The $55 Billion WebRTC Market by 20– Ten Years In, How We Got Here, Where We’re Going

Many analyst firms in 2019 have forecast continuing growth in a market that didn’t exist a decade ago, the “WebRTC” market. WebRTC, or web-based real time communications (voice, video, data, unified communications, unified collaboration and more) started as an industry initiative in 2010. Some are predicting a $55 Billion market by 2026.

WebRTC has a rich history, starting in 2010 with Google’s acquisition of On2 and Global IP Solutions.

On2 was a video codec company that Google bought in order to open source their assets, including a replacement for the H.26X series of VP codecs (patent-free).

A few months later, Google bought Global IP Solutions’ and open sourced their applications which simplified the development of VoIP and video calling applications, then relatively quickly removed all voice and video codecs with patent owners, adding a JavaScript API as the integration layer to web browsers.

A few months later, Ericsson Labs began experimenting separately with early WebRTC concepts and developed a streams API, and a month after that, the W3C and IETF joined forces to work on standardizing open infrastructure (protocols and APIs) to bring RTC interactive communications to web browsers.

A year after Google’s first acquisitions, in mid-2011, after a flurry of activity, the first WebRTC standards were published and Chrome 23 added support for WebRTC. It was in early 2013 that the movement started to really take off, which is when the company I was running at the time – GENBAND (now Ribbon Communications) – agreed to invest tens of millions in this technology, which served as the foundation for the Kandy business, which continues to flourish to this day including providing the basis for AT&T’s WebRTC marketplace as announced earlier this year.

Flash forward to today, and cccording to a new market research report published by Transparency Market Research the global WebRTC market is expected to reach nearly $55 billion by 2026, a CAGR of 17.9%

The global demand for WebRTC is expected to rise given applications in telecom, IT, e-commerce, and more, spurred on by the increasing quality of broadband and ultra-broadband with the advent of 5G networks with faster speeds leading to better quality, addressing historical challenges including jitter, delay, and synchronization required for error-free delivery.

With major players including Acano, Google, TokBox, Twilio, Avaya, Microsoft, Dialogic, Oracle, Quobis, TeleStax, Bandwidth and more, the ecosystem will continue to flourish. What made GENBAND and Kandy (now Ribbon) successful was an early decision to invest, along with the company’s ability to support Quality of Service for “better than best efforts” audio and video given hundreds of patents associated with session management. Security was another plus, given the increasing requirements for security of not only traditional data applications, but more non-traditional including voice and video. In today’s world of cyberattacks, no applications are immune and it’s more important than ever to deliver quality but not at the expense of security, and security but not at the expense of quality.

2020 will be another banner year for WebRTC and not only because of the technical improvements and better new networks but because of the creativity applied to so many valuable applications – in digital healthcare delivery, supply chain management, field service and thousands of IoT and Industrial IoT use cases as the need for people and machines to communicate grows given automation and augmentation.

Look for more embedded RTC solutions as more and more work will be done through web browsers and mobile web browsers, disrupting decades-old services from “Toll Free” 800 numbers to frustrating queues in contact centers. WebRTC makes it possible to reach a system or a human with one touch. The opportunity to improve outcomes while at the same time dramatically lowering costs is significant and will change forever how service providers compete in the new year, and new years ahead.