming to your website won't pay a dime to get in touch with you. This benefit is really noticeable when your business is international.  You can take a call from across the world, and it completely free of charge for the caller and only cost you local rates. Pretty cool deal ehh.

Conversion Tracking

A more subtle benefit that stands out to anyone in the marketing industry is that you can track which website visitors are placing calls. ie: you can start conversion tracking based on click2call button clicks. This information is generally lost by marketers and is often a source of headache when trying to determine which landing page increasing conversion for example

Ease of Use

Admittedly, not the most compelling case can be made here, none the less a small case can be made for saving the user a few seconds of dialing the number on their phone. Also, even though most people have phones these days, there is a small chance that a customer won't have a phone or their service is down in which case they can use click2call to get in touch. 

Thanks to WebRTC we are well on our way to moving communications online. Being able to communicate with high quality and reliability in the browser is a big step in the right direction. I'm looking forward to seeing what other innovative technologies are built on top of WebRTC. 

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