WebRTC Expert Feature

July 29, 2014

Five Things I See MIA from WebRTC Planning

I take some pride in our history with the changing of telephone networks from circuits to packets.  My father was at the forefront of the change from stepper switches to electronic, and I consider the migration we have made to the PSTN to be much the same. When it comes to WebRTC, however, I see an opportunity for something more.

I won’t say that WebRTC can make phone calls obsolete, though I would say that it could change the nature of when and how often we opt to actually make phone calls.  If, though, all WebRTC did was minimize phone calls, it would be akin to a piece of stone that could conceivably become a statue being left alone and labeled by the artist as “unclaimed potential”.

The potential is there for so much in the way of game-change. Here are my thoughts on what is missing from the plans.

The inbound nature of call centers 

All these lousy short code, 2D bar code and long code strategies are dwarfed when you consider the use of a WebRTC client to connect the customer to the call center. Think of Google’s Adwords as the pioneers and WebRTC as the settlers. Companies that enable people to expand their marketing with WebRTC inbound should be ready for a market war. Ultimately, though, it will be too big a market for only Google to service.

The Collaborative Side of the Data Channel

How many of us have had a meeting within a meeting, either with Skype or SMS, as others held the floor.  Much of the time these discussions are snippy and not worth the time, but let’s assume we are there to expand the discussion.  Right now I see lousy chat and Twitter feeds and other strategies that require a willingness to reveal and exert your opinions.  If the data channel was a free flowing stream of feedback — such as the CNN streams of opinions during the debates or a feedback mechanism for the audience to the lecturer — the potential would be for something truly collaborative.

Same as above - but why is WebRTC not part of crowdsourcing / crowd funding?

Voice Recognition

Do I really have to talk about voice recognition again? I can only speak for myself, but Siri has lost its charm with me.  I want to call my doctor and it gives me the web and not the phone.  I ask for an address and I get websites.  WebRTC has the potential of matching me like for like.  When I talk I want to be talked to in turn, not read.  More importantly, I want to be hands-free.  Why Siri is a talk-to-look solution is beyond me.

Emergency Services

This one is tricky. I do not want to see every WebRTC implementation become another interface to the 911 network.   That said, however, I believe that a WebRTC open source PSAP could be the way to bring text, email, VoIP, and video into the emergency services system, without being stuck looking at the insanity of call transfers being specified by standards bodies.  (In my opinion, it’s not their fault that they are victims of forensic TV shows and spy movies that indicate we already have the technology.  The reality is that even if we did have such, it is a bad idea to bolt onto 1972 technology.)

If you are coming anywhere near my Wish List, please let me know. I would like to feature you since, for me at this moment WebRTC is, just a phone call away.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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