Oracle Open World: A Communications Review
I believe communications will increasingly become a part of Open World as WebRTC enables a tighter integration between information and interaction.
While in San Francisco to watch the America's Cup, I took time out to attend Oracle Open World. Actually just the opposite--I was there for Open World, but incredibly fast catamarans racing on hydrofoils across the bay pulled me in for a slight detour. My focus at Open World was to see if enterprise communications was becoming a bigger part of what has traditionally been an information focused event. I also see this as a reflection of the next stage of convergence: communications converging with business applications.
I spent time on the show floor looking for communications activity beyond the traditional space of CRM and customer service. I could only find four communications-oriented companies represented: Avaya, Cisco, Five9, and Interactive Intelligence. Of these, three were primarily focused on integration with the Oracle CRM platforms, while the Cisco booth was focused on their data center solutions. In fact, if you combined all four booths together, they could have fit in one of the smaller of the multiple Accenture booths at the show.
While this is not intended as a comprehensive review, in walking around I never saw the words "Real Time" as a skill or capability listed on any of the dozens of consulting organizations represented.
One of the major interests I had was to see if WebRTC was beginning to change the Oracle market to more of a communications focus. I have written that Communications-Enabled Business Processes (CEBP) will be a key enterprise outcome of WebRTC. As users become more comfortable with using a variety of devices and user experiences for communications activities, it makes sense that communications will be added to business processes to reduce the latency in human interaction in those processes to improve the process and overall business efficiency. Obviously, Oracle and the entire community that comes to Open World will eventually be a critical part of this; the question is whether there are signs that this is happening.
Reviewing the agenda and attending the sessions, there were two sessions focused on WebRTC, both with service provider content. In addition, WebRTC was mentioned in the Communications general keynote and in some of the Customer Experience sessions. However, WebRTC did not make it to the big keynotes, where cloud, big data, and in-memory computing dominated the topics. I assume all of these are critical to the America's Cup effort, though one would think that four years from now, the real-time communications enabled by WebRTC could be a component. Perhaps Larry Ellison was going to mention it in the cloud keynote that he skipped to watch the cup race on Tuesday (congrats to Larry and the Oracle Team USA for a comeback for the ages). I did find the Opus Group, however they are focused on business processes, not communications or codecs. Of the four communications vendors I mentioned previously, Avaya was showing an interesting demo of WebRTC integration into the Contact Center platform.
In the Communications Industry area, Oracle was showing their progress on delivering a product suite to enable WebRTC apps developed by customers as well as adding WebRTC to native Oracle apps. The Oracle Communications WebRTC Session Controller solution included both the Oracle Communications Converged Application Server and an Acme Session Border Controller, along with other elements.
The Oracle team demonstrated both a real estate website commerce app as well as WebRTC integration with a web email application showing how WebRTC can facilitate collaboration directly off the email app. This demo showed how quickly a web based app can take on characteristics normally associated with the advanced UC applications.
In the real estate app, the data channel was used to synchronize a Google map between two browsers and to enable annotation on the map, a really cool feature to let someone know details on a map (or other web article). It is clear that the mash-up potential of the data channel is going to be very impactful.
In conclusion, Oracle Open World is still an information event, though communications is creeping in. Looking forward, I believe communications will increasingly become a part of Open World as WebRTC enables a tighter integration between information and interaction. I believe that next year there will be an order of magnitude more communications at Open World, driven primarily by WebRTC. I expect that some of the big consulting companies will add "Real Time" as a consulting practice next to their traditional information practices.