“WebRTC is making the leap from early adopters to early mainstream users.”
That is one of the conclusions from the new report, “2015 WebRTC State-of-The-Market Report,” by the industry analyst firm Webtorials. The report is based on a survey of 191 IT professionals representing firms large and small from around the world, although skewed toward the U.S. (61%) and Europe (20%).
More than two-thirds of respondents (69%) have either already deployed or plan to deploy WebRTC, up from 56% in last year’s survey, giving credence to the “making the leap” conclusion. Of those, 32% already use it, 15% plan to within a year and 22% have plans that are further out. Nearly a third (31%) have heard of WebRTC but have no plans to use it.
WebRTC, for Real-time Communications, promises to enable audio, video and data communications in a peer-to-peer fashion from directly within a web browser, without the need for a phone, IP-based PBX, UC server or any other infrastructure.
It’s clear the respondents to the Webtorials survey are ahead of the curve with respect to their willingness to adopt new technologies, and the survey says as much. But the results show the technology is catching on at a rapid pace – and that it may present issues for some existing products and services.
Where Customers Deem WebRTC to be Critical
Many respondents go so far as to say WebRTC is “critical” for various applications. In terms of collaboration with partners and other third parties, 55% of respondents say WebRTC will be either critical (17%) or important (38%). That makes sense, given the technology should make it far easier to bring partners, customers and others into rich-media conversations.
Collaboration within the company was a close second, cited by 49% of respondents as critical (15%) or important. Contact center support and education/training were each critical or important to 48% of respondents.
High Expectations for Mobile WebRTC
Respondents also want WebRTC to work well with mobile devices, for both employees and customers. As the report says:
In 2014, 85% of respondents noted that their organization supported BYOD, so it is not surprising that in 2015, 58% or those surveyed said WebRTC support was either critical or important on a smartphone, while 57% said employee tablets should also include WebRTC support. By a slight majority, respondents further consider it critical or important for customer smartphones and tablets to support WebRTC.
It should be interesting to see how well WebRTC-based real-time communications sessions function with devices such as smart phones and tablets, especially in instances where Wi-Fi is not available.
Can WebRTC Replace Existing Collaboration Apps?
If respondents get their way, it appears WebRTC could be bad news for applications such as GoToMeeting and WebEx. More than 60% of respondents say it’s important or critical that WebRTC support point-to-point screen sharing while 51% say the same for multi-point screen sharing.
If WebRTC does indeed sufficiently support screen sharing, along with voice and video, will we really need the likes of GoToMeeting and WebEx?
Time will tell, but my guess is companies will be slow to oust existing solutions that work well in favor of WebRTC. More likely, such apps will incorporate WebRTC so customers no longer need to download widgets that enable their devices to work with the services.
And the survey points to a number of areas of concern with respect to WebRTC, topped by “standards are incomplete,” cited by 38% of respondents. The good news is that figure is down from 52% in last year’s survey.
Lack of support from Microsoft (37%) and Apple (28%) were also among the top concerns and the report goes into some detail on the continuing saga of the browser support story (which we’ve touched on previously). It also includes a cool tidbit about Pizza Hut, which is using a WebRTC-based contact center solution that enables in-home agents to take pizza delivery orders.
Maybe I’ll ask about that next time I place an order. “I’ll take a large pepperoni and, oh by the way, how’s that WebRTC working out for ya?”