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To get the most out of WebRTC, integrate it into existing collaboration tools

Ashan Willy, SVP, Worldwide Product Management & Systems Engineers, Polycom. | June 24, 2014
The promise of WebRTC is the mass adoption of voice, video and file collaboration, but how does it fit within existing communication systems?

Working WebRTC into an SIP world
If WebRTC exists on an island as a solution separate and apart from existing video, voice and file sharing technology, it won't live up to its potential. These issues of scalability and operation will override its accessibility. Additionally, organizations across the board have already invested heavily in collaboration systems, including everything from hardware and special conference rooms to software and maintenance. They aren't going to want to abandon these investments. They will, however, seek to use them alongside WebRTC.

Developers of traditional collaboration technology are in a great position to integrate WebRTC, making it interoperable with their existing offerings. Doing so not only keeps traditional systems relevant but also enables them to solve the problems WebRTC presents. For instance, if WebRTC users can participate in calls hosted by SIP systems, they can dynamically connect to the video core rather than create a mesh amongst themselves. Enabling the users to have the best of all worlds, mesh configuration when it makes sense (limited number of users, bandwidth is sufficient) and hub-and-spoke through the video core when needed.

Integration also lets WebRTC users benefit from some of the core value-add capabilities of existing collaboration systems. Features like automatic muting of callers in noisy locations (when they're not speaking, of course) become all the more critical with the more democratized WebRTC: if anyone in any office or coffee shop anywhere can connect via a browser, quality will suffer without these state-of-the-art controls that are native to high-end collaboration technology.

Delivering on the promise of collaboration
On the surface WebRTC may seem to address video collaboration in the browser, but it's more than that; it has the potential to bring consumers of this technology into your collaboration framework. For WebRTC to be universally successful, a methodology that embraces a hybrid approach and delivers a quality experience for all call participants will win out. Until all browsers can support WebRTC and can do so with this requisite quality, it makes sense to maintain plug-in alternatives and to use these alternatives to fill the gaps in WebRTC functionality.

WebRTC can live up to its hype. It can bring seamless video, voice and file sharing collaboration to the masses and it can do so quickly. It has to move forward together with existing collaboration infrastructures. There's a lot already in place for quality, cutting-edge communication and there's no reason to leave all of that development behind. Integrate it and bring it along to the browser level, and WebRTC will certainly earn its day in the sun.


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