SoftBank’s Adoption of WebRTC Should be a Wake Up Call to Video Conferencing Vendors

February 25, 2016

Wake up and smell the ashes?


This week, as part of the slew of announcements of MWC, there was this one – SoftBank Deploys Large-Scale WebRTC-Based Conferencing Application Enabled by Dialogic. From the press release:

SoftBank Corp. has selected Dialogic® PowerMedia™ XMS software media server as a core network element of their new multimedia web conferencing solution, supporting SoftBank’s enterprise collaboration needs for video conferencing and chat room capabilities. The WebRTC-based web conferencing application will replace aging legacy video equipment and services for employees across their various divisions and brands.

The emphasis is mine, so lets unravel it a bit.

  • Dialogic PowerMedia XMS is a media server for developers
  • Video conferencing in enterprises was something you purchase not something you develop
  • But something is changing
  • Fidelity in the US acquired Vidtel a few years ago to get in-house the ability to build their own video conferencing capabilities
  • SoftBank is doing the same now by licensing PowerMedia XMS and probably some other tools from other vendors
  • To top it off, it is transitioning from “legacy video equipment” (=video conferencing vendors) to an in-house solution

Microsoft Skype? Cisco Telepresence? Or Spark? Polycom?

No. Just WebRTC. With their own logic and implementation.

It is not only verticals

If you asked me in 2015, I’d have said that video conferencing has its place, but it is now limited to the enterprise. Finance, Retail, Contact centers, healthcare, education – all these now have their own specialized vendors offering WebRTC solutions that are a lot more focused on the business of the vertical than a generic video conferencing vendor can ever be. It was easy to see why these verticals are heading away from video conferencing towards WebRTC vendors.

But video conferencing?

And without even a vendor?


Unheard of!

But SoftBank is now doing it.

Why is it important?

The value of video conferencing in its generic unified communications form is diluting.

It is no wonder that Polycom closed its office in Israel and many of the other players of this market are struggling to grow. The future ahead of a legacy video conferencing vendor is murky. If I were working in that market – I’d be worried. Very worried.

SoftBank is just another instance of the tectonic shift taking place – the change in guard in communications that is happening all around us.



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