WebRTC Expert Feature

September 26, 2013

WebRTC at Oracle Open World

In addition to the America's Cup, there was another big event this week in San Francisco: Oracle Open World. While catamarans racing on hydrofoils across the bay at over 40 miles per hour is incredibly interesting, I took some time to see what was happening in WebRTC at the Oracle event.

As I have posited in the past, Communications Enabled Business Processes (CEBP) will be a key enterprise outcome of WebRTC. As we become more comfortable with using a variety of devices and user experiences for our communications activities, it is logical that communications will be added to business processes to reduce the latency in human interaction in those processes to improve the process and overall business efficiency. Obviously, Oracle and the entire community that comes to Open World will eventually be a critical part of this, the question is: Are there signs that this is happening now?

Reviewing and attending the sessions, while there were two sessions specifically focused to WebRTC, both were service provider oriented. In addition, WebRTC was mentioned in both the Communications general keynote and in some of the Customer Experience sessions. However, it has not made it to the large keynotes, where cloud, big data, and in memory computing dominated the topics. I assume all of these are critical to the America's Cup effort, though one would think that in four years the real-time communications enabled by WebRTC could be a component.

Time spent wandering the show floor showed little communications activity beyond the traditional space of CRM and customer service. In fact, I could only find four communications-oriented companies represented at the show: Avaya, Cisco, Five9, and Interactive Intelligence. While the others were focused to integration with the Oracle CRM platforms, the Cisco booth saw focus on its data center solutions for servers and networks and Avaya was showing its Aura UC solution. But in the greater scheme of things, with hundreds of exhibitors, these four were lost in the mass. In fact, if you combined all four communications booths together, they could have fit in one of the smaller of the multiple Accenture booths at the show (and Cisco was half of that).

Image via Shutterstock

While I did find a company called the Opus Group, it is focused on business processes, not communications or codecs. Of the four communications companies, Avaya was showing an interesting demo of WebRTC integration into its Contact Center platform. While not a comprehensive review, in walking around I never saw the words "Real Time" as a skill or capability listed on any of the dozens of consulting organization represented.

However, in the Industry area, Oracle was showing its progress on delivering a set of products to enable WebRTC apps developed by customers as well as native Oracle apps. The Oracle Communications WebRTC Session Controller solution included the Oracle Communications Converged Application Server and an ACME Session Border Controller, along with other elements. The Oracle team was demonstrating both a commerce app based on a real estate website as well as WebRTC integration into a Web e-mail application showing how WebRTC can be used to facilitate collaboration directly off the e-mail app. In fact this demo showed how quickly a Web-based app can take on characteristics normally associated with the advanced UC applications. In the real estate app, the developers used the data channel to synchronize a Google map between two browsers and to enable annotation on the map, a really cool feature to let someone know details on a map (or other Web article). Obviously the mash-up potential of the data channel is interesting. The Oracle team appears to be very focused on delivering the core elements to enable WebRTC applications in an Oracle environment.

In conclusion, this year Oracle Open World is still an information event, though communications is creeping in. It will be interesting to see how far Oracle and Avaya progress by the WebRTC Conference and Expo III, Nov. 19-21. By then we will begin to see the real impact of WebRTC in commercial apps and platforms from major companies like Oracle. I bet next year there will be an order of magnitude more WebRTC at Open World, perhaps some of the big consulting companies will add "Real Time" as a consulting practice next to their traditional information practices.

Edited by Alisen Downey


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