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2015 Trends: WebRTC, Communications Innovation & More

December 22, 2014

2014 is nearing its end. For the tech world and enterprise space, the year has been a great one – full of advancements that make working intelligently and more efficiently possible. But sad as it is to say goodbye, there is so much promise in the year ahead for innovation building on the many happenings we’re already excited about.

I took some time recently to chat with Brad Bush, GENBAND CMO & EVP to hear his thoughts on what some of those standout trends will be.

Bush noted that one of the most important things we saw this last year, and that will play a vital role in how the market advances going forward, was the  movement in consolidation and valuations of non-traditional communications. Companies like WhatsApp, Twitter, Viber, all went public, got new valuations, or were bought by other companies, Bush explained. “I think that trend; of a new type of valuation being put on communications as a whole is a change in where and how capital is being funded for the market and a very interesting trend.”

In addition, Bush noted this trend highlights that these types of technologies - whatever they end up being - are going to be important and valuable. As we see more and more devices being connected to the IoT and M2M become the basis for many of our interactions with machines, one cannot ignore that connected, large networks are valuable in the new world. 

Another important advancement according to Bush is the standardization and adoption of WebRTC as a whole. “I feel this is changing the way people are looking at how they are building communication applications and integrating them,” Bush said.

There really has been a lot of movement throughout the whole year in standardization - which can be seen in many more commercialized usages and people are talking more about WebRTC just within just the last year.

“We saw things this year like Microsoft supporting ORTC and the adoption of a dual video codec as the standard implementable codec’s. These have taken the potential for real time communications and WebRTC even further.”

On a carrier level, Bush suggests we’re going to see graying of services where companies are all coming together and getting into each others markets.

Network Convergence is something we already saw in 2014, but according to Bush, will continue to happen. “Wireless carriers want to make denser networks – wireline companies want to create wireless-like networks on top of partnerships with wireless carriers, MVNO’s are still a growing business segment -   I think we’re seeing more graying of the services – where it used to be tripe play and quad play etc. and now cable companies are taking advantage of being able to offer video and voice across their deep & wide and pipe they can offer extended services over.”

When talking about innovation, it’s hard to ignore UC. The Unified Communications market is becoming a crowded field with traditional players as well as new upstarts and players in the cloud all putting out interesting and innovative offerings. Still, Bush notes, there is room to grow because a need for something “hotter” still exists. With WebRTC there is hope because communications becomes truly ubiquitous - so you don’t even have to pick up a device.

One way to think about it, Bush said, is related to how we live our personal lives with our mobile phones being more like a mini computer in our pockets. For example, the Uber app can automatically call a driver – and we’re not thinking about that happening as a “call.” “I think this is one of the places where we are heading and will continue to see communications happening the same way computing does today—with an invisible automatic methodology.”

Particularly in the enterprise space, Bush notes we will see an acceleration of adoption of unified communications – probably past even what analysts are seeing. “Many leaders still aren’t getting what the technology will do for them – so acceleration is bound to happen.”

Keeping this growth potential in mind, Bush noted that the company’s NUViA offering will be a much bigger part of GENBAND’s focus in 2015 as it expands into Europe as part of enterprise and carrier rollouts.

Finally, bringing the focus back to WebRTC specifically, Bush said what we’ll be seeing more of in 2015 will be innovative uses of WebRTC that haven’t been thought of.  Everyday, the company is coming up very exciting use cases for Kandy that weren’t thought of previously.

This is an excitement we’re guaranteed to continue seeing with WebRTC because, as Bush noted, we are in the very early stages still of the technology. “While we’re already seeing level 1 use cases and some level 2, we’re still not at the point where the 3rd and 4th level creative use cases are being thought of, Bush said.”

“We’re in the time now similar to the beginning of the Internet, when Yahoo put up a bunch of links and then someone else put up a search engine, and then Google came along and created a search engine that optimized by which pages were linked to other pages. I think we have these types of communication breakthroughs to look forward to in 2015.”

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