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WebRTC Reality Starting to Match Predictions

June 19, 2014

Dialogic published its second annual WebRTC Impact Survey back in April.  If last week's discussions at GENBAND's Perspectives14 event and news coming out of this week's WebRTC World are any indication, the spring document is mapping well to reality.

The 2014 WebRTC Impact Survey asked key experts among service providers and applications developers, to assess the impact of WebRTC on their business models. Over the past year, WebRTC has been "pervasive" with one in five respondents having launched a commercial solution and another 57 percent with solutions in development.

WebRTC news out of Orlando at the Perspectives14 event included LiveOps, Samsung, and SAP all discussing the integration of the technology in various products and services.  SAP demonstrated the deepest embrace of WebRTC, using GENBAND's newly announced Kandy service to incorporate real time voice and video within its customer’s relationship management (CRM) and field services tools.  WebRTC is being used to integrate click to call, click to video chat, and instant messaging into the CRM process - so a call center agent can directly communicate with a customer while in a CRM screen.  Field service technicians can use WebRTC within SAP to open up a voice or video session to talk to the dispatch office or provide live video of an on-site issue.

Nearly 80 percent of respondents in the WebRTC Impact Survey had already introduced or planned to introduce a WebRTC solution or service when the study was conducted leaving a bit over 20 percent in the "not sure" category.  Over 80 percent of respondents believed WebRTC will have a significant impact on their roadmap for future services.  

The key to both of those statistics is that there's a significant pipeline of WebRTC projects both on the development and service provider sides.  Last week's news is likely the first wave of a steady stream of announcements throughout the year.  GENBAND chief marketing officer and true believer in WebRTC, Brad Bush, said WebRTC services can be implemented by carriers within 90 days, not the "typical" 18 month installation window of other products and services.  If you add on a couple of months for planning and bureaucracy, this means any service provider making a realistic commitment to trialing a WebRTC project today could have something up and running by the end of the year.  It also means that any service provider that has started a WebRTC project since the beginning of the year should have something to roll out by September, if not sooner.

There's one area which the WebRTC survey diverges from recent comments -- but I'm willing to stick with the survey results.   Over 65 percent of respondents believe WebRTC will be used predominantly for human-to-human interactions over the next five years, including things like advanced conference calls with content, customer service use cases and other multimedia experiences.

TMC CEO Rich Tehrani and others have expressed the belief that data interaction will be big with WebRTC.  I am clearly in the camp of "M2M is M2M and WebRTC is for people, and the two shall not be mixed together.”  The Internet of Things (IoT) is shaping up to be as broad of a concept as Unified Communication is today, so you're going to have an uphill battle convincing me that WebRTC and IoT should be used in the same sentence. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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