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How WebRTC is making enterprise inroads

John Moore | July 11, 2014
Jeff Singman operates two brick-and-mortar specialty toy stores in New Jersey and has wanted to provide an ecommerce website as well. Singman says his two Toy Genius stores, which he co-owns with his wife, offer shoppers a high level of product knowledge and customer service to stand out from other toy sellers. Employees wear lab coats and demonstrate products for customers. Gift wrapping is free of charge.

Indeed, part of WebRTC's appeal, according to its supporters, is that its uptake could extend well beyond a few flagship applications among the top-tier Internet players. The reason: WebRTC's underlying technologies make it accessible to a broader range of developers.

Brad Bush, chief marketing officer at Genband, says building with WebRTC is simple, noting that the technology is based on JavaScript, uses RESTful API calls and fits within the HTML 5 architecture. The framework also pulls together necessary components such as video codecs into a standardized toolkit.

With WebRTC, Web developers can now create sophisticated communications apps that were once the province of telecommunications specialists, according to Bush. "It's the first time in the communications world where we have a lower barrier of entry and Web developers can build communications apps."

WebRTC Appeals to Call Centers, Videoconferencing Firms

Development activity is particularly strong among call centers, which have a high interest in multi-modal customer communication. In one example, TeleSpeak, an Orlando, Fla.-based developer of cloud communications and collaboration solutions, plans to redevelop its software on the WebRTC platform, according to Chance Myers, TeleSpeak's co-founder and chief sales and marketing officer.

TeleSpeak products, such as its Contact Center AnyWhere software, have been running on the open source Asterisk platform for communications applications. The company, however, is now working with Voice4Net, a Dallas, Texas provider of contact center technology, to create applications using WebRTC. Rick McFarland, chief executive officer of Voice4Net, said his company builds on top of WebRTC's underlying functionality.

A new, WebRTC-based version of Contact Center AnyWhere is scheduled for beta release in August, with general availability to follow in September.

Myers says his company has shown some screen shots to clients and discussed the new version's functionality. The response has been positive. "A lot of our clients are very savvy in the software business and have done independent research on the WebRTC kernel," he says.

The combination of WebRTC and Voice4Net's development on top of that framework will provide greater scalability, simplified customization and improved manageability, Myers says.

Videoconferencing companies, meanwhile, are also pursuing WebRTC. JurisLink provides a video conferencing services linking defense attorneys to clients in prison. The Raleigh, N.C.-based company has been using Microsoft's Lync for videoconferencing, but plans to relaunch its service on CaféX Communications' Fusion technology, which is based on WebRTC.

Slade Trabucco, president of JurisLink, says his company is now in production with CaféX and plans to launch the videoconferencing service within the next 40 days. "The cool thing about WebRTC is it is so user friendly," he says, noting that most attorneys aren't particularly tech savvy. "Current video conferencing creates a lot of extra tech support and worry on our end."


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