The WebRTC Conference and Expo is taking place later this month in San Francisco. To highlight this technology, which will be discussed in greater detail at the Nov. 27-29 event, we recently spoke with Shubh Agarwal, vice president of marketing at OpenClove.
Why WebRTC is important?
Agarwal: WebRTC is the next transformation, and this time it is about collapsing telecom and Web. In the early part of last decade, we saw the growth of Web services – from Amazon shopping to Google search to Salesforce CRM to social networks. In the later half, we witnessed integration across service platforms (example Amazon selling video content to computing capacity to potato chips, or Salesforce merging CRM and ERP with Enterprise Social Networks). Today, communications remains a silo service in that it is disconnected from what the users (consumers and enterprises) are doing every minute – chatting, shopping, collaborating on documents, training, creating or consuming content.
WebRTC, while being a simple technical concept to allow real-time communication from the browser, fundamentally provides the opportunity to change the paradigm. This begins with embedding communications into the Web service or mobile applications – where the users are, doing what they are doing. However, this is only the first step. A lot of innovations will (or need to) now come out to drive this vision, eliminate technology gaps around it eventually leading mass adoption.
How is WebRTC likely to impact the communications industry?
Agarwal: The impact is definite, and the question is how fast, not if, or when. There are already limited use cases of context-based communications such as Facebook and other group messaging or voice chat on gaming platforms. We will see a mass market adoption of these use cases.
We anticipate that a large part of communications will shift to community or context ... whether it is chatting with friends while reading an i-book or playing the next cool game to discussing a project on ESNs in a corporate environment. I would guess 50 percent in the next five years!
The traditional communication industry has to adopt this change, hopefully faster than they did with adoption of VoIP. If they do, they will be part of the provider ecosystem. If they do not, they are out.
How is WebRTC expected to affect companies like Skype?
Agarwal: Skype is a success story in transforming communications – the third or fourth generation (switching, digital, IP, OTT VoIP). But it is not capable of this next trend – of embedded or context-based communications. Proof point – the idea did exist when eBay bought Skype. But it failed, due the very nature of Skype as a closed communication system – making money the old-fashioned way, selling cheap long distance. Word on the street is that Microsoft is attempting to do the same – but it is anyone’s guess if and when it will happen.
Edited by Brooke Neuman