Real Time Communications Featured Article

Small Teams Leveraging Big Technologies: WebRTC, Cloud

August 07, 2015

X Prize founder and CEO Peter Diamandis says accelerating technologies are going to create innovations that will lead to a world of abundance, while exponential technologies will transform companies and industries over the next two to ten years.  Small teams will have resources and services available to them that once required large corporations to build and support.  Sounds a lot like WebRTC and cloud-based communications services, doesn't it?




In many ways we've taken cloud communications and WebRTC for granted, rarely stopping to appreciate that we can now get more reliable, more flexible, and cheaper phone service and call center services through broadband, services that would have required tens of thousands of dollars -- at a minimum -- of personnel and equipment expense just to setup and put into operational use. 

Now you can get phone service for no money down, on a per-monthly basis for some small multiple of tens of dollars per seat.  Adding call center services is simply a matter of adding $10 to $20 or so more per month per seat.  A start-up business can now get the power of enterprise-grade telephony without having to spend a ton of money on equipment and people, giving them the ability to respond and expand as needed without the IT overhead once required.

via Shutterstock

Small teams don't even have to be under the same roof all the time.  Cloud communications services enable geographically distributed teams to work together on projects, sharing documents, conducting real-time project coordination through tools such as Slack, and holding conferencing and collaboration sessions over the web.  Team members can work from home and on the road so long as they can get a halfway decent broadband connection.

Housing everything in the cloud also means access to value-added services that even enterprise-grade managers would have killed for a decade ago.  Microsoft is now offering data analytics tools for users of its products, enabling managers to create customized tools to visualize and gain insight into such things as social engagement, sales, marketing, and customer service.

WebRTC is the latest piece of exponential technology to arrive in the telecommunications world and one could argue that it is second only to the appearance of Voice over IP (VoIP) in terms of the effect it will have on the industry.  Providing voice and video within the browser as a native function for "free" with open source code and open standards means anyone with a passing knowledge of HMTL programming can incorporate real time communications (RTC) features into any web page.

Numerous corporations from Amazon to SAP and Samsung have embraced WebRTC as the fastest way to get voice and video into their products and services, while a thriving developer community works to further establish and extend the capabilities of the technology to make it a true universal tool for replacing any process currently dealing with voice.

In the enterprise world, WebRTC is emerging as the primary component to bridge the gap between legacy videoconferencing hardware and off-the-shelf mobile phones and tablets.  Video conferencing can now be a part of any application with a few API calls and voice can be added to any web application

The area of unified communications is the one being most disrupted by WebRTC.  For example, Microsoft is incorporating WebRTC into all of its different programs, enabling voice and video to be called from anywhere on the desktop. The world of desktop UC clients, once a lucrative business, is destined to be a declining industry with the ability to communicate without proprietary code, downloads, and expensive software licensing.

WebRTC also provides small businesses with the power to conduct real time communications at exceedingly low cost.  The once-high barriers to entry for adding voice and video to applications are now affordable and available to anyone. 




Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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