When revolutionary new technology begins to surface, there are generally two kinds of reactions: interest, and terror. Both reactions are reasonable, as it is both intriguing and scary when an emerging development offers to change everything one knows and understands; and such is the case with WebRTC, an API development being drafted by the World Wide Web Consortium that will enable browser to browser applications for voice communications, as well as peer-to-peer file sharing and video communications. WebRTC (the RTC abbreviates real-time communication) stands to revolutionize the way communications work and to open up a new frontier of voice connectivity. As Phil Edholm of PKE Consulting LLC has said, “WebRTC is a game changer and will have the same impact on communications that the original web had on information.”
Paula Bernier over at WebRTC World interviewed Mr. Edholm, who also provided a great example of how WebRTC could be used to change communication: “If you use Pinterest, for example, and tag something you like and there are five other Pinterest tags on that item, what can happen with WebRTC is it can allow the server to trigger real-time communications between those individuals.” As another scenario, WebRTC will enable a consumer to make more informed decisions about products they’re considering purchasing. If a consumer is online looking at a specific product, they can simply click to begin a video call directly from the browser with no plugin required. Rather than being connected to a general 800 number, with WebRTC, the consumer would be routed to a call center agent with specialized knowledge about the product the consumer was researching. Very interesting stuff, hence the aforementioned intrigue.
But communications service providers may be leaning away from intrigue and toward terror: WebRTC has the potential to take VoIP and telco providers out of the picture as it changes the way we think about calls. Voice is immortal—we will always make calls. But the equipment paths will change, and this could mean some big adjustments for businesses that rely on the traditional telephone network. This idea may be daunting. But folks who are shaking in their boots at the idea of WebRTC have a choice: adapt, or don’t.
Paradigm shifts happen—often, in technology—and when they happen, it’s only so long until the floodgates break and you are immersed in the next Big Thing. When television was first introduced and began eating up Americans’ audienceship, the radio industry had to adapt in order to survive—and survive, it did. For those have difficulty learning new ways to work with new technology, who struggle to adjust when the winds of change blow their plans around, WebRTC may seem a bit threatening; but change is never a bad thing for those who see innovation as a positive.
WebRTC—and all new developments, in any industry—offers the opportunity to reach customers in new ways, possibly in the way that customers prefer to be reached. WebRTC is compelling, and as someone whose professional life is obsessed with separating good solutions from exceptional ones, I am fascinated by the capabilities WebRTC stands to offer and am interested to watch it mature and find its place in the industry. At Ifbyphone we have always strived to provide the best integrations for sales and marketing professionals, and we are watching WebRTC closely for possibilities. When it comes to new technology, it’s all about willingness to adapt and the desire to connect in new and effective ways; that’s why at Ifbyphone we’re not just intrigued with this potential paradigm shift—we’re excited about it.