WebRTC and the future of the service industry

When it gets here WebRTC is going to be huge – when that will be is anyone’s guess though. I can see quite a few service providers taking advantage of short, real time video chats with tablets and phones.

Case study:
The concrete sidewalk in front of my house is sinking in spots so I need it lifted. Per usual, I called as many people I could find on Google to quote the job. One company couldn’t make it to my house for two weeks (and their office is all of five miles away!). Once at my house, the estimator took one look at it and said he couldn’t do it. Well, that was a waste of me being home, waste of his time and since they put me off two weeks, it delayed the project. Now had I been able to take my iPad and video it with the estimator watching from the comfort of his office directing me where to point my camera, the whole issue could have been resolved in about a minute.

I see top service providers being able to use WebRTC to increase their service and provide more timely estimates for customers. Of course, nothing beats a service provider being hands on, but for simple yes/no, your project is or is not an emergency, etc., video is perfect. Service providers could simply add on to a customer’s existing service contract to offset the cost.

Here are a couple of services we could see benefiting from WebRTC based on real world situations that have happened to me:

HVAC – if your heat pump is making an odd noise, or you THINK it’s making an odd noise, you can have your technician take a virtual overview of your system. Again, being able to direct the customer on what to point the camera at is very useful as opposed to taking a video, posting it to YouTube and emailing the link to your HVAC company.

General contracting – if you’ve had any work done at your house, it’s not atypical that the GC isn’t around except for the start and end of the job. Typically, the people doing the work aren’t allowed to make subjective judgment calls regarding what it is they are doing, they are just there to do the work. With video chatting on demand, once again you could take your phone or tablet and show the GC what happened as opposed to calling, scheduling a time for them to come out and possibly delay your project.

Building management – I manage my wife’s veterinary hospital in a part time Mr. Fix It role. Pretty much the uses of this technology could help in so many ways where I get a vague call that something is broken, missing or otherwise not working correctly. The staff could point to something at my direction, and then I could make a better determination on what needs to happen next.

For that matter, we could also show a live video of a boarding animal for the owner to see. To do this now is cumbersome, relying on everyone involved having the same technology. Once the technology is as simple as a web browser, it will become widely used.

Thanks for reading,
Bryan Hellard

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