January 10, 2017
Guest post: Ahmad Moradi, Chairman, CEO of NETSTAIRS.COM INC.
Moradi is an industry veteran with 34+ years in the IT, software, hardware and digital media space. @netstairs
In the fast pace of technology, as demand for information “here and now” has reached real-time services, both marketing and technology face challenges reaching consumer(s) or person(s) of interest whom we require face time interaction. Having face-time communications with customers, friends, colleagues, fans, & etc. grants us a new era to engage in real-time social media.
As an interactive advocate for the last seven (7) years, I have been sharing “real-time engagement” practices and theories. Although we are beginning to see a surge in interactive demand, the Internet of Everything adaptation brings a host of new and amazing real-time innovation and challenges ahead. Since I do not intent to fill this paper with statistics, charts, and hyperlinks this paper is presented in an abstract form where I could clearly point out two emerging technologies complementing one another. The purpose of this paper is to inspire creative minds that when IoT meets WebRTC, they could become a dynamic duo.
Wikipedia describes Internet of Everything known as IoT (Internet of Things) [a/k/a Cloud of Things – CoT). It is the next evolution in the high-tech revolution. IoT refers to the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing and consumer electronic devices within the Internet. At this time no one really knows precisely which devices are going to make up the IoT smart grid top list. Only time will tell.
“Due to the ubiquitous nature of connected objects in the IoT, an unprecedented number of devices are expected to be connected to the Internet. According to Gartner, there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020. ABI Research estimates that more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the Internet of Things (Internet of Everything) by 2020. Per a recent survey and study done by Pew Research Internet Project, a large majority of the technology experts and engaged Internet users who responded—83 percent—agreed with the notion that the Internet/Cloud of Things and embedded and wearable computing will have widespread and beneficial effects by 2025. It is, as such, clear that the IoT will consist of a very large number of devices being connected to the Interne
Things, in the IoT, can refer to a wide variety of devices such as heart monitoring implants, patient vitals, biochip transponders on farm animals, refrigerator that knows, automobiles with built-in sensors, or field operation devices that assist fire-fighters in search and rescue. Current market examples include smart thermostats such as the nest and washer/dryers that utilize Wi-Fi for remote monitoring.” Source: Wikipedia.org
Real-Time Communications a term that is now more popular as WebRTC was initially introduced in May 2011. WebRTC is an Application Programming Interface (API) published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that supports browser based communication protocols for voice calling, video chat, and Peer-to-Peer [P2P] file sharing without plugins. With the introduction of Google+, WebRTC was showcased for the public’s use. Supported by Google’s Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox and Opera browsers users could interchangeably interact and have face time without resorting to mundane download, 3rd party install and or unwanted plug-ins.
Unlike Safari (Apple having FaceTime as preferred video chat gateway) and Internet Explorer (IE not supporting WebRTC due to Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype) Open System advocates believe WebRTC will become the new disruptive protocol. WebRTC is a UDP/P2P cloud settings providing peer-to-peer face-to-face personal interactive experience. Since its introduction, WebRTC is accelerating. I predict WebRTC becomes the new video chat standard for IoT.
In pursuit of higher purpose, WebRTC brings the power of face-to-face interaction constructing both tangible and intangible competitive advantages. Considering real-time engagement in video, voice, and text communications is the ultimate quest, WebRTC could potentially become an interactive corridor to many aspect of online human interaction and services. Setting up an interactive cloud may unify many facets of communications such as marketing, sales, distribution, customer relations, and of course underlined by technology. Companies that embrace face time engagement are more likely to dominate competitive market.
While IoT [Internet of Things] brings a whole new excitement to the tech revolution, stats provided by leading tech researchers are staggering. WebRTC inclusion into IoT brings real-time human interaction. On many occasions we require face-to-face communications. Just look around. Mobile devices connected to clouds have become our gateway to most everything we do in nearly all productive societies.
WebRTC is poised to become an important part of IoT. In turn the creative thinkers and developing communities should join forces and introduce a whole new sub industry implementing art, science, & technology with face-time business, device and real-time engagement. Building personalized smart marketing work flows connected to business intelligence with big data interconnected to CRM that could lead into personal concierge or self-service robots are just a few of the ways one might imagine. In my opinion, in the world of IoT, WebRTC fills the need where and when human interaction is virtually required.
Perhaps a good example is the use of tele-health services in the near future. Ask yourself. If you are ill with a terrible cold (non-acute ailment), would you prefer to visit your physicians’ office or have your physician come to you? – Virtually. Personally, I’d prefer the latter one. Similarly if I can avoid wasting time driving, sitting in a boring waiting room for my turn while reading old magazines, and knowing that after visit I’d still have to visit the pharmacy and obtain my medication what are my choices? As a patient, I (we) just want to get well soon and recover faster. Candidly I can see the benefits of my physician sponsored Tele-Health services granting me the benefits derived from WebRTC and IoT. To me it’s an invaluable service that reduces unnecessary doctor’s visits, contains cost and improves healthcare service. That is why CMS has recently approved CPT codes for Telemedicine in all 50 states.
With many examples and diverse human use and applications we must elevate user experience beyond current data driven online mobile apps and move into real-time human interaction that impacts our daily lives. These services are not far distant from being applied into IoT. WebRTC is not inclusive to an industry. Vertical applications such as legal services, Point-of-Sale retail, interactive entertainment, financial advisory, automobile emergency concierge, online sales assistance, e-counseling services are just a few examples. I believe while IoT presents an expansive market opportunity, a major component in any IoT design should be circled around human and face-to-face interaction.
