Plantronics Explains How Wearables Can Elevate the WebRTC Experience

WebRTC Feature Story

Plantronics Explains How Wearables Can Elevate the WebRTC Experience

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  November 05, 2014

Over the last 53 years Plantronics (News - Alert) has consistently delivered premium audio experiences between wearers and their communications endpoints. From old iron PBXs to VoIP, desktop phones to softphones to mobile devices, Plantronics has maintained an agility to bring wearable solutions that seamlessly integrate with users’ communication environments. One of the ways that Plantronics is able to evolve with this ever-changing industry is through its partnerships with the leading communications infrastructure providers and device manufacturers. WebRTC has been on its radar for more than four years now, and Cary Bran (News - Alert), vice president of innovation and new ventures at Plantronics, says the company is eager to see industries starting to take shape around this exciting communications-enabling technology. 

Plantronics received the WebRTC Visionary award at the past two WebRTC Conference & Expo events. Tell us about the solutions that won Plantronics these accolades.

In 2012 the Innovation Team at Plantronics created the first truly integrated experience between audio headsets and WebRTC. The demonstration took an off-the-shelf Plantronics Voyager Legend and our software SDK to natively integrate the Legend’s built-in call control features into a WebRTC call. 

In 2013 Plantronics showcased the potential of integrating body-worn sensors into WebRTC- enabled communications. This demonstration highlighted how context such as head orientation can be added via the data channel into WebRTC-enabled communications.

What can we expect from Plantronics at WebRTC Conference and Expo this time around?

Browser vendors such as Mozilla and Google (News - Alert) along with the W3C continue to push the boundaries of what the web means and how it can be used to deliver amazing experiences. Of interest to Plantronics is how connected devices (wearables) will be accessible via Bluetooth and Bluetooth Smart directly from the web browser. I would expect that we will be bringing with us to the conference a demo that will showcase how smart sensing devices like our PLT Labs Wearable Concept 1 can be integrated via Bluetooth into a WebRTC experience with just a few lines of JavaScript and zero software installed on the host system.

How is WebRTC impacting contact centers?

Plantronics has been creating leading solutions for customer service use for years, and WebRTC is at the very early stage of being introduced into contact centers. While it is early days, we do foresee amazing new levels of customer care once WebRTC-enabled solutions gain a foothold in the contact center. With WebRTC, customer care calls will change as we know it, the contact center agents will evolve, no longer will they just be the voice of the company, they will also be the face. Customer context will flow through the data channel, making problem diagnosis and remedy much less cumbersome. Overall I think WebRTC-enabled customer service centers will benefit the consumer with highly personalized customer care. Companies will also benefit, using WebRTC-enabled customer service centers as a competitive advantage to drive customer retention and satisfaction.

Is there an application for WebRTC in the online games world?

With real-time voice, video and data capabilities, it seems pragmatic to think that the next generation of HTML5 games will take advantage of WebRTC to deliver the next-generation of online gaming experiences. Having the ability to plug sensing devices into the game and play through the data channel is an interesting thought. I could foresee being able to subscribe to 3D audio data from an online game to deliver an immersive audio experience. Similarly, it would also be possible to feed into a game contextual player information such as head orientation, and perhaps additional sensors could be included to add player heart rate and breathing patterns to augment the playing experience. For example if the player was getting to excited (fast heart rate, breathing, etc.) gameplay could be adjusted dynamically, and gameplay could be slowed down until the player calmed down. The possibilities with WebRTC and online games are numerous.

What’s next for Plantronics and its customers in regard to WebRTC?

For Plantronics, it is all about delivering devices and software that can easily integrate with WebRTC-enabled applications. We are diligently developing desktop and mobile WebRTC device integration solutions for our customers. Developers can download code at

Plantronics is continuously working with the major browser vendors and standards development organizations to ensure that Plantronics customers have devices that interoperate and integrate with WebRTC-enabled applications. Plantronics looks forward to seeing the 1.0 WebRTC specification solidified in the W3C (News - Alert) and implemented ubiquitously across all web browsers.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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