WebRTC is a Natural Fit for the Enterprise

Here’s something funny. While most complain that WebRTC isn’t suitable for the enterprise, it is probably the next best thing happening to enterprises. And it is all because we’re in the midst of a digital transformation.
WebRTC is a five-year-old technology, so it is rather new to the scene. At its core, WebRTC enables adding real-time voice and video communications to any website without the need to download a thing. Need to get a customer on a quick support call? Just send him a URL.
The naysayers dismiss WebRTC because it still isn’t available on Safari or Internet Explorer. While that is true, it is changing. Support already exist in the new Microsoft Edge browser with reassuring rumors about Apple and Safari’s plans towards WebRTC. Ubiquitous WebRTC support everywhere is on the horizon.
Which brings me to enterprises.
Enterprises today are going through a digital transformation. In each and every vertical, businesses are being redefined by having the information that runs through the enterprise turned into digital assets that are then used to drive business processes and analytics.
This takes shape in many different ways: enabling customers to use self-service channels instead of using human operated contact centers, using big data and data lake projects to deduce insights and personalize services, streamlining sales processes through marketing automation, etc.
To make this happen, enterprises must integrate the different IT services they employ internally. The ERP system must connect to the e-commerce site, which must be integrated with the contact center, that in turn has to be accessible to the marketer.
Until a few years ago, such projects were only available to the largest of enterprises, relying heavily on protocols such as SOAP and products such as ESBs (Enterprise Service Bus). It takes many man months and lots of dollars to build such integrations, and they oftentimes end up failing due to their size and complexity.
In recent years, though, such integrations have shifted towards the use of REST. A lightweight cousin of SOAP. To explain REST, you need only look at your browser address bar – REST is essentially a URL call, similar to how you load a web page – but used by a program. While REST is rather loosely defined, the number of tools for handling it is growing rapidly and has come to a point where it is ready to replace SOAP.
Almost every new product or service that is being introduced to the market today includes a REST API, enabling integrators or developers to access it programmatically – in ways a lot easier than the older SOAP mechanism.
This change is coupled with the migration of IT towards cloud services. One where certain services are consumed from remote data centers instead of being installed and managed on-premise. This necessitates solid and publicly available APIs to use.
WebRTC fits perfectly in this brave new world.
Up until today, communications took place in a separate logical and often times even physical network. Be it cellular, wireline or VoIP service, these get built in its own private network or virtual LAN within the enterprise. And the interfaces built into these products in one of two ways: communication-based, which is hard to handle (think SIP or Megaco as an API layer for IT developers); or on some proprietary API that is hard to interface and integrate with.
WebRTC changes all that. It not only makes VoIP more accessible as a technology, but it almost forces developers to think with standard web protocols on how to use and deploy it. As an example, it gets your CRM vendor build his own contact center, many times with players such as Twilio who offer their own WebRTC SDK.
It is no wonder that enterprise vendors are adopting WebRTC en masse. Adopters include Oracle, IBM, Cisco, Atlassian, Slack and many others. The enterprise is where the advantages and ease of integration of WebRTC shine.
In a way, WebRTC is the last piece of the enterprise puzzle of migrating to the cloud and going through its digital transformation.

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How to Optimize the Founder’s Mind

Research shows that your brain function is both broadened and improved by “interdisciplinary exercise.” What does this mean? Be eccentric. Use your brain to think about lots of different things, even things that have nothing to do with one another. This builds new synapses, exercises existing ones, and simply makes you smarter.

OK, you’re thinking, but I’m founding a company. I don’t have time to think about anything other than cash flow and customer acquisition, much less take up new hobbies. But here’s one quick way to do become interdisciplinary: When you read, read stuff that has nothing to do with what your company does. (You can make time to read.)

Life Optimizer had a great post last week that explained three reasons why diversifying your reading is a shortcut to brains-building.

1. Avoid boredom
I don’t know about you, but reading the same topics again and again makes me bored. Even for topics I’m passionate about, I will be more refreshed if I also read other topics once in a while.

2. Arbitrage knowledge
The art of arbitrage is important for living smart, and diversifying your reading allows you to do knowledge arbitrage. Knowledge arbitrage means taking ideas from one field to be applied to another field. If you read only one or two topics, it’s difficult to do that.
3. Cross-pollinate ideas
Continuing the idea of arbitrage, not only can you borrow ideas from other fields, you can also combine ideas from different fields. Often it will give you “original” ideas since nobody has seen such combination before. Of course, you can only cross-pollinate idea if you have different kinds of idea to begin with, and that’s why you should diversify your reading.

It turns out this is a tried and true method, used by some of your business icons — like VC Michael Moritz and Apple founder Steve Jobs. Read More about How to Optimize the Founder’s Mind