We’re only at the beginning of a much more vibrant, connected world of physical and digital interactions, support by secure, programmable and contextual communications.
One common thread is the evolution of WebRTC, a standard for embedding voice, messaging, collaboration, video and contact center applications based on web and mobile browser technology. I was fortunate to be there at the start when Google established the WebRTC protocol, enables “over the top” human communications, but which also supports IoT solutions.
The benefit of embedding RTC apps into browser-based experiences simply makes those experiences easier for consumers, and richer in valuable data for those responsible for delivering those experiences.
Here’s an easy example. If you’re shopping on an e-commerce site and have a question, you don’t need to dial a toll-free number; you can choose self-service (click her for a more detailed web-page), online chat, or click-to-call to speak to a live expert.
Now, let’s pivot to a more industrial example, where a multi-million-dollar machine in a factory stops working, shutting down time on the production line that can costs thousands of dollars a minute. Using IoT, sensors can help report trouble faster than humans can detect it, and a shut-down can be avoided. Or, should the shutdown occur, an automated system can assess the issue and even fix it – or trigger a ticket to a service desk requesting a live expert appear onsite.
That expert doesn’t have to be expert in everything when he or she has a virtual expert in the background, riding along using the same application that has monitored the machine, managed the sensor-based messages, analyzed the situation in seconds, and set up the workflow to get the tech there.
Several years ago, I worked with one of the world’s largest CRM, ERP and enterprise software companies in the world on precisely this application, and today couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the potential to intelligently orchestrate actions between machines and humans that get problems fixed faster, making customers happier, factories safer and more efficient, and businesses more profitable as a result.
Forecasts predict there will be 500 billion connected things by 2030. Those things are going to be interacting with humans in any variety of ways; for IoT developers, including RTC in stream radically differentiates their offers as the IoT market becomes more competitive.
The potential for innovation is limitless!
The accelerating rate of change will create threats for some and opportunities for others. IoT and browser-based communications is positioned to drive growth in telecom, and given what some analysts say, IoT spend will be 15X greater than the mobile + Internet + PC waves combined. I believe WebRTC will be the platform of choice for integrating human and machine communications, especially as 5G and Over-the-Top (OTT) continues to flourish.
The WebRTC market is forecasted to reach $42 billion by 2025 and machine-to-machine communications and data gathering is just the first step in this new phase of the Internet – and one where blockchain has the potential to enable the more open, efficient and secure sharing of data between all these systems – between humans, machines, and combinations of both.
The key is for visionaries across categories in the world of digital transformation to come together and study the options, which is why I’m excited to support the Blockchain Network Fusion initiative. Connecting everything without a strategy or business purpose is pointless, but connecting people, machines, systems, analytics, AI and mining data oceans, not just data lakes, to solve real world problems is worth doing right.
Where software defined networks and blockchain comes into play is their native ability to interact with and be integrated into solutions where both data security and data integrity is paramount, and where networks need to work at the edge (where all the compute action is happening today and moving forward).
We are racing into a true cyber-physical world. Driven predominantly by the explosive growth of IoT and connected devices, service providers, cloud providers, solution providers and enterprises can ride the wave of this disruptive transformation or suffer the competitive challenges if ignoring it. The innovation race is on, big time, and those who create new ways to collaboratively create connected services and systems, with the ability to sustainably monetize them will win.
Let’s go from confusion to fusion – together.