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WebRTC Hype: Recheck...
I had something else in mind for my post this week here, but then Dave wrote about WebRTC Hype. He received enough comments on his post, so I decided to write a whole post just from me.
I value Dave's opinion, and I while most of the time I agree with him, this time I really don't. In any of the points.
I'll go over them one by one here.
1) WebRTC is not a standard. Neither is Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, Face Time. While they all started by needing to develop everything from scratch, we are told that a billion potential devices already exist for WebRTC--and if that isn't enough, there are many vendors who are porting WebRTC to the platforms where it isn't officially supported. Being one who orchestrated video calling development projects in the past, I can say that this is game changing.
2) WebRTC does not deliver any new functionality. And here I thought that having Java Script as the API of a media engine is new functionality. It hasn't been done before. Talking about new functionality--what about old functionality with a new business model? Or the fact that development costs are going way down? Will that bring new functionality from those that use WebRTC, instead of having the whole industry focused on expensive room system solutions?
Yes. WebRTC might not pack any new VoIP technology inside it, but the functionality it enables for developing is far greater than anything that came before it.
3) WebRTC will not improve customer service. Tell it to Vacasa Rentals, who are already using it internally in their business. They are small. Not important. You wouldn't see the Bank of America or v switching to it overnight. But then again, Google Apps was never a threat to Microsoft Office--but it is now.
WebRTC will improve customer service. It is doing it to a small set of companies today--especially those that are underserved or not even on the radar of UC vendors today. It will do it to a growing number of companies as time goes by.
Product cycles being long, my suggestion is to start planning for that day now and not when it is too late.
4) WebRTC is not disruptive. WebRTC is the most disruptive technology in VoIP to date. Not because there's new technology in it, but because it enables new use cases to be implemented. It does this not only because it runs in the browser--it does this mainly because it targets web developers (10-100 times the number than VoIP developers out there) and it does this because it lowers the barrier of entry to players, which enables a larger set of use cases to see the light of day.
So yes, please do check the hype--and there's a lot of it to go by. That said, WebRTC is going to change everything about VoIP. Just wait and see.