MSISDN: The Key to Connecting Mobile and Browser-Based Communications
WebRTC will dramatically extend the number of potential end-points for communications but what it really enables is a new class of browser-based communication. Browser-based communications enables MNOs and MVNOs to offer their SME and enterprise customers the ability to login with their mobile identity to any compatible browser, introducing new levels of nomadic convenience.
WebRTC as a term has gained a lot of attention, and rightly so. However, it’s likely that, as time progresses, there will be less focus on the technology than on the capabilities that it enables.
It’s rather like 4G – consumer and business users don’t talk about LTE or EPC but they do refer to 4G and what it can do for them. In 2015, we’ll probably start to see a shift from talking about WebRTC to browser-based communications or web calling, or something very similar.
This is interesting because the value of WebRTC is just that – it enables many millions of browsers installed on end points to, virtually overnight, become powerful communication tools. As browsers increasingly add WebRTC capabilities, they will become communication platforms, which can connect to other WebRTC-enabled end points.
This creates a number of opportunities. First, while it’s great that one WebRTC end point can connect to another, in practice, users may well wish to connect to something other than a URL. They may well want to talk to someone who is using a standard mobile connection or even across a fixed line. These sessions can easily be bridged, using gateway solutions but the infrastructure needs to be in place to enable that to happen.
But perhaps more interestingly from our perspective is the potential impact on enterprise and SME communications. We are already seeing operators offering IP clients or softphones to complement a mobile PBX or UC service, extending the range of end points on which a user can accept or place calls. This essentially adds multi-screen capabilities to broaden the appeal of such services.
Now, WebRTC support means that browsers can be added to the mix. In such cases, a user can simply login through a browser and then add this platform to the range of those that can accept or place calls. But how should they identify themselves?
Well, this is where our old friend the MSIDN comes in. If this is used as part of the login process, the user can effectively turn a web browser into his mobile, making calls and receiving them just as easily as on a standard mobile device. It means that users can be truly nomadic – not only selecting their own devices, with their smartphone or tablet of choice – but they can also roam from one terminal to another and access their full range of capabilities simply by logging in with their mobile identity.
The result is that any MNO or MVNO offering business services can, at a stroke, offer an easy but immensely valuable and convenient extension to their service. WebRTC may be how it works, but browser-based communications is going to spread rapidly in the enterprise and SME world. If you want to find out how to capitalise on this and add more value to your customers, why not talk to us?