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WebRTC and Cloud RTC Platforms Report Predicts Growth, but Raises Questions

July 16, 2015

It is always interesting when new research reports are published to get some perspective on what industry analysts are looking at and thinking about. This is especially true in emerging market sectors. Thus, it was with more than mild interest that I looked at the announcement of a new addition to Research and Markets library, "WebRTC and Cloud RTC Platforms: In-App Communications - Second Edition". 

The good news for solutions providers in the space is that the report says the “WebRTC and Cloud RTC Platforms: In-App Communications - Second Edition”

market is expected to reach over $4.3 billion by 2019 equating to a CAGR of 57 percent over the forecast period. The more interesting observations come regarding the authors’ explanations of how and where that growth will emerge.

As someone who has been watching the development of Cloud RTC and WebRTC, it is hard to argue with the report’s analysis of Cloud RTC growth.  It is noted that: “Developer awareness and the opportunity for more contextual communications are two key factors driving the demand for Cloud RTC platforms, or platforms that enable developers to easily integrate communications into their apps. These platforms provide SDKs and APIs to mobile and Web developers that abstract away the complexity of telecommunications technology, simplifying access to messaging, voice, and video services.”

It also resonates that according to the report: “We believe competitors will either differentiate on reach and quality of service or richness of the client experience. Competition and demand is also driving platform vendors to quickly build out their offerings to provide a variety of services and features that enable developers with varying skill levels and requirements to benefit from Cloud RTC platforms.”

What is difficult to understand, given the above, is the following: “The WebRTC standard is still evolving and the industry needs greater consensus around signaling. More innovators are also required. Many developers are having trouble envisioning how to leverage communications in new ways within their apps. In some cases the technology may be ahead of the imaginations of app creators who are challenged to think beyond the traditional simple phone call.”

Image via Shutterstock

This seems to fly in the face of what is transpiring in the market.

First, the codec wars have been ended, and while there remain some kinks for developing WebRTC solutions and how those codecs are supported and transcoding is done, peace has and will prevail, i.e., signaling issues are disappearing as an obstacle.

Second, if hacks around the world are any indication, there hardly seems to be a problem with developer interest or in their imagining the utility of WebRTC.

Third, with Microsoft coming onboard with WebRTC friendliness, pardon the pun but the Skype is the limit. 

Fourth, telecom companies such as Orange, NTT Communications and Telstra already are out with WebRTC-based services and the notion that WebRTC is a foe rather than friend/compliment to communications service provider offerings clearly is a non-starter. 

In short, the report’s conclusion that in-app communications have great potential as witnessed by their own forecast, the closing statement seems contradictory. It observes: “With so many innovative use cases, we do not see single killer app emerging to drive rapid awareness and cultural shifts. Incremental innovation will provide steady but rapid adoption of Cloud RTC platforms.” In fact, real-time communications in-app/in browser is the killer application, and the goal is not awareness and cultural shifts but rather getting Cloud RTC and WebRTC to be taken as foundational, what I like to call “infostructure,” and thus hopefully soon taken for granted. 

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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