To forge ahead into near future the visionaries are embracing IoT, social media with real-time engagement. Giants like GE, Cisco, Google, Facebook, Apple, IBM, Samsung, and Microsoft have already charted out their own IoT roadmap. While seeing themselves as the global catalysts, they lack the vision that comes from entrepreneurs and startups. With Cloud of Things services, enabling devices with RTC and human intelligence we are closer to a spherical vision that awards real-time connectivity through net-neutrality. With respecting users’ privacy through secured measures, WebRTC could bring human interaction into real-time where we build a closer trusting social media relationship. WebRTC combined with IoT could become the vast enabler.
As a knowledge engineer and system architect, I visualize how imperative the inclusion of Real-Time Communications for human engagement beyond scripted work flows is. WebRTC is the center fusion taking IoT into real-time face time and offered to device manufacturers and distributors. To learn more about WebRTC visit: http://www.webrtc.org/reference/architecture
Birth of a new Industry
My prediction complements colleagues who share the same interactive value. Recognizing WebRTC as W3C standard could become disruptive to many video conference and video chat providers (requiring download, install and plug-ins). According to WebRTC.org “WebRTC offers web application developers the ability to write rich, real-time multimedia applications (think video chat) on the web, without requiring plugins, downloads or installs. Its purpose is to help build a strong RTC platform that works across multiple web browsers, across multiple platforms”.
However, WebRTC is new with limitations while presenting enormous opportunities. Like many new technologies it requires time to adapt. It necessitates progressive support at many levels such as infrastructure, platform and software as a service. Although I intend to publish a series of WebRTC / IoT with supplemental technical references, I know first-hand that WebRTC comes with many technical challenges that requires highly skilled specialist who understand transport sessions, RTP Stack, SUN/ICE, ROAP, JSEP, iLBC VP8, Session Management, NetEQ for voice, Video buffering, image enhancement just to mention a few.
The exciting part is that the process has already begun. Ready or not, the Internet of Things is coming. Since WebRTC introduction in 2011 there has been much improved adaptations. Google introduced WebRTC as a part of Google+ while several non-for-profit communities have formed (e.g. EasyRTC and SimpleWebRTC) assisting development communities with WebRTC deployment. Each community offers own open source and upgrade licensing. In addition, companies like SIRSYS is investing in building WebRTC server farms around the globe. Middleware companies such as NetStairs apply these core engines into multi-layered user-choice where room moderator may apply own preferential settings. Digital Media Room (DMR) owner may utilize a hybrid system supporting (UDP/P2P) and TCP/IP protocols with File Share and CDN connectivity.
Looking ahead, in the future when IoT connects billions of appliances, many devices would require adding the element of human interaction. Consider when you need help and everything does not go according to plan, it’s time to get real operator’s help. Managing exceptions bring us to face time with help desk services. For that, IoT must depend on WebRTC standards. Imagine having the ability to press a button and have a face time with a knowledgeable rep. In today’s online presence, building a real- time client-centric vision with unified interactive communications (UIC) is a requirement. We need a community empowering developers with ideas, creative thinkers with talents, and designers with user interface specialties. In turn businesses, enterprises, industries, and Governments would apply the new possibilities creating an interactive social media founded on face time at users’ fingerprint serving a multitude of instances anytime, anywhere.
As a knowledge engineer I embrace Open System, IoT and WebRTC. Considering video as a childhood passion, since 1980 I have been innovating, while touting “interactive” themes @ NETSTAIRS since 2007. It is my conviction to embrace WebRTC and make face time services a part of Cloud of Things. I firmly believe those who adapt face time as part of online service will ascend and reach closer than ever to their constituents.
As an IT strategist and business architect I can see myself in a near future talking to my refrigerator where I seek advice on switching my regular milk into soy milk products. I don’t know much about soy products but if I could be educated, it could certainly impact my “Point-of-Sale” decision. Naturally, I could visit search sites, waste time finding the information and read or I can save time by pressing a live RTC button on my refrigerator LCD screen and open a face time session with a nutritionist and having a conversation (perhaps paid by sponsor). I can ask my question in real-time and obtain answers. As a follow up, I could watch, share and even receive related information into my mailbox. I also see making an informed spontaneous decision and instantly press “Call to Action” button place my soy milk order right from my refrigerator door screen. IoT could notify my supermarket for pickup (and even make personal delivery). The use and applications of IoT/WebRTC become countless.
The other value of WebRTC comes from one more paradigm that currently is seen on many web sites. Considering Live Chat or Instant Text Chat have paved the road for real time live operators, WebRTC could become the most disruptive player against plain text chat service providers. Companies who adapt real time WebRTC could adapt and build own or obtain 3rd party services through call centers, CRM providers, and other niche providers that could easily enhance online presence with a virtual face time presence. With real-time broadcast links posted on social media sites visitors could virtually visit in real-time serving own business, personal and social exchange needs.
In my world, real-time communications tops everything I do. It is important to note that open minded visionaries will always find innovative ways applying WebRTC best face time user practices in their applications. After all, for the higher cause we all want to contribute making mother Earth a better place, be responsibly Green, reduce carbon footprint, stay eco-friendly, and reduce cost. Admittedly in our own little way, I have seen how interactive has changed our lives @ NETSTAIRS while making a genuine virtual impact. Beyond today’s Adobe Flash, IoT and WebRTC could become the next facilitators.