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Moving from R&D to the Field: How Quickly Can it Happen?

It’s a great story and one we have seen time and time again. This time last year, we published a report on HTML5 and WebRTC. It was a major undertaking, but driven by activities that we saw in the market place and through the conferences we attended – still a valuable source of intelligence and emerging trends. Guess what? This year, we are seeing customers experience interest in commercial WebRTC-based products.

It’s still too early to tell, but it seems likely that 2013 is going to see the beginning of a new phase of activity, bringing and integrating communications into web-based platforms. Of course, if you’ve been around as long as us, you might remember things like PINT and SPIRITS, together with click to dial in websites and so on, but not much really came of that.

WebRTC is different. We get a strong sense that it’s going to contribute to communication success in so many ways, as it enhances, not replaces many existing technologies. It’s complementary. It’s easy to see how a WebRTC communicator could be integrated into a web portal for real time communications – enabling operators to become OTT players in the blink of an eye. Or even to leverage HTML5 to bypass applications stores. There’s no doubt in our mind that it’s going to be highly disruptive.

It’s nice to be involved with technologies that have the potential to make an impact and which are likely to become ubiquitous. For the last few years, it seems that the telco community has stood around somewhat and scratched its head about OTT applications, disintermediation and so on.

Of course, WebRTC lends itself to any developer, but it can certainly provide a means for telcos to really open up to external developers and perhaps demonstrate their relevance to the OTT community in new and interesting ways.

We won’t hold our breath, of course, as anything can happen and we all know that telco development and investment cycles are long and that things like LTE are going to occupy their attention for some time to come. But, at least there are simple technologies emerging that can help them leverage some of their core assets in much more interesting ways.

Let’s hope that, for once, things can move rapidly from R&D to the field to the hands of users. Maybe WebRTC is just the kind of catalyst to stimulate that kind of momentum. We shall see!