Tim Mercer – CEO of Vapour Cloud speaks to Comms Business regarding WebRTC…
“WebRTC may be hitting the headlines more and more frequently, as disruption continues and a growing number of client organisations seek to invest in next-generation technologies for their businesses. But for us, WebRTC is not new – it lies at the heart of everything we do and has done for some time.
“When we set the company up exactly five years ago, we knew the channel was crowded with generalist providers, so we’ve remained focused – from day one – on developing and supplying three key product suites. These are secure network connectivity, voice comms and storage. And since that time we’ve committed to investing heavily in ground-breaking WebRTC capabilities to deliver our solutions, many of which have never been seen before on the commercial market.
“As a result we’re seen as a specialist in this field, which I think is important in the modern comms environment. People (end customers and channel partners) know when to approach us and what our expertise is, and we don’t dabble in anything else. This distinction in a world of disruption is crucial.”
What is WebRTC really good for?
WebRTC is changing the face of modern telephony capabilities, and in my opinion one of the most exciting applications is the extent to which it is integrating video into unified comms, with ease.
As individuals, we’ve become accustomed to using WebRTC-powered apps in our personal lives (e.g. WhatsApp), so the expectation to hold simple, secure and encrypted visual conversations, is increasingly spilling over into the professional setting.
WebRTC is great for such an application – the UK is just a little behind in its deployment. It is already revolutionising video conference capabilities, for example, which will take away the workload from Skype. The result of the disruption is that high quality, secure and encrypted and video calls can be held, recorded and safely stored/reported on, from any device.
This is great for the B2B space, for virtual meetings for example. But the use doesn’t end there. If we look to the United States we see vast advancements in the use of WebRTC in the healthcare sector. The UK is slowly following suit – with the potential to hold free, secure video appointments with your usual GP, imminent. Things are changing significantly in the automotive space too, which is extremely exciting.
As a nation, the UK has to catch up, especially because the younger generation is video-first.
How can WebRTC applications be scaled?
For us, our WebRTC applications are delivered via a SaaS model – in other words, they’re designed exactly for this scale-up purpose, which is crucial as uptake is on the rise.
From a technological perspective, browser manufacturers are getting on board which further facilitates the ease of the scale-up process and mass adoption.
I go back to my earlier point – the tech isn’t new, and the US has proven that WebRTC usage en-masse – is the direction we’re going in. Scale is therefore imperative.
Is there a place for a WebRTC Gateway? – Ribbon seem to think so…
Should there be a standardised WebRTC product set that clients can go and buy ‘off the shelf’? Yes. I think this could definitely work, and many in-house developers are comfortable adopting the tech. It depends who you speak to, and the challenge always comes back to ensuring the security of the application, particularly for people who don’t live and breathe WebRTC themselves.
With any application underpinned by WebRTC I would encourage the ‘user’ to understand the purpose of the app and work back from there. They need to know what technology they’re using and why. I would also personally advise against organisations purchasing WebRTC-powered apps from their mobile provider, for example, as I doubt the skill-set will be there. That’s not me being critical – it’s just a fact.
What about integration of SIP and WebRTC?
There’s absolutely a place for this as it’s been happening for some time! It is easy to do and is becoming increasingly common. High-end advanced technology platforms – like Avaya and Content Guru who we partner with – are already doing this, so this is a standard practice for us (Vapour).
I mentioned at the outset how excited I am about the video potential that comes with WebRTC, but that’s just one area where I personally see the biggest possibilities. We have to remember that WebRTC can just power straightforward voice comms, so SIP endpoints are extremely important here, for interconnection purposes.