Andrew Hug
Polycom Employee

I recently wrote a blog about the digital consumption of WebRTC (Web Real Time Communications) to help the users improve their knowledge of the technology. WebRTC is growing in popularity and businesses are equally supportive of the new functionality.


The emergence of email, phone and instant messaging has facilitated the development of the ‘always-on’ world of today. Video collaboration solutions have strengthened the network further providing users the coveted ability to balance their work and life. For businesses, WebRTC will have a profound impact on the adoption of video and replace ‘do you want to have a quick chat?’ with ‘do you want to connect via video?’. This will not only improve the speed and quality of the business decision-making process but will also transform the way of working in the future – to carve the workplace of the future.


The proliferation of WebRTC is evident through the presence of over 2 billion WebRTC-capable devices. This is expected to increase to 6.5 billion devices by the end of 2015 according to a new piece of research. As the technology industry prepares to ride the wave of this new movement, it is important that vertical industry businesses like manufacturing, finance and the public sector also prepare to move forward. This is so they can continue maintaining their competitive edge in the market.


The initial two to three years will see a smaller scale usage that will be largely based on the pilot project development plans launched to create WebRTC based business applications. During this period companies will have the opportunity to identify and test the business applications that run on this engine. To harness the power of WebRTC, Polycom has developed WebSuite to connect the users based at different locations and using different types of devices so they can enjoy the same full HD video and voice collaboration experience.  


One of the business usage examples can be seen within healthcare, where patient consultations – on the proviso that the browser is based on WebRTC – can be delivered speedily, remotely and securely via video should the patient need to attend from home. Users will have to rely on the Unified Communications (UC) solutions provided by the businesses they are connecting to for end-to-end security traversal. However it should be noted that WebRTC audio and video streams are encrypted.


The element of security is of prime importance for content collaboration. Having a secure content sharing workspace is essential for all businesses, be it financial services, public sector, manufacturing or retail. The ability to share, view and annotate content promotes faster decision-making. Until now, only one stream of content could be shared over video. Polycom WebSuite allows multiple streams of content promoting ‘informed’ decision-making and spreading the power of collaboration to more than one user at any given time.


Vertical industries can be one of the main beneficiaries of such a technology, when coupled with enterprise grade UC solutions. They will be able to connect with their customers via web collaboration technology at the touch of a button. If this is the present, imagine the future that WebRTC has the potential to bring tomorrow.

There’s a lot of buzz around the imminent launch of Microsoft’s Skype for Business, and for good reason. The launch will be a rebrand of, but also an update to, the excellent Lync platform. The hype preceding this launch tells us one thing in particular; the business world loves Lync. 60% of enterprises are either considering or deploying Lync as its Voice Platform. Everybody wants Lync and its momentum is so huge that organisations that historically wouldn’t have considered it now recognise the value it can offer.


What does this mean for Polycom though? Well, 76% of all phones sold with Lync are Polycom endpoints. Polycom has 40+ video, voice and content sharing solutions interoperable or optimised to work with Lync. It’s because of this tight bond between Polycom and Lync that we launched the product everyone is talking about.


The pervasiveness of Lync throughout the enterprise means that organisations have already invested a fair amount in infrastructure, endpoints and training for employees in order to ensure that the Lync workflow is integrated into the business processes. Evidence shows that customers who have built the Lync platform into their processes in this way save up to 30 minutes a day, shrink project times by 10%, and increase proposals delivered and won by 20%.

But large enterprises are slow moving beasts, especially when it comes to IT.


Many organisations have legacy systems which predate the entry of Microsoft into the UC arena, and they aren’t going anywhere. They’ve ended up with siloed products and systems that don’t talk to each other. It reminds me of a scene from BBC drama Downton Abbey, when the Grantham’s become proud early owners of a telephone. Great, but as Mr Carson points out, they need to work out who else has one they can call!


Organisations are aware of the power of Lync beyond IM and presence and are keen to really derive the benefits of voice, video and content collaboration within this interface. They’ve bought Lync and now they want to drive usage and adoption of Lync, they don’t want to have their employees step out of that workflow. RealConnect enables this and luckily for existing Polycom customers this will be included as an automatic upgrade within their service contract.


Ultimately this is the way the UC, communications and technology markets are moving. Customers don’t want to be locked down into proprietary vendor solutions, they want best of breed solutions to work seamlessly. Within a UC context that means presence, IM, video, voice, content, scheduling and email is brought together by the Lync platform. The end user doesn’t care which vendor supplies what part, they just want it all to work together in an interface they understand. Users are beyond the days of mobile contracts that only allowed them to call others with the same operator. In the same way they expect any-network minutes they expect to be able to reach out to any of their contacts via any of the Lync communications methods. Thank goodness for RealConnect!


The on-demand webcast about Polycom's new breakthrough solutions is available for replay. Watch it now.

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