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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New report published! WebRTC Market Status & Forecasts: The hype is justified: it *will* change telecoms

NEW! First major analyst study & forecasts for the WebRTC Market and Value Chain
Disruptive Analysis has been the key analyst company following WebRTC  since June 2011, only weeks after Google first open-sourced the key audio/video components for web browsers. Since then, WebRTC has featured prominently on this blog, in Disruptive Analysis research reports & consulting, conferences and in Future of Voice workshops.

The report is 160 pages in length, including detailed commentary, analysis, forecasts and over 50 tables and charts - and forms the cornerstone of ongoing coverage throughout 2013 and beyond. More than 70 companies involved in WebRTC products & services are discussed.

Key takeaways
- WebRTC adds easy, flexible voice & video into websites and apps
- Applicable across sectors: telecoms, consumer web, enterprise etc
- One of most disruptive web/telecoms innovations for years
- Extremely fast pace of evolution: weeks and months, not years
- Microsoft & Apple slow, but unlikely to cause major roadblocks
- 3bn capable devices & 1bn individual users by end-2016
- 50% penetration of PCs by end of 2013
- Smartphone & tablet WebRTC will ramp from 2H 2014 on
- PCs adopt WebRTC through browser; phones/tablets more complex
- Early use-cases for web calling, conferencing, e-learning & verticals
- Strong interest for UC, contact centres & IMS, but will take time...
- .... so telcos must start work now, to work through the issues
- Magnifies “OTT” threat for telcos, but also helps Telco-OTT
- Numerous “gateway” sub-types for vendors to target
- Peer-to-peer use of WebRTC to drive unexpected new web innovations
- Monetisation of WebRTC will be heavily use-case dependent
- Still early pre-standard implementation. Caution/patience needed
- But for once, the hype is justified

Disruptive Analysis is known for its contrarian stance on many technologies. Sometimes this is negative, and sometimes it is positive. In this case, it seems that the true scale and impact of WebRTC are being underestimated by many. While there is already a measure of hype around the technology, that is more “general buzz”, rather than a more forensic analysis of the potential implications on a sector-by-sector basis.

Over the years, we have been accustomed to seeing new features appear in our web browsers – streaming video, scrolling timelines, auto-completing forms, in-page IM chat and so on. Typically we think “that’s neat!” and start using it without much further thought. Soon, we see it crop up in all sorts of different websites – and also in hybrid native/web apps on our smartphones and tablets.

The next feature is realtime, high-quality, voice and video communication. It will extend beyond standalone “calls” that are typical of today’s VoIP services and telephony. The “bare-bones” flexible nature of WebRTC means that developers will not be constrained by the user interaction types or business models or the past.

While WebRTC still faces some formidable challenges to perfect and standardise, it is displaying many signs that suggests that it is close to becoming an inevitable winner. There are no obvious deal-breakers on the horizon – even Apple’s much-trumpeted “no comment” position, or Microsoft’s rival CU-RTC-Web proposal, have workarounds, and are unlikely to be long-term obstacles.

The breadth of companies involved – including Google, Ericsson, Cisco, Telefonica and AT&T – spans both traditional telecoms, enterprise communications and the web. We will see web access added by telcos, for example for IMS access from the browser. And we will also see realtime voice and video communications added by to the web inside social networks, or allowing informal “call centre” functions on normal websites.

But the aspect that impresses Disruptive Analysis the most is the sheer speed of development. Imaginative prototypes, demos and early commercial offers are appearing, even before the standards are finalised. Problems are being resolved in weeks or months, not years. Unlike most telecom-only solutions, developer interest seems to be accelerating, fed by Google’s evangelism and WebRTC’s appearance on the list of cool new additions to HTML5.

To those in the industry, it is easy to forget that it is still “early days”. The first public, mainstream support of WebRTC in browsers is only a few months old. By the end of 2013, the picture should be very different indeed, with much greater clarity about different OS and browser support, and the first “stars” of the new technology starting to coalesce.

This report is an attempt to bring together an analysis of the key strategic issues, make some bold predictions about major milestones, and put some first-cut numbers on this nascent industry. Disruptive Analysis will be covering WebRTC on an ongoing basis, and will be issuing updates to subscribers on a quarterly basis, as well as commenting regularly through Twitter (@disruptivedean & @DApremium), the Disruptive Wireless blog, and various events including WebRTC Expo in June 2013

Contents pages are here

To buy one-off reports please either pay online by card/Paypal using the links below, or email information AT disruptive-analysis DOT com to arrange payment via purchase order + invoice.

Reports will usually be delivered within 24 hours as PDFs by separate email.

Also available on request (please contact via email)
- Annual subscriptions, including quarterly updates to forecasts, company trends & market status
- Private internal workshops on WebRTC strategy
- Roadmap for Voice public workshops, including WebRTC

WebRTC report (PDF) 1-3 users

WebRTC report (PDF) Corporate Licence


Davide said...

WebRTC support may grow quickly as it will be embedded in browsers, which are automatically updated. But how quickly will apps be developed on top of it?

Dean Bubley said...

Well, there were about 200 developers at the pre-workshop at the November conference in SF. Since then there's been a bunch of hackathons, and a small but growing number of existing commercial services.

Should be 10x more WebRTC apps or websites than RCS apps by end-2013, and probably 100-1000x by end-2015 I'd guess conservatively.