A version of this article originally appeared on the Forbes Technology Council publication.
As I speak with business leaders from around the world, I’m continually surprised by two important realities that seem to go unnoticed and that are poised to transform the way companies engage with their customers.
First, while artificial intelligence (AI) remains a buzzword, many people are still unaware of how advanced algorithms have become.
A version of this article originally appeared on the blog publication “In Context,” by Nexmo, The Vonage API Platform. The OpenTok Live Video API is now part of Nexmo.
In 2017, IDC released estimates that the value of the North American Video platform market will reach $7B by 2022. That would be a 140% compound annual growth rate from what today is still a fairly early stage market. Positioning Nexmo, the Vonage API Platform, to compete and win as a leading CPaaS offering in such a fast-growing market was the biggest factor in the decision to purchase TokBox.
We listed three factors that are enabling this growth:
- Powerful endpoints everywhere – smartphones, tablets and PCs – with high-quality camera and audio capabilities built in
- The emergence of WebRTC as the video standard that makes it easy for millions of developers around the world to integrate video into their apps
- Ready access to high quality, high speed broadband through wifi in our homes, workplaces, and public spaces, with 4G or LTE pretty much everywhere else.
Some 40,000 years ago, our distant ancestors were recording vivid images of the world they saw around them onto the walls of caves on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and on the walls of El Castillo cave in northern Spain.
These paintings are believed to be the earliest works of art made by humans and they point to a long history of our need to record and communicate information in a visual manner – and of our ability to process and take meaning from these visual cues. Our brain has evolved to process these cues quickly and efficiently so that we can react and survive.
It’s hard to believe that in this day and age of digital transformation you still have to announce yourself when you ring a contact center. Or even worse, why you have to repeat your account details from one agent to the next. It’s among the most frustrating of customer service experiences, not to mention inefficient and costly for operators.
Why traditional broadcasters need to adapt, fast
Cable companies and television networks can’t take a trick at the moment. As if digital disruption and cord cutting wasn’t making life tough enough, now comes the rise of participatory broadcasting, the phenomena where viewers collaboratively interact while consuming content, and maybe even participate.
Still coming to grips with on demand and online/mobile viewing, traditional broadcasters must now find a way to provide immersive and engaging viewer experiences to compete with the likes of Facebook Live, Meerkat and Periscope.
The popular technology media would have us believe Flash is the worst technology flub since Windows Vista/Apple Maps. It is nothing but a giant security flaw and should never have existed. But pause for a moment and consider this – if it weren’t for Flash there would most likely be no Netflix, no Meerkat or Periscope, no YouTube, no Facebook Live.
You see, while these services may not have all been built on Flash originally, they all stand on the shoulders of the pioneering work Flash did around online video. So, while we’re all quick to celebrate its downfall and lament its many obvious flaws, let’s pause for a moment and remember that if not for the pioneers who inevitably make mistakes (Adobe with Flash perhaps more than most), there would be no progress.
WebRTC is maturing and we can see the needs in the market evolving along with this.
However, with the increased need for rich, digital experiences comes the challenge of building more advanced applications. We know that building real-time video communications can be challenging, especially when it involves more than two participants. To pull off a multi-party call using WebRTC off-the-shelf you’ll need a strong backend infrastructure and a deep understanding of media processing. That’s why we are looking forward to exploring this topic with WebRTC expert, Tsahi Levent-Levi, founder of bloggeek.me, in our upcoming webinar.
“Real life is, to most men, a long second-best, a perpetual compromise between the ideal and the possible.” – Bertrand Russell
The world has indeed changed in the last year as WebRTC has made massive strides both from a standardization and from a market adoption point of view. A whole host of innovative applications are succeeding on mobile and desktop end-points.
But despite another 12 months of progress, one of the key points of contention that remained stubbornly unresolved was the great video codec debate: Should VP8 or H.264 be the Mandatory-to-Implement Video Codec for WebRTC? It was a welcome and surprising move that led the IETF Working Group to finally arrive at the following consensus just last week:
WebRTC is changing the way enterprises communicate within their organization and with their customers.
As a result of the large and diverse range of different use cases of WebRTC in the Enterprise world, there are inevitably a number of challenges that need to be addressed. We’ve compiled a list of some of the key challenges and solutions for consideration with regards to implementing WebRTC for Enterprise solutions: Signaling, Multi-party, Interoperability, Quality and Scalability.
SIP? XMPP? JSON? Rumor? The right answer to the signaling question probably depends a lot on your starting point and on what you’re trying to accomplish.
While many people think signaling should be standardized; others think we already have the answer in SIP or REST. Some maintain that the lack of a signaling specification (beyond the need to support SDP offer/answer) is a huge gap in the WebRTC standard.