WebRTC Expert Feature

December 11, 2015

Cisco Successfully Adopts WebRTC

This week Cisco hosted their Collaboration Summit in San Francisco. The key takeaway of the overall event was the focus on Cisco Spark, as well as the cloud deployment model. While Spark has been announced, the 2015 event was the coming out party for the full solution set and the overall vision.

A couple of years ago, Cullen Jennings related in a discussion that Cisco had made the decision to focus on a next generation web based platform that uses WebRTC. This led to the creation of a San Francisco Innovation center, the licensing of h.264 to include in Mozilla, the acquisition of Tropo, and a myriad of other elements to create the solution that was shown in San Francisco come together.

At the event, Cisco showed how the cloud web based solutions could operate as a complete solution for some customers. However, it can also be integrated with the existing premises and hosted cloud deployments of Cisco’s traditional telephony and video platforms. In these implementations, the premises/hosted platforms manage calling and premises components while an integration can be provided to the newer services in the cloud. This hybrid functional integration is a different layering than the deployment hybrid model of premise and HCS.

I listened closely and WebRTC was mentioned a few times, but the imprint is clear: the new direct-connect to the Spark cloud physical devices (phones and room video systems) have an operating system (Spark OS) that clearly enables WebRTC-based media and signaling. The value of moving to a cloud web architecture with modern languages and services was clear in the APIs and integrations that are enabled.

At the event the Cisco teams challenged the attendees to make an integration or app using the available tools. In the course of two days there were literally hundreds of integrations done by programming/coding neophytes using Zapier, IFTTT or Built.io. This clearly shows the power of the web model that has been enabled by both the cloud architecture and WebRTC.

 Finally, I had a chance to talk with some of the Cisco team about WebRTC. I learned that Cisco is driving a wider deployment of WebRTC in browsers. The partnership with Apple will certainly push Apple to include WebRTC in Safari, hopefully across the whole Apple product portfolio. This was also confirmed by other sources, which suggest Apple is hiring WebRTC core developers. Also, the commitment from Google to support h.264 in a near release of Chrome fits well into the overall model.

The key conclusion I came to is that WebRTC has now become the leader’s choice in three of the four market segments that WebRTC World identified in our WebRTC Ecosystem. In the ecosystem model we identified four segments: Enterprise, Service Provider, Existing Web Sites/Applications, and Blue Sky Opportunities. Clearly major WebRTC adopters like Facebook, Amazon, Google, and others have shown that WebRTC is the choice for adding Real Time services to the web. With Spark and the vision focus on the cloud and WebRTC, Cisco, currently the largest collaboration/telephony vendor in the enterprise market clearly demonstrated that cloud, web, and WebRTC is their direction. There are clearly new start-ups using WebRTC, but the completely new business has not emerged, but it is clearly coming. The innovation of using WebRTC in entertainment services by companies like Comcast in their Xfinity services are a precursor of this as well.  The last space is the Service Providers. While there have been some movement, the focus on WebRTC is still coming.

However, I can only colluded that the year of WebRTC may actually happened in 2015 after all. With a billion Facebook users moving to WebRTC, Cisco, the largest enterprise communications platform moving to WebRTC, and Amazon, the leader in on-line retail delivering services to delight their customer using WebRTC, it is clear that WebRTC is delivering the future of real time interaction and communications. I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings. I am sure that the Cisco team will surprise all of us with a range of new capabilities based on the WebRTC and the cloud web model of Spark.

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere


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