Plantronics Guest Post: WebRTC Comes of Age
WebRTC faced a daunting challenge just to get off the ground: adding real-time audio, video, and data channel working within the browser is no trivial task. This required working with many different standards bodies, a whole lot of companies, the browser vendors, the telecom vendors, and many others!
It reminded me of an earlier challenge: getting IP Telephony to work over an Ethernet network. Back then, just getting a phone call to work was a success. I was at Cisco when we went to market with the IP PBX. We had a lot of customer interest! We had test deployments, proof of concepts. The feedback was very positive, but then we had a problem.
Customers wanted to buy it. And they wanted it to work. Not just by itself, but with all the legacy PBXs that they weren’t replacing, and the PSTN trunks, and the gateways. This was a challenge that took many years to overcome.
I’ve found that the biggest impediment to adoption of a new technology isn’t how cool, or how useful, the technology is. It’s how easily the new technology can be introduced into the real world – filled with legacy infrastructure and security requirements.
WebRTC can be thought of as the big upgrade. How do we upgrade the entire global telecom network to a common web standard? This is hard, and a key difficulty is migration.
This is where AT&T’s Enhanced API’s really helps. At Plantronics, we really like WebRTC. We wanted to use it ourselves in our own technical assistance center, but we faced a challenge. It would take time to migrate all of our global service centers to a new system, and it’s a significant risk. How could we move forward to iterate and learn without waiting?
Last year when we learned about what AT&T was offering, we realized that we could easily try out the user experience of the future using one of the technical assistance centers we have today. Without waiting! And without making big, hard decisions.
Will users really want to use WebRTC and the browser? Let’s try it and find out! We don’t have to push them to use the new technology. Just make it available if they’re interested.
How many WebRTC calls will we have? We can select how many web pages we enable with WebRTC. And with AT&T’s cloud APIs, we only pay for what we use. We can adapt and learn and grow as needed.
The key to moving forward is eliminating the big, hard decisions. Iterate, learn, and improve.
At this year’s WebRTC World Conference, WebRTC reflected its maturity. As a team, we were all extremely excited to see the company’s journey with WebRTC take another big step forward when we demoed a live service call onstage showcasing Plantronics’ own Technical Assistance Center integration with AT&T’s Enhanced WebRTC APIs. Completing a video call is old news. Now it’s about more serious, possibly even boring subjects like migration, security, management, and identity. WebRTC works. Now how do we make it real?
I’m excited to move to this next stage!