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Did Gartner Truly Omit WebRTC From Its Curve? — Respectfully, I Beg to Differ

 Sajeel Hussain By Sajeel Hussain
Jan. 28, 2015

In this two-part series, we are exploring the question as to why Gartner has apparently left WebRTC off of its respected Gartner Hype Cycle. In the previous installment, I mentioned a possible explanation could be the fact that WebRTC, rather than a standalone technology, is better understood as a means for enabling many of the technology points mentioned on the hype cycle. 

In other words, we may not see WebRTC specifically mentioned, but it is, in reality, all over the curve — especially when we consider how essential WebRTC is to the transaction- and communications-based technologies indicated.

Dave Michels took a stab at adding WebRTC and a few other UC components to the Hype Cycle as shown below:

The Hype Cycle diagram

It will be interesting to see if one or more of these items are added to next year’s curve. Analysts are definitely following WebRTC but tend to refer to it as an enabling rather than standalone technology.

What would it take for WebRTC to be included?
If I were to speculate as to what advancements would need to happen this year to give WebRTC a shot at being included in next year’s hype cycle, here would be my top three:

  • Adoption by the other major browsers, namely Internet Explorer (looks like IE11 will have it) and Safari (not looking good for 2015).
  • More cloud services that package WebRTC with other cool collaboration features (like co-browse) at a price that’s palatable for smaller companies.
  • Support for WebRTC by top contact center and CRM vendors in order to drive next-generation customer experiences. This use case is about more than enabling a video chat to an agent; it’s about adding in-app voice & video as additional channels with integration to other channels and existing systems. So, for instance, a consumer starts in a web chat, then escalates seamlessly to a video chat, with the call routed intelligently to the right agent based on the customer’s browsing history, profile, or other unique identifiers.

Ultimately, its absence shouldn’t really matter that much to us — because at the end of the day, business owners and technology buyers are less concerned about what WebRTC is and more interested in features and services it enables. Of course, technologists tend to get so caught up in the “how” of things and underemphasize the “why” of their importance or the “what” they can deliver. Yet, business owners and their customers are interested primarily in only that: the “why” and the “what.”

What's exciting is that we are starting to see some high value use cases around WebRTC and contextual communication that should help the industry, including Gartner, stand up and take notice.