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September 30, 2014

Pizza Hut Puts WebRTC to Work, But Can the IoT Make it Even Greater?

It's getting easier and easier to order a pizza from Pizza Hut. Start with Pizza Hut's website operations, that allow for a pizza to be ordered from the nearest Pizza Hut to you—and the site can even tell where the nearest Pizza Hut is with the aid of a ZIP code—and carry on from there to a variety of devices that can handle the job and the picture becomes clear: Pizza Hut is more connected than ever. But thanks to the growth of Web-based real time communications (WebRTC) and the Internet of Things (IoT), that growth can likely only increase from here.

As noted, it was almost distressingly easy as it was to order a pizza at Pizza Hut. There's even a means to order Pizza Hut right from Xbox Live, and do so rather effectively; reports suggested that it took just four months for the Xbox 360 version of the Pizza Hut app to sell fully $1 million in pizza. But beyond that, Pizza Hut—rather, MUY! Companies, one of the largest franchise restaurant companies in the United States with 232 Pizza Hut locations to its credit—also turned to WebRTC in a bid to improve operations, allowing the company to go from a standard brick-and-mortar company to a home-based agent model, a development that in turn produces quite a bit in savings thanks to reduced operating expenses.  LiveOps' chief technology officer, Keith McFarlane, recently offered up some comment on the growth of WebRTC at WebRTC Summit, in which he described WebRTC's overall future as well as its growing tendency for disruption in the field. With over 20 years of experience in customer service solutions and customer relationship management (CRM) systems design and development, this is a man who clearly understands how WebRTC and the like can bring a whole new level of capability to a business.

But it's not just WebRTC that's looking to make a big impact for operations like Pizza Hut; it's also the growth of the IoT that's looking to help as well.  From users being able to place orders from just about any connected device—from a refrigerator that can notice the last time a Pizza Hut box was in its frosty confines to a car on the way home from work—to users being able to track the order's progress at potentially every step of the operation. That's not even factoring in what the IoT can do for Pizza Hut at the corporate level; tracking shipments to various restaurants, and restaurants being able to automatically reorder when stored material reaches a certain level are all possibilities for IoT. Changing technologies commonly bring along new possibilities, and those who haven't yet considered what WebRTC, the IoT, and similar technologies may do for restaurants—just like Pizza Hut—haven't really considered the whole picture. This isn't just Pizza Hut's operations that got improved here, after all, but rather, it's the potential improvement of operations similar to Pizza Hut's that are also improved. Imagine sit-down restaurants that can track an order's progress start to finish, even offering free drinks or dessert automatically should delays appear.

From WebRTC to the IoT, and well beyond, technology is posing the possibility of big change to much of the world as we know it today. Only time will tell just where it all goes, but technologies like WebRTC will likely prove to be at the front of it all.

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