Often when I talk to enterprises about WebRTC, I find that they have either not heard of it or think it does not apply to them. However, WebRTC is rapidly making its way into the enterprise, not as a stand-alone offer, but as part of the next generation of Unified Communications solutions.
I had the opportunity to spend some time this week with the Unify team and see how their Circuit product is evolving. Circuit is a WebRTC based solution that is focused on going beyond just delivering communications, but also delivering a solution to the work flow for many Knowledge Workers. It includes the capability to have a variety of events, contextual spaces and other functions designed to help manage the complex workflows in mordent organizations.
Unify touts the benefits and values of these new collaboration capabilities as well as the user experience, attributed to renowned design firm Frog. But the key is that Unify Circuit is based on WebRTC, primarily implemented through Chrome, using the Opus and VP8 codecs built into the Chrome WebRTC. What is exciting is that Unify seems to really get the concept of opening up the experience to users outside the organization through WebRTC. In the call they talked to models in both higher education and healthcare where the externalization of the system through WebRTC and the elimination of the barriers to use and the complexities of federation have led to dramatic impacts on their intimal implementing organizations.
Similarly, Cisco Spark is a WebRTC-based service, however, their focus has been on using Firefox as it implements the H.264 codec (provided as an open source license by Cisco) that assures interoperability with the existing array of Cisco/Tandberg video equipment based on H.264 and SIP. Cisco provides many similar capabilities to Circuit, though the Unify offer seems to be more focused on work flow and how teams work at this point. In the session, Unify talked to integration with H.264, but this requires transcoding to VP8, so there are interesting challenges in this area. Obviously, if Chrome decides to support H.264, the issues are less critical.
While Microsoft has yet to introduce WebRTC into the Skype for Business line (probably not until ORTC comes out as part of the new Edge browser to be available later this year in general release), they have focused on plug-ins for their operation. And other companies in the enterprise space are probably getting ready to follow Unify and Cisco.
The results is that by the end of 2015, WebRTC should be rapidly moving into the core fabric of a number of enterprises and the solutions they are deploying. And, for the most part, the fact that it is WebRTC will not be visible to the users, for them it is just a great communications and collaboration experience through a browser or a mobile app, with the values of WebRTC enabling the experience, but not really visible. It looks like 2016 may be the year of the Enterprise Communications Web. I wonder which organization will be the first to deliver a WebRTC-based Web representation portal . . .
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino