Crossing the WebRTC Chasm
Many enterprise and integrator organizations lack the Web development capabilities needed to build quick POCs that demonstrate the value of WebRTC services.
The process for deploying enterprise VoIP systems and services is well known, and typically includes a requirements phase and an integrator that helps in vendor selection and implementation. WebRTC makes things a bit more complicated.
With a traditional VoIP project, the enterprise needs to make a number of choices, such as:
- Hosted or on-premises?
- On the server side, which UC/PBX vendor (Lync, Avaya, Cisco...) should we use?
- What do we do with the existing system, and how do we migrate to the new environment?
- Depending on environment, do we use a single client or more than one client?
- Regarding client strategy, do we use phones or soft phones, and do we require mobile support?
Basically this is a cookie-cutter type of process that sometimes requires custom changes done by the vendor or the integrator. In essence, however, options and configurations are known and IT people are familiar with this task.
Deploying WebRTC Services
Enterprises that want to deploy WebRTC have new types of decisions to make and, more importantly, new responsibilities to consider. Prior to WebRTC's arrival, should IT require features or functionality not available via the cookie-cutter fixed list, it would incur the high cost of customization. WebRTC introduces more options and flexibility in defining new services that an enterprise can launch quickly and at lower cost than previously possible. While WebRTC enables typical click-to-call services, enterprises are not limited to these only. In fact, the expectation is for them to innovate and introduce new types of services.
The flexibility WebRTC introduces stems from it being a standard that remains in the level of browser compatibility (W3C) and media interoperability (IETF). Rightfully the standard authors haven't been tempted to dictate much of the "how" such as signaling or application-level requirements.
However, defining new services that tie to business processes or customer experience is beyond IT. It requires cooperation with other groups such as marketing and customer service.
Moreover, the process of reinventing services requires special expertise that combines Web development and communications knowledge for building proofs of concept (POCs) and production services. Lack of these capabilities in most enterprises and integrators is the chasm that needs crossing. Being able to quickly build a POC that demonstrates the service envisioned will enable rapid trial-and-error process resulting in selection of the most successful services.