There is an audible buzz (rapidly becoming a roar) about several internet (network) related technologies – among them the notion of the interconnectedness of things.
Titles abound and include – the Internet of Things, Cisco’s “Internet of Everything”, Salesforce.com “Internet of Customers” – now along comes Microsoft with its new vernacular – the “Internet of Your Things” and the others … who create their own terms to address this sector of technology. For simplicity, in this discussion – we will use IoT/E to denote All of the Above!
An integral part of the IoT/E – is the Machine to Machine (M2M) communications technology. There is plenty going on here, but we will embed it in the overall IoT/E conversation.
All of these technologies will be the platforms for building new applications to solve business challenges in use cases for probably every industry on Earth. Today, in many industrialized countries – industries like pharmaceuticals, healthcare, automotive, transportation, finance and even insurance are using IoT and M2M solutions now.
In a separate post – I’ve reported on the mash-up of these megatrends and even coined my own phase – “Interconnectedness Future”. Think concentric circles of an expanding pool of water.
However, before we go further – let me make a couple of other points as to the size and scope of the IoT and all it encompasses.
The IoT/E upon further review –
in a recent Microsoft report on IoT/E using statistics from a McKinsey Global Institute document – the IoT is expected to generate $2.7 trillion to $6.2T in ANNUAL economic impact by 2025. (McKinsey Global Institute, Disruptive Technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy, May 2013).
In a foundational article published in 2013 by the Economist Intelligence Unit, “The Internet of Things Business Index – A Quiet Revolution Gathers Pace” ; global polling & interviews with large and small corporations reflect that “most business are exploring IoT solutions, they are not just manufacturers of things, internal skills development and IoT related talent is a key consideration/obstacle, cooperation will be required to get the necessary standards on interconnectivity and data sharing … and unknowns should not be feared – exploration now will pay benefits later”.
Oracle summarizes it nicely in a cool video – The Internet of Things: Managing the Complexity
Enter WebRTC –
Because we are talking about IoT including interconnected people, processes, data and things (using Cisco’s definition) we must include WebRTC. In my opinion, it’s smack in the middle of the IoT/E narrative.
While many of us have written, spoken and hypothesized – EXTENSIVELY about WebRTC – as a disruptive technology, we’re reminded – it’s just a technology, NOT a solution. However, it has the potential to become an integral component of many IoT applications.
In a wide-ranging interview with WebRTC World in the lead up to the WebRTC III Conference & Expo, I expound upon the future of WebRTC, its potential, development and impact.
Here & NOW –
Developers of cloud/premise based, unified communications & collaboration – hardware & software video conferencing, audio conferencing providers and IP telephony vendors … beware. What you do on those stacks – might possibly be done more economically via the browser or embedded in an enterprise business software application.
No one’s predicting replacement of the installed base of IP communications solutions due to WebRTC. But augmentation, cohabitation, coopetition and competition – however mischaracterized when compared to existing solutions – are realities. Those tend to slow product momentum & development and elongate sales cycles.
While WebRTC has its warts, among them in the technical space – there’s signaling, video/audio codec standardization and interoperability areas. Regardless, of those blemishes solutions are emerging daily.
Amazon’s Mayday button on its Kindle Fire HDX device has set a precedent using WebRTC. So much so that Salesforce.com is perhaps following suit – “The upcoming Salesforce1 Service Cloud SOS provides a SDK (software development kit) that companies can use to embed a similar button into any native iOS or Android mobile application, said Larry Robinson, Salesforce.com -Vice President of Product Management”, in a recent CIO release on its IDG News Service.
Wonder how they’ll do it – since Amazon uses WebRTC for Mayday… let’s guess, WebRTC for SFDC?
Connection to the IoT/E –
A Businessweek/Bloomberg article gave me a hint of the (potential) linkage between the IoT and WebRTC. The piece by Ashlee Vance – “Behind the Internet of Things is Android and It’s Everywhere” – makes a compelling case for the proliferation of the Android OS becoming the standard operating system of the IoT/E.
Since, Google owns Android, developed the Chrome browser and “spun-out” WebRTC as an open sourced API for real-time voice, video and data sharing – the bell went off in my head!
I concluded, since Android is huge on mobile devices – is the #1 OS on mobile devices according to the BusinessWeek/Bloomberg article and other industry folks – there must be a connection.
Then I saw this late breaking news from Enterprise Connect 2014 – “Cisco WebEx and Cisco UC: coming to Chromebooks near you” … really, proof of concept or not – WebEx running natively on Google in a Chrome browser! Look out Microsoft !! This has to be WebRTC enabled, right?
Dean Bubley one of the analytical “Godfather’s of WebRTC” cites in his Disruptive Analysis report of 2013 – “WebRTC Market Status & Forecast” that by 2016 3.6B devices (tables, smart phones and PC’s) will support WebRTC, representing 1B individual users.
My friends at WebRTC World – namely Rory Lidstone, cites ABI Research entitled “Future of Voice and Messaging — WebRTC and Telco APIs” suggests that, even without Apple and Microsoft, WebRTC will do just fine in the mobile space. In fact, the research firm expects there will be 4.7 billion mobile WebRTC devices worldwide by 2018.
Some of the same vertical markets with similar use cases as the larger IoT/E scenarios will be/are users of WebRTC enabled solutions. Cloud based contact centers, financial services, healthcare and insurance are early adopters.
Perhaps then, few would argue the notion that WebRTC may become (or already is) part of the future IoT/E medicine kit.
To the developer community I say … WebRTC gives developers an “anti- inflammatory, non steroidal” to use as directed without a prescription. So … stay tuned!!!
My recent participation in a webinar on WebRTC: Impact on Telecom, UC and Your Business – Expert Panel
My upcoming webinar on BrightTALK – WebRTC for Business: Hype, Hope or Hassle?