Irwin Lazar
Irwin Lazar is the Vice President and Service Director at Nemertes Research, where he manages research operations, develops and manages...
Read Full Bio >>

Irwin Lazar | May 29, 2013 |


WebRTC: Why Should Enterprises Care?

WebRTC: Why Should Enterprises Care? Improved customer service, opportunities to reduce costs, and ubiquitous collaboration will drive WebRTC adoption in the enterprise.

Improved customer service, opportunities to reduce costs, and ubiquitous collaboration will drive WebRTC adoption in the enterprise.

In the last several months, there's been a lot written about WebRTC, the technology that seemingly will do everything from remake the PSTN to solve world hunger. But even though we're at the high arch of the hype curve, enterprise IT leaders shouldn't turn away just because they've heard "this is the next big thing" so many times in the past. WebRTC offers real and tangible benefits in several different ways, even if obstacles to adoption remain.

I won't present yet another primer on WebRTC, except to reinforce the idea that WebRTC eliminates the need for dedicated applications for voice, video, and content sharing. By reducing the client to just a few snippets of HTML code that activates capabilities already resident in the web browser, WebRTC offers the ability for application developers to embed rich media communications and collaboration into any web application.

The most interesting opportunities for enterprises to leverage these capabilities largely fall into three areas--customer service, cost reduction, and ubiquitous collaboration.

Customer Service
Most current interest and initiatives among IT professionals that I speak with are focused around leveraging the ability of WebRTC to improve engagement with customers. By embedding "click-to-call" or "click-to-video" chat capabilities directly into a web site, companies can increase the ways they can engage with their customers.

I'll use myself as an example--recently I had to shop for a new washing machine. After spending a few hours looking up products on various vendor and retail web sites, I had a list of questions that I had compiled, covering topics like features, capabilities, and settings. I took these to my local retailer where I ran into a sales clerk who lacked specific knowledge of the model I was interested in purchasing. It's tough to blame him, there are dozens of different machines out there, all with an ever-increasing amount of complexity.

I thought about calling the manufacturer, but the thought of spending 15 minutes on hold after navigating through a maze of IVR options wasn't appealing. And with "click-to-chat" I'm never sure if I'm talking to a human or a bot.

Now, if vendors had WebRTC-enabled web sites, I could have clicked to call from within the page I was on, the agent answering the call could have seen exactly where I was, maybe even the other pages that I had visited. We could have established a video chat that the agent could have used to show me a video highlighting the features of the machines I was evaluating.

The opportunities to leverage WebRTC to improve customer service are endless--think telemedicine sessions with health care professionals, or providing high-wealth financial services clients with direct video conference access to their account manager. Which brings us to our next benefit....

Cost Savings
Think about how much you are spending today to provide PSTN trunks for your contact center. Now think about how much you could possibly reduce that spend if a large percentage of those calls came in via the Internet using WebRTC-enabled browsers. Sure, you might have to add Internet bandwidth, but Internet bandwidth is typically cheaper than TDM or SIP trunks to the PSTN. This exact scenario is where I expect we'll see a lot of effort by integrators, analysts, and session border control companies to build cost models that demonstrate potential savings.

Ubiquitous Collaboration
I see two distinct areas that fall under "ubiquitous collaboration:" Accessing the enterprise UC platform from any device at any location; and leveraging WebRTC to extend the features typically provided by UC platforms to any and all applications.

The first area is simple: WebRTC provides the mechanism to extend your voice and video platforms anywhere. We've already talked about extension to consumer, and another important use case is the ability to extend voice and video to partners, remote workers, and suppliers without the need to deal with issues related to client download/installation or the costs of cloud-based bridging services.

Perhaps more exciting is the opportunity to give CRM or ERP applications their own voice/video applications directly embedded into their web interfaces, without the need to interface with UC back-ends. Think about a team of people who live in a business process application all day who can chat, talk, or video chat with each other, without having to wait for IT to deliver end-to-end UC, or app developers to incorporate enterprise UC platforms into their applications. Again, here the opportunities are endless for application developers to extend rich communications and collaboration anywhere.

These are just a small sample of potential uses of WebRTC in the enterprise, but they are the areas that I think will see the most attention over the next two years. Make sure you are staying on top of your vendors' WebRTC roadmaps, and that you've begun to evaluate the impact WebRTC can have on customer service, cost, and collaboration.

Follow Irwin Lazar on Twitter and Google+!
Irwin Lazar on Google+


March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

February 7, 2018

Enterprises are starting to grasp the critical importance of security and compliance in their team collaboration deployments. And once the risks are mitigated, your enterprise can integrate these n

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
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.