WebRTC Expert Feature

February 12, 2014

Video Conferencing Reality Check: WebRTC is Nowhere in Sight

A family friend who works for Cenero serves as my reality check on where the markets are today. Over the years, I have often felt like a foreigner speaking Japanese to a native when talking with this friend, amusing him with my own wonder at having some knowledge of his ecosystem. Over time, a number of the companies I would bring into conversations with my friend would come into his market, after which our ensuring conversations were more quizzical on his part. Thus, today when we compare notes, we consider it a sign of who is hitting the window of opportunity right and who is missing the mark.

Among the companies my Cenero friend and I have discussed that have penetrated the marketplace are Vidyo and Blue Jeans Network -- two companies that are all about customer acquisition, both of which are good and aggressive partners for value-added resellers. In our talks the subject of whether the term WebRTC is making its way into the marketplace came up, and here is the dilemma I discovered: I knew that both Vidyo and Blue Jeans had made news with WebRTC, with Vidyo integrating with Google to bring SVC to VIPER and Blue Jeans offering support to WebRTC browser implementations. However, this was due in great part to the marketing effort by both companies, so what we may very well have is a technology that does not break through to the customer mindset.

Here is one of my classic anecdotes you either love or hate, (if hate, feel free to skip the indented paragraphs).

When my father was in charge of Centrex marketing in New Jersey, he was asked to help save a sale with a visit to the Mother Superior at the College of St. Elizabeth’s at Convent Station.  For those of the next generation who are unfamiliar, there was an interim analog-to-digital step prior to circuit to packet. PBXs had all transitioned to digital, however, the central offices were still analog.  It was generally agreed that digital was more efficient and could add features more easily.  

My father made a noble effort in conveying to the Mother Superior both the value of Centrex as a (ancient cloud-like) service and the support that she could rely on from the carrier.  In fact, Dad was sure he made his point and thought the Centrex system had been saved, only to hear the Mother Superior counter with “Yes but it’s not Digital.” Dad then knew that he could not save the sale, and he made the point to his staff that if a nun was singing the praises of digital, then everyone was going to want the benefits of digital.

The point here is that WebRTC has not even penetrated the mindset of the sales teams out in the market, and thus far it seems to not be part of trial discussions from the likes of Vidyo and Blue Jeans. Obviously, market adoption is going to be quite difficult if we cannot get the industry leaders to share their enthusiasm as part of the sale process.

If WebRTC is going to be more than an embedded technology, the value proposition has to reach the point where Mother Superior says, “Yes, but does it have WebRTC?” as otherwise it may be a feature it will not be a driver in the marketplace.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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