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October 15, 2014

BroadSoft Adds WebRTC, Apple iBeacon Support

This week at its annual user's conference in Arizona, BroadSoft announced support for WebRTC through its BroadSoft Labs online incubator and as a "guest participant" feature in its UC-One unified communications application. It is supporting Apple's iBeacon, which may lead to some interesting apps down the road.

Like GENBAND's Kandy offering, the newly introduced BroadSoft Labs provides a variety of cloud-based services, including turnkey hosting, the BroadWorks software suite, WebRTC gateways, and PSTN gateways.  The company also supplies wizards to aid in creating WebRTC-enabled applications in "as little as 5 minutes," according to a company statement.

Application demonstrations at the BroadSoft Connections 2014 event include an open source integration of UC-One with traditional IVR capabilities that connects website visitors directly to a specific group within an organization to quickly address questions.  UC-One has also been integrated with NetFore Systems to provide a mobile app for temporary employees as well as a splicing of UC-One with mPortal with Google for Work.  The latter application provides another route to provide BroadWorks-based calls and text messages to all contacts.

BroadSoft's "My Room" group collaboration app enables groups to meet in a Google Hangouts manner, with the newly released version adding integrated video conferencing and enhanced moderator controls. Guest participation via WebRTC includes the ability for "external individuals" to participate in the My Room experience, with support for group IM, audio and video conferencing and sharing capabilities. 

WebRTC enhancements are accessible across BroadSoft's products, including software and BroadCloud services.   The company says it wants to "lead a shift in conversation about WebRTC, from technology to its potential to UC-enable web communications that address business issues and increase employee and group productivity."

It seems a bit late to start talking about a "shift in conversation" about WebRTC applications, given that corporate brand names such Amazon, IBM, Samsung, and SAP are embracing and supporting WebRTC for their own applications and customers.  BroadSoft could have done itself a favor by listing a couple of WebRTC testimonial customers, indicating that someone other than its partners had worked with the new offerings.

BroadSoft support for Apple's iBeacon is a bit above the same old, same old WebRTC news, but might be a bit discomforting to put into practice.  Integration with iBeacon devices more precisely identifies an individual's location with a work environment—say, between an office and conference room—so colleagues can select the "the most efficient" communications option.    That's all well and good if you have an all Apple shop, but outside of Apple HQ and some select businesses, there's a mixture of Google Android and Apple devices.  Some users are also not going to be happy with the “Big Brother” tracking aspects of iBeacon and turn it off rather than being pinged or tracked either in the office or in a public location. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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