How WebRTC, Skype, and collaboration will shape the future of UC

As we enter our final week of publication for this Network World blog, today we’ll look at how real time communications technologies such as WebRTC, Microsoft’s Skype for Business, and collaboration will factor into what comes next for unified communications.

WebRTC and other real time protocols including Object Real Time Communications (ORTC) that eliminate the need for plug-in software to function will have a lasting effect on unified communications. As noted in the 2015 WebRTC State of the Market Report, over half of businesses are already using WebRTC or plan to use it in 2015, and over three-quarters of respondents will use it next year and beyond. However, these protocols won’t replace UC platforms; rather they will complement UC solutions that are already available today.

The effect of Microsoft’s Skype for Business strategy on UC cannot be underestimated. Lync integration was already table stakes for others’ UC elements and platforms, and the move to evolve Lync features with Skype features and users is profound. Microsoft’s latest announcement to release APIs for its Edge browser to enable ORTC is also significant. (For more on the implications of this Microsoft announcement, please see our comments posted here.)

Finally, a note about how collaboration influences UC. Unified communications has enabled collaboration, and collaboration features such as screen sharing have brought 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.

Our next edition on telco transitions to IP communications will be our last, so if you would like to keep in touch, you can contact me by email at or follow me on twitter @LarryHettick.

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