SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Phil Edholm
Phil Edholm is the President and Founder of PKE Consulting, which consults to end users and vendors in the communications...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Phil Edholm | April 29, 2016 |

 
   

WebRTC: 'Yooge' in the Enterprise

WebRTC: 'Yooge' in the Enterprise WebRTC hype may be dying down, but implementation is going strong.

WebRTC hype may be dying down, but implementation is going strong.

In a recent Enterprise Connect 2016 recap post, UC analyst Zeus Kerravala noted that he came away from the event with the sense that WebRTC is "losing steam." My takeaway is just the opposite: The hype may be dying down, but WebRTC implementation is going strong -- or, as the Donald would say, WebRTC had a "yooge" year!

portable

For example, WebRTC played a major, if not dominant, role in products featured during three of the five keynotes: Spark for Cisco, everything for Google, and within Avaya's new Zang solution. And while the other two keynotes did not dwell on WebRTC, the vendors represented -- Oracle and Microsoft -- are every bit as involved in WebRTC-related work.

WebRTC in the Workflow
WebRTC also has a big role to play in workflow communications and collaboration (WCC), another hot topic at the event. What many missed is that WebRTC is the core communications fabric of virtually all of these WCC solutions. Cisco's Spark and Atlassian's HipChat are based on WebRTC, for example, and Avaya's Zang has a WebRTC component. And of course the new social unicorn, Slack, uses WebRTC for its real-time services, including voice conferencing and screen sharing. And innovations like Chime from CafeX Communications are based on WebRTC, extending the capabilities through innovation using peer-to-peer services to create MCU-less clusters for network efficiency and cost reduction (see related post, "How CafeX 'Makes Music' with Chime"). WebRTC is a technology, a protocol, and an API, not a product.

Take a look under the covers at the range of emerging Web and mobile apps that are integrating real-time capabilities, and you'll see that the vast majority use WebRTC. Further, while WebRTC is an enabling technology, the key shift is the emerging Web paradigm for communications in which we do not have a single server managing our inbound and outbound communications but rather each event is managed within a separate environment. When I run a Google search, the traffic flows directly between my device and the results site I've selected without an intermediate node. It is increasingly clear that this Web model is taking hold as communications gets embedded in more and more apps (Slack, Salesforce.com, etc.).

Clearly, WebRTC is the basis for much of the innovation in the communications market today -- with good reason. By using WebRTC, companies get access to a broadly implemented, leading-edge media engine technology that has the bonus of open operation on Chrome and Firefox.

The protocols and APIs are well-defined standards, and include the capability to implement key elements like signaling in the best way to accommodate a specific communications situation. This combination makes development dramatically easier, and companies are able to deliver an experience that is equivalent to or better than most of today's proprietary implementations. The fact that WebRTC is based on an open standard and the technology is open source is icing on the cake. And open innovation leads to continual improvement.

Federation Anyone?
Another key indicator of the Web communications model is the death of federation. That I didn't hear much discussion about UC federation at EC16 I see as acceptance of the new model in which servers do not federate, but rather users go directly to the resources driving the communications or collaboration event.

For example, Cisco and Microsoft have each introduced Web guest versions for their apps that do not require downloads to join a meeting. Cisco uses WebRTC today for the Spark version, and even enables a user to have a free Spark account so he or she can fully participate with paying customers, all via WebRTC. And Microsoft has indicated it will use ORTC when that is available.

Based these factors, I think WebRTC and the real-time Web it enables is the true adoption model of a transformational technology and methodology that is rapidly changing the communications landscape. As futurist Ray Amara famously said, "We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run." Just ask BlackBerry about the impact of the app store on BlackBerry device adoption.

Double-Edged Sword
For enterprise communication managers, the realization that the PBX (or its descendants) will not be the singular real-time communications mechanism in their organizations should be a critical take-away from this year's Enterprise Connect. Your users will be invited to many communications and collaboration events that are hosted outside of your organization and do not rely on federation, your servers, or IT actions to work.

WebRTC is transforming communications in the same way the Web transformed information 15 years ago. Remember the days when the concept of users accessing any server on the Web was so foreign, or when most organizations routinely blocked Internet Web? The shift to open Web access has transformed work by making information available for a range of decision making and analysis. Understanding that WebRTC is being implemented virtually everywhere and the result is a major shift in how we communicate from the big federated network of the PSTN to the new Web-based model is critical in planning investments and options going forward for enterprise communications managers.

For enterprises, WebRTC is a true double-edged sword. On the one hand, all of the major telecom and contact center vendors delivering enterprise solutions have some plan for WebRTC, ranging from the all-in of Cisco to more tepid focus by others. The result will be a rapid increase in expectations of users and customers to have seamless easy communications and collaboration in all interactions, something that, if not provided, will be missed. If you are delivering a closed internal communications system or keeping your users in the PSTN paradigm of last decade/millennium expect to get complaints and comments, much as consumerization drove the iPhone use in the enterprise. Perhaps we should coin a new phrase, BYOC -- bring your own collaboration.

But that is only one side of the challenge. For all of the companies that have a mobile app or a Web presence, integrating voice, video, data, and screen sharing into that application may be a critical element for core business success. As the real-time Web rolls out, consumers and customers will expect to be able to use real-time interaction to enhance any app and increase its business value. And real-time communications can enhance virtually any app that has human users, whether intended for business to business, business to consumer, or consumer to consumer.

For the enterprise telecom group, this is an opportunity to grow influence and impact... or it is a threat chipping away at even more of the services it traditionally has delivered. Clearly taking a leadership role in the real-time integration into the business is a clear opportunity for career growth and new horizons.

As discussed elsewhere on No Jitter, browser barriers are falling, and the WebRTC adoption cycle will accelerate in 2016. This is not the time to underestimate the impact of WebRTC and the Web model of communications.





COMMENTS




August 8, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a reality for your contact center. But to turn the promise of AI into practical reality, there are a couple of prerequisites: Moving to the cloud and integr

June 20, 2018

Your enterprise may have adopted SIP Trunks, but are you up to date on how the latest technology is driving evolution in approaches?

In this webinar, youll learn how the new generation of SI

June 6, 2018

The two largest strategic vendors-Cisco and Microsoft-have been busy making changes to their enterprise communications roadmaps, incorporating collaboration applications as fundamental components.

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 BlogGeek.me 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.