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The “un” PBX generation

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

I ┬áhad chance to catch up with colleague who is a management member of one of Australian’s leading i-generation technology company’s. They make deep core technology products and are busy working away on a WebRTC initiative (though not ready to disclose the particulars). What was immediately interesting in visiting this 1,000 employee private company — they have no desktop telephones nor do they have a central PBX system.

Before I could even ask about what they’re doing with WebRTC, I had to understand how does a company function without a core voice communications system. The answer was that everyone was using their mobile phones but the deeper answer was that most employees simply didn’t interact with that many people either internally or externally. Thus all they needed was a communications system that was best suited for that group.

immersion_mitThis isn’t just true for voice communications, but for all communications. A simple visit to the MIT Immersion Lab and allowing it to analyze your emails likely produces the similar chart of my own data (left). Seven years and 26,000 emails produces an interesting picture. For all the yapping I do, I really only yap to a narrow group of people.

My friend’s company has been looking for some time on how to increase communications within the narrow group of people using their tools. The broad term is collaboration and runs across a gamut of voice, video and data elements. They needed a platform that could work both on Mac, Windows and Linux within their mostly browser based tools. WebRTC hit all the marks here. Finally, they also needed a downloadable app and are planning on using the available WebRTC libraries to get this moving at a faster pace. In short – without the introduction of WebRTC – the company would still be struggling to attain their desired capabilities.

For all the arguments about standards (mostly around signaling with WebRTC), we often are forgetting how we actually communicate. We talk in small circles and usually a handful of these circles represent where we spend most of our time. Hence, none us really need a large scalable system as much as we need small intimate capabilities unique to how that group wishes to communicate.

Thus there won’t be one dominate WebRTC application the “be all end all” but rather a further fragmentation of the available communications tools. There will be more, no less.