Glance Inside of Glance: The No WebRTC Choice

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“It has to be fast, be simple, be secure, and just work, every time.” 

As Glance’s founder, Rich Baker drove his vision into every aspect of our technology, business, and customer deployments.

Rich’s conviction came from his experience in academia (Ph.D. from Stanford, on the faculty at UCLA) and from his experience as CTO at PictureTel, the original video conferencing company whose codecs and technical underpinnings are still widely used in the industry today. 

This conviction is carried forth in every decision driving our solutions’ capabilities. To uphold this promise – no matter the technology, device type, systems, or even bandwidth used by the connecting parties – is no easy feat.

It’s why we hold over 30 global patents for our technology. And it’s why we don’t use WebRTC.

Virtually Everyone Else Uses WebRTC 

Yes, WebRTC is popular. It’s a free, open-source project that enables browsers and mobile applications with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple APIs. WebRTC deliverables support video, voice, and generic data to be sent between peers, including cloud servers, allowing developers to build voice and video communication solutions. 

Because it has a low barrier of entry (open-source) and is relatively easy, start-ups and ISVs often make use of the technology. It’s already available in most modern desktop browsers and many major native apps use WebRTC at their core. For example, Cisco (WebEx) and Google (Meet) all use the WebRTC code base for their products. 

In fact, WebRTC works great in a controlled digital environment such as meeting solutions and in supported desktop browsers.

Why WebRTC Isn’t Right for Glance Guided Experiences

We have purposely built our solutions to deliver a consistent, in-brand, and frictionless experience whenever, wherever, and however customers reach out. Unfortunately, running WebRTC web applications on mobile devices can be a challenge. For example, the Safari browser WebRTC web implementation has had a number of issues and Apple limitations in iOS prevent other browsers from running WebRTC in iOS. While Android mobile browser support is generally better, it’s challenging to pair WebRTC support with the fragmented Android world. 

The bottom line, if you want your customers engaging with you from their personal devices from a web browser, using WebRTC will not provide a consistent customer experience. 

On the other hand, Glance sessions start instantly, in that precise moment, without requiring downloads, plug-ins, or meeting links, by connecting participants with a single click of a button or tap of a screen. The sessions are fully within our customer’s brand – no jumping to Zoom, Google Meet, Webex, Teams, or any other 3rd party experience. Our customers are entirely in control of the experience, giving them the flexibility to see, show, share, and collaborate instantly – regardless of where the content resides. That could be within a browser, in the cloud, on a desktop, or on a mobile device.

We also build our solutions to ensure that as few resources as possible are consumed on both the company and customer sides. This helps to provide a consistent experience for those who might have dated technology or less-than-optimal bandwidth. WebRTC doesn’t work with older browsers, and quality can degrade quickly due to bandwidth constraints.

Being an overlay on existing technology and infrastructure makes it easy to leverage our solutions from known systems and workflows commonly found in the enterprise and used every day by employees. We work across the entire customer engagement ecosystem of voice, chat, CRM, and customer service applications, leveraging existing routing and escalation paths by going “over-the-top” to augment voice and chat experiences with in-the-moment visual engagement. 

While WebRTC doesn’t prevent this type of workflow integration, using WebRTC would require a company to control the customer engagement entry point and engagement environment—the exact challenge that Glance is solving in the first place.

While not directly related to the WebRTC technology decision, it’s important to note that Glance’s protocol strategy strengthens our ability to optimize data security and privacy. This is of utmost importance to us, especially since Glance is deployed in some of the most security-conscious and regulated environments, including leading global financial companies, insurance providers, tax and financial software companies, and government agencies. 

It all comes back to adhering to our founding principles and value promise – our visual engagement solutions must be fast, simple, secure, and just work, every time, no matter what.

WebRTC just doesn’t deliver on that.

Glance Blog

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