WebRTC World Feature Article

November 20, 2013

Plantronics Keynote Emphasizes Making What We Already Have Smarter, Not Starting Over


Up until recently, unified communications has been mostly about the desk phone. Plantronics’ Joe Burton’s keynote at the WebRTC Conference & Expo explained how the trend of “solving for scarcity,” or focusing on lowering IT costs and not really user-driven, is a thing of the past. Today we’re moving toward a world of abundance, he said, working with an incredible number of communications devices and endpoints.

Burton is the senior vice president engineering and development and chief technology officer at Plantronics, which sets out to bring UC features and applications once set for the desktop to a familiar wearable form factor – the headset.

This world of abundance comes from an explosion of devices, including sensors, intelligent medical devices, phones, tablets and various wearable technology. In just a few years, there will be more than 50 billion connected devices, and we’re moving toward a world where there will be several sensors and IP-connected devices for every human being that’s alive – all pushing data to the cloud, and all ready to be interacted with by some sort of wearable tech to create unprecedented new levels of productivity.

The question Burton leads up to is, “What is the communications infrastructure for this world of abundance?” The answer: WebRTC.

WebRTC solves problems for developers by enabling them to easily build a communications application. It also helps the problem of deployment that UC faced before by placing infrastructure into a browser. He explained that end users and IT have been programmed to update browsers multiple times a year, so it takes away a significant delay and gap in getting users on the same page.

“This puts us in a position where we can start thinking like Web people, not telecom people,” he said. With a reasonable chance that people will upgrade, applications can sit on top and be refreshed every time someone goes to a Web page. Unlike in the telco world, where you have to get it completely perfect, a Web world enables you to work and adjust as you go along.

“Technology is great but at the end of the day, it’s all about people,” he said. Burton explains the focus of its sensor-enabled headset is working on behalf of the end user; it pulls meaning from data to bring relevant information to users and enabling a new level of productivity.

One of the biggest benefits that Burton emphasizes is that Plantronics doesn’t require organizations or users to completely start fresh with new equipment, software and technology. It takes all of the investments organizations and users have already made and takes them to the next level, making them smarter.

“Don’t throw away what you’ve already got,” he said. WebRTC is a great opportunity to add interesting features and workflows to what you already have. Then, as the technology and servers start to wear out, there’s an ability to move and replace the core.

Plantronics is a diamond sponsor of the WebRTC Conference & Expo and has had a busy week so far of keynoting, speaking in various sessions and exhibiting its solutions. It has one more day to go, including participation in the closing panel Thursday afternoon.

Visit www.plantronics.com to learn more. 




Edited by Rachel Ramsey




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