Chris Kranky

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WebRTC Market Size

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

Market-SizeI often get asked, “How big is the market for WebRTC?” I’m going to give you an answer ignoring the technology .vs solution article by Tsahi at this week. There are plenty of consultants who for a fee will conjure up a fancy report full of graphics, charts and grand language. I’m here to save you some money. Here’s the answer. $0 billion. What will it be in 5 years? $0 billion.

Before you get excited (or angry), I have more facts. How big is the market for web servers? It’s $0 billion (Microsoft extracts a small stream for IIS). How big is the market for node.js? It too is $0 billion. WordPress, the defacto CMS, used by 19% of all websites approaching 60 million websites. That must be quite a market. But nope, WordPress is a $0 billion business. Nonetheless these underpinnings are critical to the business of the Internet.

As Tsahi points out, WebRTC is a technology and you can take Notepad, a Chrome browser, a free Apache web server, free node.js and free WordPress and build your own “WebRTC” application in the freedom of your own home. How big a business could that be? Well that market could be a couple of billion.

Expand your radar and you start to see the market potential. WordPress may be free, but plenty of people make a business offering hosted services for it, hundreds of plug-ins & themes have a fee and there are thousands of programmers/consultants who make a nice living building WordPress websites and finally there are millions who depend on their content being displayed by WordPress to derive billions in revenue.

Asking the market size question about WebRTC is like asking how big is the market for HTML?

WebRTC is likely to follow a similar trajectory. Thus there will be a market for hosted capabilities, various extensions and add-ons, consulting services to build them and finally the services that use WebRTC. This total could quickly get into the hundreds of millions in annual revenues.

Be ready though, in 2014, we’re going to start to see some of the early WebRTC type companies disappear (meaning they go out of business). They were perhaps too early, executed on too much or not enough, ran out of money with no new investors at the ready and usually the fatal blow – not enough customer traction. A lucky few get bought for scrap. The rest will disappear beneath the waves.

This is the circle of life in technology upstarts. But, this also means that the 2nd wave is on the rise armed with the learnings of the corpses they pass as they move further forward on the beach. Guaranteed to be exciting.