Chris Kranky

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WebRTC Business Case

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

What’s the business case for Marriott to have a bed in their hotel rooms?

To follow-on to yesterday’s posting regarding WebRTC Market Sizing, I wanted to hit the topic of the business case for WebRTC. Not surprising, my response is similar to yesterday, there is no business case.

So why WebRTC then? Let’s look at Skype as an example. I use Skype on my laptop, desktop, tablet and smart phone. Whatever I’m doing, Skype isn’t far away from my finger tips. Despite the different screen sizes, the look n’ feel is fairly consistent and I never need a manual or support forum to figure out how to use it. If someone calls me via Skype, these devices all start to chirp, it’s my decision what to do next.  The result – I use Skype a lot as do millions of others. Ease of use and accessibility being a winner.

A year ago, to replicate Skype functionality, would have a taken pretty serious group of dedicated developers willing to overcome all sorts of obstacles man-years to develop this functionality. The end product using SIP would have been clunky and barely usable on a good time and fun never.

But why WebRTC? Let’s look at my mobile phone service, I’m pretty much limited to my smart phone and I don’t have a lot of choices on how I can manage it. I also can’t move to multi-modal communications. I can’t switch to video, can’t send you a message, can’t send you a file or photo. Telephony service is pretty binary and no surprise – I use it less and less.  Please don’t set Dean Bubley off by mentioning RCS, that ship sank at the dock.

A new solution is needed, WebRTC is likely it. of obstacles man-years to build something even remotely similar to Skype’s capabilities and likely on a good day — it would be clunky and barely usable. WebRTC change the name.

god_flood_man_roofWe all know the joke about the man trapped on the roof of his house during a flood, rescuers come, he waves them off, god will save him, water continues to rise, he drowns, in heaven the man arrives at the Pearly Gates and asks God why he didn’t get saved and God replies he tried by sending the rescuers. That’s mostly how I feel when a service provider asks the “What is the business case for WebRTC?” question.

If you’re a service provider and don’t have a group looking, playing and testing this in your situation, prepare then to have your clock cleaned. No you won’t go out of business, cash will continue to flow but you may simply become less relevant.  I’m OK with being rich and irrelevant, but make sure it’s a conscience decision.

WebRTC, as a technology, dramatically lowers the barrier to entry for communication services with little investment. I’m not sure what better gift Google could have given us.  The technology isn’t perfect, there are still 100 rough edges, things will break, nightmares will ensue, but this doesn’t diminish the opportunity that awaits.