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Are There Advantages of Video Conferencing in the Open Office?

May 19, 2017

Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) is a technology that allows video, talk and text to be enabled using Web browsers. This open office, or open source technology was originally developed by Google and is now a standard in development with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). It is leading towards inexpensive and interoperable video in the business arena. This is an area where large enterprises have been constrained due to the high cost of collaboration architecture and where smaller businesses have been unable to consider video collaboration because of high prices and the complexity of implementation. Even enterprises that have already installed enterprise video conferencing infrastructure stand to gain from WebRTC, which is expected to be accessible by more than 6 billion devices by the end of 2019.

WebRTC enables real-time video communications in browsers without downloads, peripheral hardware and software that has traditionally caused user defiance in adoption of proprietary video technologies. WebRTC can be used with any existing internet-connected mobile or desktop device. Developers will use JavaScript APIs and HTML5 programming to invent video chat and video conferencing web apps that work between browsers. WebRTC also provides APIs so that developers can enhance their browsers with the technology.

Small Business Benefits 

WebRTC is free, requires no hardware or software to buy and is compatible with multiple browsers. Since there is nothing to install, no IT staff required, no complicated login procedures and is easy to use, small companies will now be able to use video collaboration on a regular basis.  Since interoperability is not an issue, small businesses will be able to talk with others not only inside the company, but outside as well to partners, suppliers and customers. Video collaboration can save time and money on travel, and increase productivity through shorter, more concise meetings. Employees will be more confident and will get more use out of WebRTC for video collaboration due to its simplicity.

Large Enterprise Benefits

WebRTC allows partners, suppliers and customers outside a large enterprise’s firewall to join internal video meetings without complex setup and sign-on procedures. Customer care representatives can easily demonstrate products, show diagrams and pictures to customers over video, which improves customer satisfaction. In addition, WebRTC takes the onus off of the company IT staff, leaving them available for other important projects.  Video conferencing prior to WebRTC had to be scheduled in advance, conference rooms had to be booked, invitations had to be issued and equipment had to be set up prior to the event.  Now with WebRTC, employees can easily engage in spontaneous video chats without scheduling or IT involvement. All of the benefits of enterprise video like multi-tasking and collaboration, and reduced travel time and expenses are included with WebRTC – without the infrastructure and personnel costs.

For Those with Legacy Video Systems

Enterprises that have already purchased expensive video systems and infrastructure will also stand to gain from the advent of WebRTC. Because WebRTC software clients are free, adding new users is free, adding value to existing investments. Users can be added from remote or mobile locations, improving communications. The ability of WebRTC to interoperate with enterprise video conferencing equipment is a cost-effective way to supplement existing investments.

WebRTC is available today, but it is not completely standardized at this time. As standardization takes place, web apps for video chat and conferencing will be developed and matured as demand grows. Once these apps prove successful, businesses will readily adopt WebRTC in mass, even if only to supplement existing enterprise video systems. This gives VARs an excellent opportunity to learn all about WebRTC for successful open office selling in the near future.

Are there WebRTC or open office questions that should be addressed in this forum? Feel free to comment here: