Enterprise Connect 2014: WebRTC and Video to Occupy Center Stage

Cindy Whelan
Cindy Whelan

Summary Bullets:

  • Video and WebRTC occupy a major role for Enterprise Connect conference sessions as well as planned announcements.
  • Cloud and mobility are constants in the collaboration marketplace, as enterprises increasingly embrace usage-based collaboration and communications solutions as well as manage employee demand for mobility options.

Next week, I will join my colleagues in Orlando, Florida at Enterprise Connect, one of the longest-running voice/UC/collaboration trade shows in the industry and a great opportunity to spend some time with companies I speak with frequently and get a look at new entrants to the market.  A quick glance down a recent list of upcoming show announcements included (not surprisingly) a long list of WebRTC and video-related launches along with a healthy dose of contact center enhancements.  I’m particularly interested to get an update on where WebRTC stands in the collaboration and communications service landscape.  Last year, WebRTC figured prominently at Enterprise Connect, with an entire mini-conference on the topic, and that is the case again in 2014.  WebRTC is still in its early stages: there are a number of aspects of the service still under development, and WebRTC is still not supported by Microsoft Internet Explorer or Apple Safari web browsers.  Over the long term, WebRTC has the potential to be a real disrupter in the market, letting vendors and service providers implement easy-to-use voice and video applications for B2B and B2C communications.  Video, specifically ‘personal’ desktop applications, is another topic that seems to be generating a fair bit of buzz and publicity in advance of the show, as providers add services and features that take the complexity out of video conferencing in a bid to make it as easy to use as audio.

Analytics, and the use of analytics for contextual communications, is an area that I expect to hear more about in contact center discussions.  The ability to gather large volumes of information and to parse that information into actionable items plays directly into the enterprise focus on improving user experience to facilitate customer retention and upselling.  Collecting details from customer activities on a company website, social networking site, or communications with a contact center agent, and being able to quickly turn that data into actionable information, is a significant opportunity.  Enterprises could use such analytics to optimize their activities around everything from marketing campaigns and customer satisfaction monitoring to customer support and product development.

Last, but certainly not least, are cloud and mobility.  These capabilities are a constant today when it comes to collaboration and communication services.  Businesses still use premises-based services, and desk phones have not yet gone the way of the dinosaur (contrary to what some in the market might claim).  Vendors and service providers must support hybrid deployment models: public and private cloud, premises-based and cloud services, fixed and mobile devices.  As for mobility, consumers (and consequently business users) increasingly use mobile devices for a multitude of personal and professional activities.  Vendors and service providers must enable enterprises to meet, and manage, this demand.

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