WebRTC—Watch This Space…
Everybody is talking about the exciting possibilities of WebRTC these days. And I completely agree with them—WebRTC has huge potential to change how the enterprise communicates and collaborates.
What it could be…
WebRTC can fundamentally change how we communicate and collaborate with one another. It has the ability to transform how companies interact with their customers and partners and how their employees communicate with each other. The real promise of WebRTC is real-time communications delivered seamlessly, from any device, anywhere you can reach a browser. It makes communication functions simple to deploy, simple to use and removes a lot of the barriers to great collaboration.
We know the way people communicate and collaborate together is rapidly changing. Video is no longer just for large companies with big infrastructure. Today, tools like Google Hangouts and Skype make having a video call as easy a traditional voice call. WebRTC will drive the evolution of voice and video by making them simple and accessible to anyone, right from the browser.
With more and more applications centered around the browser, WebRTC eliminates the need to rely on an application outside the browser for communication and collaboration. When these functions are native in the browser, it makes them easier to use, easier to deploy and self provision and it will be a big cost and time saver for the enterprise.
So far, the focus of most of the conversation around WebRTC has been voice and video, but I feel that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. We need to think bigger. It can really work for any kind of real-time data sharing—for example sharing your desktop with a contact through a single click on the browser or connecting with sales agents via a web page.
What it is today…
Today, WebRTC is pretty much a promise waiting to be fulfilled with unlimited potential. There is certainly a lot of excitement and there are some broad-strokes ideas about what can be done with it. Developers and companies like ours are beginning to experiment with it and are getting creative with ideas for how it can improve the communication and collaboration experience.
I’m pretty sure however, given the level of engagement I’m seeing, that there will be a number compelling ideas and foundational apps coming to market in the next year or so—including some from Esna. Still, I think that a more widespread enterprise adoption of WebRTC capability will probably not be reached before 2015.
One barrier to WebRTC really taking off and changing the world is that the standards have yet to be fully determined—and agreement among all the players, or at least interoperability, will be required before we see accelerating adoption. All the main players need to ensure that it’s easy for developers to integrate apps into their respective browsers – at a minimum, Chrome, Firefox, IE and Safari.
In Esna’s technology lab we’re already deeply engaged with WebRTC, looking for the right ways to leverage it with our iLink Pro Chrome extension. We know that WebRTC can deliver big benefits to our customers—particularly to those that leverage cloud-based applications like Google Apps or Salesforce.com—and our goal is to help those customers improve collaboration across all devices and all media types.
I’m really excited about the potential of WebRTC and can’t wait to see some of the great solutions people will create with it and I’m confident Esna will play an important role in helping its adoption in the enterprise.