WebRTC and other real time protocols including Object Real Time Communications (ORTC) that eliminate the need for plug-in software to function (but work natively in a browser) will have a lasting effect on communications. As noted in the 2015 WebRTC State of the Market Report, over half of businesses are already using WebRTC in some form or plan to use it in 2015, and over three-quarters of respondents will use it next years and beyond. However, these protocols won’t replace Unified Communications platforms; rather they will complement the solutions that are already available today. What they do mean however is the final nail in the coffin for legacy voice only PBXs in business as you just won’t be able to compete if you can’t communicate.
The effect of Microsoft’s Skype for Business strategy on Unified Communications cannot be underestimated. Lync (now Skype for Business) integration was already table stakes for others’ UC elements and platforms, and the move to evolve Lync with Skype features and integrate users is profound. Microsoft’s latest release of APIs for its Edge browser to enable ORTC is also significant here.
Unified communications has enabled collaboration, and collaboration features such as screen sharing have brought people (not just employees) together to work in ways are increasingly efficient and effective. Collaboration has also moved helped contact center agents become engaged with customers in a way that builds the kind of relationships needed to engender loyalty and grow business revenues. The integration and alignment of platforms like contact centre and UC is significant for consumers and business alike and will drive new business models enabling customer engagement when, where and how they like. Be ready for the anywhere, anytime business!