Dave Michels
Dave Michels is a Principal Analyst at TalkingPointz. His unique perspective on unified communications comes from a career involving telecommunications...
Read Full Bio >>

Dave Michels | June 02, 2013 |


WebRTC Hype Check

WebRTC Hype Check Four reasons not to go overboard.

Four reasons not to go overboard.

WebRTC chatter continues to increase, but let's try to keep it down to a dull roar. Here's four facts about WebRTC to consider before completely revamping a communications strategy.

1) WebRTC is not a standard. The true power of WebRTC lies in its potential as a ubiquitous standard. Even if the standard were approved tomorrow, it would be years until it became so widespread that it could be regarded as generally available. This will require widespread support in all major browsers including Internet Explorer and Safari--neither of which do today.

The reality is the standard won't be approved tomorrow. There are still major disagreements among the key members of the draft committees and the major vendors providing browsers. If and when the standard gets approved, there is still no commitment or requirement that all web browser makers will support it. Every implementation (browser or application) until then is just another variant among many of providing real-time communications.

2) WebRTC does not deliver any new functionality. This is a very important point. As stated above, WebRTC's true value lies in its capabilities as a ubiquitous default technology. Until then, it's just another option for browser-based real-time communications. There are no shortages of options today to enable voice, video, IM, and even contextual awareness within a browser. Anything possible with WebRTC tomorrow is possible today through various methods.

3) WebRTC will not improve customer service. WebRTC is a technology--nothing more. There are plenty of proven technologies available today to reduce or even eliminate IVR frustration, provide contextual awareness from web to voice in a contact center; and in some cases even real-time, live, video interactions can be accomplished without WebRTC. The technology exists today to provide differentiating customer service via voice, video, or IM. Waiting for WebRTC as a requirement for customer interaction improvement is an excuse and distraction.

4) WebRTC is not disruptive. Identifying what will or will not be disruptive is difficult. However, WebRTC does not offer new capabilities, nor significant cost savings over other peer-to-peer technologies. WebRTC could be more accurately described as an evolutionary technology--effectively bringing real-time capabilities to the browser instead of reliance on ad-hoc plugins and downloads. Potentially, a royalty-free codec could be disruptive, but that's the most contested aspect of WebRTC, and already available separately.

The great part about WebRTC is that it is rapidly expanding the interested audience for topics such as customer experience and real-time interactions. The key is to direct that interest into actions--today. If the IVR is frustrating, fix it. If you want to know what webpage customers are calling from--code it. Telephone conversations are a powerful tool for customer interactions, yet, oddly, most contact centers are designed to minimize them.

WebRTC is undoubtedly an exciting technology and arguably long overdue. The browser has largely taken over as the most critical platform for productivity and interaction. Real-time communications has long ago expanded beyond telephones into desktops and other devices. Communications should become a core function of the browser. I fully expect and look forward to the "Grandpa, tell me again why you had to install plugins before calling" conversation.

Companies that embrace customer interactions with today's tools will be in a far better place to fully leverage the benefits of WebRTC when the time is right. The Web has changed just about every aspect of communications and it's time to welcome real-time communications as a standard feature.

Dave Michels is a Contributing Editor and Analyst at TalkingPointz.

Follow Dave Michels on Twitter and Google+!
Dave Michels on Google+


Enterprise Connect Orlando 2017
March 27-30 | Orlando, FL
Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem

Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Special Offer - Save $200 Off Advance Rates

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

April 5, 2017

Its no secret that the cloud offers significant benefits to enterprises - including cost reduction, scalability, higher efficiency, and more flexibility. If your phone system and contact center are

March 22, 2017

As today's competitive business environments push workforces into overdrive, many enterprises are seeking ways of streamlining workflows while optimizing productivity, business agility, and speed.

March 8, 2017

Enterprise IT's ability to innovate is critical to the success of the business -- 80% of CIOs agree. But the CIO role has never been more challenging than it is today, with rising operational respo

March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.