Over the past 10 years, the UC industry has talked about the two facets of UC; the collaboration aspect for Knowledge Workers, and the business process integration (known as CEBP) for the rest of the company. While products such as Lync, Jabber, and Flare are focused to the former, we have not seen the take-up in CEBP. IN fact, many have said this is the bigger opportunity than collaboration, making companies processes more efficient through the introduction of just in time communications. An interesting question is if WebRTC and BYOD will change the game by making users more comfortable with using other devices than the phone for business communications.
WebRTC is starting to get a lot of press and interest. Essentially with WebRTC, your browser becomes your communications client, with the visual experience defined from a server through the HTML/HTML5 browser function and the real-time transmission and receipt of media streams through the WebRTC media engine built into the browser. With WebRTC, two users with their browsers connected to the same server can have a real-time voice or video session established with the server controlling the actual communications. And this can be done with about 40 lines of Java Script programming. As we get used to having each communications event defined by the web server that we are connected to (and just like web sites, each reflects the unique nature of the site and the actual event), being comfortable with communications as an "add-on" to the web will change our view.
With WebRTC and BYOD, users are going to get increasingly more comfortable with doing their communications WIHTOUT the desk phone. So now adding real-time into Oracle, SAP, or McKesson (Health Care) apps using web browsers becomes something that may be accepted. While the UC vendors see CEBP as a great opportunity, if the SW vendors can integrate RTC using WebRTC, BYOD and other devices than the phone, they have a natural position to make it really work. And this gets easier with some of the new audio devices. For example, I use a Plantronics Savi 740 headset that enables allow connections to my phone, my PC with USB, my tablet and Mobile with BlueTooth. I can answer a connection request that arrives on any of these in the same way. As I use this device, my "awareness" of which device or channel/media a communications is coming in on has decreased. Similarly users can have a single interface to all of their channels and stop thinking of the phone as the only way to interact.
I think we are on the edge of a major shift in real-time communications and CEBP. It is going to move from the phone and the traditional telecomm vendors and expand into purpose specific real-time communications added to many applications and solutions. What do you think? Do you think Oracle or SAP will be managing many of your user interactions in 2014 without integration to your phone system?