14 January 2014

Less software, more productivity

If you've visited websites on the Internet on your phone or your computer, you very likely have used a browser. Common ones include Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Mozilla's Firefox, as well as Safari on the iPhone.

While they were built to visit websites, some companies believe that they can do a lot more, and simplify our lives in the process. According to Tata Communications, the right functionality added into browsers would allow any business to add new features that would help employees become more productive.

"Despite some welcome advances, the majority of us are still struggling with parallel and separate communication platforms. Most startling of all, integration with workflow internally - and especially externally - remains the exception rather than the rule," said Anthony Bartolo, Senior Vice President, Unified Communications & Collaboration, Tata Communications, listing instant messaging, telephony, video conferencing, voice-mail, email and text messaging as some of the platform examples.

New browser-based functionality such as WebRTC could provide a shortcut to creating communications features that will work on any device, allowing access to the shared information anywhere, said Bartolo. 

Made publicly available, or 'open sourced' by Google in May 2011, WebRTC is today an industry-wide effort to transform browsers into hubs for real-time* communication. WebRTC is already found in the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox. 

Businesses can make use of WebRTC to allow employees to call each other via video or voice, or conduct instant chats from within their browsers. There would be no need to source for, or install separate software as is required today, and employees would be able to collaborate in the way that works best for them.

"If enterprises want collaborations to succeed, they need to listen to their employees and understand their needs and to experiment persistently. Like a start-up, IT departments developing collaboration tools for the enterprise need to launch minimum viable products and watch to see what works and what doesn’t. Increasingly, the reduced costs associated with API-based development will allow enterprises to work this way," Bartolo predicted.

While WebRTC is still in its early stages, software developers are taking notice, Bartolo said. "I am confident that open, well supported, APIs are the missing link enduring developers to focus on what really matters: building collaborative tools."

To find out more about the world of communications – past and present – and how APIs are about to become the game-changer, download the white paper from Tata Communications here

*Responses to real-time communications occur immediately, similar to a face-to-face conversation, against relatively delayed communications such as email or postal mail, where responses will not be received until after the message is opened.