Real Time Communications Featured Article

Some Must-See WebRTC Tools and Apps for the Enterprise

March 27, 2015

If you are exploring WebRTC in any sort of capacity for your business, there are up to five tools and applications you need to review.  Four are already available, and the fifth is in beta with an expected release this summer.

Slack (slack.com) is the new hotness when it comes to team communications.  The software/cloud service enables managers to create open channels for projects, groups and topics a whole team shares.  Channels include messages, files and comments, inline images and video, rich link summers, and integration with other cloud services such as Twitter, Dropbox and Google Drive.  You can search whole conversations, everything is perfectly synced between desktop and mobile devices, and everything is archived.




There are two WebRTC pieces to Slack that put it on the review list.  The company bought the Screenhero real-time communications service and is currently integrating its voice, video and screen sharing features into the Slack app, expanding the basic features of Slack with RTC and much richer communications. 

Secondly, Tropo has built Ito, a WebRTC bot for Slack.  Ito adds in person-to-person calling, multi-party conferencing, call recording, voice to text transcription and voice analytics.  Companies can perform analytics on conversations to see what topics most frequently come up, provide a visual history of when each person was talking and the emotional content during a call -- things you can't get from a simple text transcription.  While Slack will get WebRTC features via Screenhero, Ito provides a demonstration of how voice can be processed as information -- a key feature lacking from most WebRTC implementations.

via Shutterstock

Microsoft vs. Cisco is like Coke vs. Pepsi.   Everyone has a reason to like one or the other, but sometimes you can only get one brand rather than both.  The next two must-sees provide a contrast between two different WebRTC options.

Microsoft Lync, currently morphing into Skype for Business, is a growing Unified Communications (UC) choice, with options available ranging from on-site server to cloud service.   GENBAND has a Real Time Communications (RTC) client for Lync to blend high-availability voice, video and collaboration services on its platforms with Lync IM and Presence, all on a single webcentric client. Existing Lync users don't have to be retrained  while Lync owners can add RTC features without having to add additional Lync infrastructure.

If you want a clean-sheet approach to bringing collaboration into your business, Cisco Spark, previously known as "Project Squared," provides secure virtual rooms for teams to collaborate. Accessible via mobile apps and WebRTC-compatible browsers, team members can securely send messages, share and view files, share screens, and start multiparty voice and video calls. All the team files, documents and decisions are stored in the same place, providing a centralized meeting point and increasing productivity.

The fourth item on the WebRTC-must see list is less of a specific vendor product and more of a category. A WebRTC gateway to bridge between existing IP PBX and PSTN networks and WebRTC clients is a necessary item for the near future.  The PSTN isn't going away anytime soon, so businesses need a way to provide access to it and other legacy technologies when you start using WebRTC in earnest.  Like most anything else these days, you can buy a stand-alone WebRTC gateway or buy it as a cloud-based service.

The final must-see is Microsoft Spartan Browser.  WebRTC advocates will argue that Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are the only browsers needed to support WebRTC in the enterprise.  Windows 10, expected to be released this summer, will have a brand new, faster browser supporting WebRTC and a large array of codecs for audio and video.   Spartan is bound to be a competitive option for WebRTC, both for internal use and for customers and partners. 



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