by Karthic Loganathan and Ramanjit Singh, January 2014
It is evident that we are moving away from a world of a few uniform communication tools, such as voice and text, to a world with a multitude of communication tools with highly contextualized purposes and applications. Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC) is about creating new modes of communication that will change human communication habits, eventually taking time away from traditional communications methods. WebRTC will also fundamentally change how enterprises interact with their customers.
One common use case demonstrated by enterprises is the use of WebRTC embedded into a web page to enable real time communication with a customer service representative. This enables the representative to provide superior customer service, as the interaction becomes contextual and there is free flow of voice and video along with the web page data that the customer is looking at.
Every industry continues to go through technology- and economics-driven transformation and telecommunications is no exception. The sector has seen dramatic changes through the years, from telegraphy a century ago to personal, multi-function mobile devices that drive our everyday life today. During that time, telecom network operators have moved from immensely specialized, expensive, and centralized architectures to more open and less expensive Internet Protocol-based architecture providing highly reliable services.
Improved agility, ease of innovation, increased reach, and improved customer experience are the key benefit levers that impact the top line and provide competitive differentiation for the early adopters.
While the network operators are exceptional in building and operating complex and scalable networks of different access types to meet customer demands, the move towards open architecture has also provided an opportunity for a new breed of nimble, software-driven communication service providers to bring in more innovative subscriber services. These providers mainly use web-centric frameworks to drive their agility and have been instrumental in changing how people communicate with each other—from mainly voice and text to context-based communications. Examples include integrated audio/video calling on personal devices and group calls through social networks.
These new types of communication are offered via various free or low-cost business models and are widely embraced by consumers. This change in behavior is severely denting the voice and text service revenues enjoyed by network operators for many decades. Thus, as in any other industrial transformation, the control asserted by the incumbent network operators is dwindling. They are once more forced to reinvent service offerings to avoid becoming just a purveyor of network access and missing out on lucrative service revenue growth opportunities.
At this critical juncture, WebRTC is ready to take off. This disruptive technology further lowers the barriers of entry for interested new players by building real time media handling capabilities right into now ubiquitous web browser. It enables faster service development with a widely available web community, eliminates complexity for the end user enhancing the user experience, and does all this at reduced cost. According to experts, WebRTC should enable the same kind of transformation that original browser did for information.
A big value driver associated with embedding rich real time communication into the fabric of the web is the vast number of new business models that will further transform the way we communicate. WebRTC can be leveraged into existing popular web applications, unified communication, conferencing, multi-player gaming, entertainment, and customer relationship management (CRM) in various industry verticals across various platforms.
Improved agility, ease of innovation, increased reach, and improved customer experience are the key benefit levers that impact the top line and provide competitive differentiation for the early adopters. For example, a videoconferencing app was built in less than one day. Once developed, the time to get the service into wide availability was zero.
Karthic Loganathan is principal sales consultant at Oracle.
Ramanjit Singh is director of Oracle Insight and Customer Strategy.
Early adopters are seeing substantial value from cost rationalization. For example, players in the video and conferencing space transitioning from current mode to WebRTC are seeing substantial cost rationalization. The key drivers impacting the cost structure are:
Web-based models have been proven to drive business agility and innovation. WebRTC provides a fresh start for everyone in the communication space to fully embrace a web-centric model, and to again capture the minds of their users through original and ground-breaking real time service offerings.