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January 07, 2015

Ingate's Johnson: WebRTC Has 'Enormous' Potential


By Paula Bernier Executive Editor, TMC



Ingate President Steven Johnson is a well-known presence at ITEXPO events, at which the company both stages its own co-located events and participates in ITEXPO sessions. Later this month at ITEXPO Miami, Ingate will offer seminars on SIP trunking, unified communications, and WebRTC.


The company is best known for its enterprise session border controllers, which make it easy to deploy SIP trunks and UC applications. The Ingate SIParator is the name of Ingate’s E-SBC, a cost-effective solution that is interoperable with major IP PBXs and SIP trunking service providers. Placed at the customer edge, it provides secure firewall traversal, diagnostics, and security to simplify SIP trunk implementations whether over a managed connection or the public Internet.

Ingate also is a pioneer in the WebRTC arena, for which it has introduced the Ingate WebRTC & SIP PBX Companion, an OEM product for PBX and call center vendors. Bringing all the benefits and features of WebRTC to the enterprise SIP PBX and UC solution, it includes a WebRTC/SIP gateway, a SIP E-SBC, a firewall for security, and Ingate’s Q-TURN technology for quality assured video conferencing.

TMCnet recently interviewed Johnson about Ingate’s plans for ITEXPO Miami, his thoughts on recent developments in the industry, and his personal preferences and hopes related to communications.

In what sessions are you speaking at ITEXPO Miami and Ingate’s events this month?

Johnson: I am participating in several sessions at the Ingate SIP Trunking, UC and WebRTC seminars as well as part of the main program. In all cases, I will be speaking about the Ingate SIParator Enterprise Session Border Controller, the reasons that the SBC has become an integral and necessary part of any installation of SIP, and how the Ingate SIParator has made those deployments simpler and easier to install and maintain. The SBC is a device that everyone at ITEXPO should be familiar with and employ in their businesses. Today, the primary use of these devices is to enable SIP trunking. But soon the SBC may also support WebRTC and applications that use SIP in different and unique ways.

What are you looking forward to at ITEXPO Miami?

Johnson: The Ingate seminars on SIP Trunking, Unified Communications and WebRTC promise to have some great speakers and exciting content. This year there is an emphasis on case studies, which past audiences have requested. We have new speakers including some customers who will discuss the benefits of Ingate products for connecting different types of SIP hardware and for protecting networks from unwanted intruders. And our vendor/partners will have exciting news to tell about their deployments – highlighted by case studies and real-world experience.

Speaking of security, what does the recent trend toward high-profile network breaches tell us about digital security and what we need to do to protect our digital assets?

Johnson: All manner of digital security is becoming increasingly important. The headlines regarding credit card theft from major retailers is disturbing and calls for greater and greater protection of that sensitive information. But with the Internet of Things there is a new concern. For example with Internet-connected home thermostats, which sense when residents come and go from their homes, there is now a threat that thieves could hack those devices and determine the best time to break in. With webcams becoming more commonplace, there is opportunity for voyeurs to obtain that information. Security is now top-of-mind for many and it should be.

You mentioned video. Do you use video for business communications? Why and how often?

Johnson: In the last six months, since Ingate has had its beta version of the SIP WebRTC PBX Companion installed as part of our communications infrastructure, I have used WebRTC to easily enable video calls with my colleagues in Sweden. Now that I’m using it frequently I find it adds a useful dimension to the communications process, allowing me and others to discern the tenor of the conversation by body language in addition to voice. I think there remain some obstacles to everyone using it that are unrelated to technology, such as dressing up while working from home, office visual and audio backgrounds, but once we can overcome those distractions, video calling will be widely and aggressively adopted.

Let’s talk more about WebRTC. How is it enhancing communications today, and what is WebRTC’s potential in the longer term?

Johnson: The number of deployed and in-service applications may be relatively low today, but the potential is enormous. I have now seen many exciting applications for the protocol from ad-hoc desktop chats to remote medical diagnostics, to call center applications and some other ideas that are too early to discuss. I believe that WebRTC will be rolled out more aggressively in 2015 and that the productivity enhancements will be substantial.

How have technology innovations changed how you work in the past two years? What product had the greatest impact on your business?

Johnson: In the last two years WebRTC, as described above, has had the greatest impact on my working style. My iPhone has also resulted in a big change in work habits because now I get emails and voicemails delivered to a device that I keep near me during and after work hours, which means that I am always connected.

In terms of productivity, what is the most useful app you use on a regular basis?

Johnson: For me email is still the best app for business activity.

Which is the best mobile device on the market currently, in your opinion, and why?

Johnson: I have to say that the iPhone and the Apple tablets continue to win my vote for the best devices on the market, just from the standpoint of ease of use. With some apps that extend the office environment to the iPhone the pace of change from desktop phones to mobile devices is accelerating. When all devices support WebRTC from their respective browsers, then we will truly have a mobile workforce.

What is the one development you would like to see in the year ahead?

Johnson: Full support of WebRTC in Internet Explorer and Safari.

For more on all the latest technology and trends happenings, be sure to register to attend ITEXPO, the business technology event that brings together service providers, enterprises, government agencies, resellers, vendors and developers to demo, discuss and network all the latest innovations changing the marketplace. ITEXPO is being held January 27-30, 2015, at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami, Florida.   Stay in touch with everything happening at the event -- follow us on Twitter




Edited by Maurice Nagle
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