WebRTC Expert Feature

May 20, 2014

Does the Vision of LongBoard Come Back to Life with WebRTC?

Back in the days when SIP was new and not considered legacy, (yes, I know it’s still not fully deployed) Bill Leslie and the team at LongBoard Technologies had a vision of making the phone and the computer screen work together.   

It was supposed to be interactive where the screen could be used to dial for the phone and features could be invoked without a star “*” or a pound “#.”  It was in effect,  innovative.

Now to talk about these things seems remote and distant with the advent of smartphones.

However, smartphones have not really delivered much in the way of features, only a touchable address book.

WebRTC might bring some of the LongBoard vision back into focus particularly if the data channel gets explored. Invoking features and functions on a smartphone is still clunky.  However, the data channel can be alternate path for invoking features.

Now the question comes if we enable a browser path to the data channel for signaling (and other services of course), where would we want to see the information? Some advocate that we abandon the deskphone entirely and just move to softphones.   

While it’s nice to believe that the desktop phone is going away, and eventually it will, the basics of call transfer for a business environment are different than the ones on a smartphone.  

Making tablets have features is a discussion that Ray Pasquale of Unified Office discuss all the time. The point I am making is that regardless of voice or video piece, the interaction requires a better look and feel.  

Strangely, this could breed new life into the displays on IP desk phones if the API from the manufacturer can be connected to data channel associated with WebRTC.

At the end of the day, I believed in the LongBoard vision, so what went wrong? And can it happen again? I think the answer is that while I am advocating for expanding features and functions,  it needs to stay close to the callers point of attention.

My general sense is people are lazy and as such the invoking of a soft client on their phone is going to be hard to invoke. A better strategy is to make the look and feel part of a toolbar that can be expanded when needed.

Strangely, much of the innovation we have seen comes nowhere near this area of development.

For many, the adage leave the dead to bury the dead is invoked when it comes to signaling.

However, IMHO this is where the user can experience the most enhance experience.

It’s also where the enterprise can most likely replicate the experience of the office system.

Most of us recognize that the office phone is redundant, but its role is sole purpose - business communication.  

Getting WebRTC in the enterprise is going to require that same singularity in purpose.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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