Aspect Dives into the WebRTC Pool with Embedded Customer Service Solutions

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Aspect Software is betting on a bright future in WebRTC technology with the launch of Aspect RTC (Real-Time Communications) Platform. The solution provides embedded audio, or audio combined with video, that enables contact center agents to help consumers via the Web or through mobile apps. Currently, the solution is open to early adopters that can test the solution in exchange for providing input about the product.

The release positions Aspect front and center in the burgeoning field of WebRTC. According to a new report from Disruptive Analysis, by 2019, there will be two billion to two-and-a-half billion active users of embedded communications worldwide, comprised of consumer and enterprise applications.

"WebRTC is the most important new communications technology of the decade," said Dean Bubley, author of the report and director at Disruptive Analysis, in a statement. "It is already enabling developers to create a broad array of communications-enabled consumer and business applications. More than six billion devices will be WebRTC-capable within five years."

Tobias Goebel, director of mobile strategy at Aspect Software, believes that WebRTC is a step forward in customer experience since it's the first time that contact centers are able to embed live help inside a live customer experience, whether on a Web site or in a mobile app.

"Those are the two places where most customer experiences now happen," Goebel says. "We're seeing a shift towards self-service—people start to find answers to problems themselves. Once they realize that they can't find answers and that they need to talk with someone, that's where WebRTC comes in."

Aspect's RTC Platform enables consumers to talk to an agent from where the customer is, such as a Web site, instead of having to call into a contact center as a last resort. "What we don't want is a customer to have to start from scratch, talk to an IVR and tell it what the consumer wants. Since answers were just provided on a Web site, the customer is already prequalified," Goebel says.

As an example of this, Goebel points to Amazon, which he calls a "forward-thinking company." If a customer is on Amazon, has a question and needs to speak with someone, a phone number is not provided right away. Instead, Amazon asks the customer what his question is about. Once the customer enters the question, Amazon knows to whom the caller should be routed. Contact options are then presented, such as phone numbers to call, or the customer can indicate if he wants to receive a call back.

Someday, WebRTC might even go a step beyond this, Goebel says. "I wouldn't be surprised if [a solution] is built by Amazon soon where a consumer doesn't have to leave the Web site or wait for a call back; they can talk to someone right then in that Web site. That's where Aspect plays. We make it easy for our customers to engage with their customers, so WebRTC is perfect for this."

With Aspect's RTC platform, customers can also move between channels. For example, a customer may begin chatting with an agent on the Web, but decide that typing is too cumbersome. The solution allows the customer to click a button and start speaking with the agent directly through audio. The agent can also decide 

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