Keeping Up in the Age of Acceleration

Top of Mind

Keeping Up in the Age of Acceleration

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  March 15, 2013

This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

We’re living in the age of acceleration, and things will move faster still going forward -- pushed ahead by the low entry costs that the cloud enables, ever-increasing wireless broadband speeds, and the rise of HTML5 and WebRTC, among other factors.

That was the word from the Age of Acceleration: Tipping Point panelists in late January at ITEXPO Miami.

The speaker lineup included Phil Edholm (News - Alert) of PKE Consulting LLC and, who heads up the WebRTC Expo; Carl Ford, CEO and co-founder of Crossfire Media, which puts together the M2M Evolution conference, among other events; and Larry Lisser, principal of Embrase Business Consulting, which stages the StartupCamp event. The panel, which was moderated by TMC (News - Alert) leader Rich Tehrani, also included Peter Bernstein and Erik Linask, who are senior editor and group editor at TMC, respectively.

“We’re in the maturation of the Internet age,” said former analyst Bernstein. “The new normal is that change is the only constant we can think of.”

The rate of change, and fickleness of the consumer, makes it very challenging for businesses to decide what offerings to bring to market and continue to invest in, noted Lisser.

 “Fast follower,” Lisser added, used to be a negative term. But now, he indicated, those that fall into this category have a better chance of success.

While the rate of change is challenging to business, the good news is that it has resulted in devices, infrastructure and tools that allow people to communicate easily and in real time with friends, family, colleagues and customers, said Linask.

WebRTC is positioned to enable even more interesting opportunities for communications in the future.

Edholm explained that WebRTC puts a media engine into the browser and enables individuals to communicate directly with servers, as opposed to requiring server-to-server interactions to enable communication. As discussed in the December issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY, that means developers can build real-time communication into web pages. Indeed, Edholm commented that any organization that owns a website or has key business processes that involve the web ought to learn more about what WebRTC can enable.

As in the past with other technologies, WebRTC is now opening the door to outside forces to enter the communications industry, and that’s likely to drive further change, Lisser suggested. He said the next 18 to 24 months is a great window of opportunity for those using WebRTC to do new things and create some great businesses.

WebRTC was also key topic of discussion during the ITEXPO Miami "The Future of Desktop Communications and Collaboration" panel.

While panelist Jeff Dworkin of Sangoma said he sees WebRTC as just one more way to connect, and added that smartphones are already powerful enough to do what WebRTC promises, others on the panel were very bullish on WebRTC’s prospects to ignite significant change.

“WebRTC is feeling to me kind of like SIP did in 1998,” said Sherman ScholtenObihai Technology Inc., adding that SIP was a revolutionary way to implement voice that came out in the 1997-98 time frame.

Vidtel CEO Scott Wharton (News - Alert), also a panelist on "The Future of Desktop Communications and Collaboration" panel, agreed.

“I think it is going to be completely disruptive, especially for ad-hoc meetings,” said Wharton, who expects WebRTC to “kill” a lot of the soft client business.

Just last month Vidtel, a provider of cloud-based videoconferencing, revealed that its Vidtel MeetMe and Gateway (News - Alert) cloud services natively support WebRTC. A press release quoting Alex Doyle, Vidtel’s vice president of marketing, as saying: "With Vidtel's WebRTC support, attendees will be able to join videoconferences as easily as visiting a website, with no bulky downloads or plugins, and Vidtel (News - Alert) partners can build compelling new video applications rapidly.” And it went on to quote Wharton saying: “We expect WebRTC to stimulate innovation, accelerate the adoption of videoconferencing, and to expand videoconferencing to entirely new markets."

The Age of Acceleration panel also touched on M2M, which has to do with communication-enabling any or all people and things.

The applications for M2M are broad, ranging from allowing businesses to remotely keep tabs on assets such as fleet and inventory; monitoring patients from afar; or seeing if a soda machine needs more Diet Coke. Ford and Tehrani also mentioned an interesting application of M2M that allows authorities to locate and prosecute individuals who cut down trees in the Amazon rainforest. This involved outfitting trees with M2M-enabled sensors, which alert authorities as to the movement and location of the trees.

To learn more about M2M, subscribe to TMC’s new publication, M2M Evolution magazine, and join us at the next M2M Conference & Expo, which will be co-located with ITEXPO Las Vegas Aug. 26-29 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino Conference Center.

To learn more about WebRTC, join us for the WebRTC Conference & Expo, June 25-27, at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta.

Edited by Brooke Neuman