Real Time Communications Featured Article

The 'New Worker' Challenges Traditional Office Structure

March 24, 2015

Mobility and collaboration have broken down traditional organizations and opened up new ways to work, challenging the long-established office structure.  Freelancers, entrepreneurs, remote workers, and independents can join together in virtual teams now without being in the same room or on the same payroll to work on projects. Collaboration and real time communications (RTC) solutions provide the "one ring" of software to bring everyone together in a seamless fashion.

Recently there has been a bonanza of new announcements illustrating how RTC is putting together mobile devices with existing collaboration tools for supporting "New Worker" teams that can be both geographically distributed and what I call "payroll distributed" -- the aforementioned groups above, plus traditional businesses that bring in one or more of those groups to work on projects. 

Businesses have put together "New Worker" teams for years, bringing in consultants and specialized firms for such projects as trade shows, marketing campaigns, and web projects. The "New" part of the equation is the ability to conduct projects online for faster results with fewer face-to-face meetings and less travel, even (and especially) if one or more parties travels or is not geographically local to the rest.

One of the best examples of WebRTC bringing together New Workers into the traditional fold is the extension and evolution of Microsoft Lync.   The traditional UC, business-based platform can now be combined with GENBAND's Real Time Communication (RTC) Client for Lync, enabling New Workers to seamlessly get the benefits of real time communications while being able to access Lync Instant Messaging (IM) and presence.

New Workers outside of the traditional business demarcation line can access voice, video, and collaboration tools with Lync IM and Presence in a single web-centric client through a web page.    The total solution can be implemented directly in the enterprise network, accessed in the cloud, or purchased through a third-party reseller, enabling the burden of setup and support to be either owned by the company or purchased on as needed, per project or per team basis.

via Shutterstock

Because WebRTC is a standard supported on nearly all mobile platforms in some form, the core sponsor -- the company ultimately owning the project and paying the bills -- doesn't have to support different applications across multiple platforms.  WebRTC-compatible browsers provides the technology "one ring" for New Workers to access collaboration tools while sponsor organizations can extend RTC and UC tools through mash-ups combining UC, Lync, and web-applications via REST APIs supported in things such as GENBAND's SPiDR WebRTC gateway.

Microsoft has made it clear that RTC is the future with WebRTC being the key standard it is rallying around.  The company is in the process of phasing out Internet Explorer and will use its new WebRTC-supporting Spartan browser as the keystone for accessing information in Windows 10 and beyond.

As Microsoft moves away from Lync and onto Skype for Business, WebRTC will provide new opportunities to mix and match voice, video and collaboration tools for New Workers with existing web and UC tools. Independent workers-- as well as plenty of more traditional office personnel -- are already familiar with the Skype user interface, making it easier for everyone to get up to speed and communicating together.

The key is that, regardless of the software package, WebRTC provides the way to link together everything for everyone for collaboration, including mobile devices, existing communications systems, and web data, with the web browser providing a single, industry standard way of mixing and matching UC and web services.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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