WebRTC Expert Feature

January 10, 2014

Happy New Year! Over 6.2B WebRTC Devices Forecast by 2018

In my holiday greeting this year, I said "Let 2014 be the WebRTC Year", the year WebRTC turns the corner, bringing new applications, enterprise adoption, and significant growth across markets.  I’d like to thank ABI Research for confirming that WebRTC is indeed a major trend, perhaps indicating that this is the year.  In the "Future of Voice and Messaging - WebRTC and Telco APIs" market analysis report just released, ABI Research is forecasting 4.7B (billion) mobile WebRTC devices by 2018. The report analysis concludes that the current lack of Apple and Microsoft support is counterbalanced by support from major carriers such as AT&T and Telefonica, infrastructure providers like Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson and a plethora of new WebRTC application providers.

In the report, ABI Research discusses the barriers to WebRTC adoption, focusing on the lack of support from Apple and the potential alternative offer of CU-RTC from Microsoft.  However, ABI Research concludes that both Apple and Microsoft will be persuaded to adopt WebRTC because of the huge market opportunity it opens.

ABI Research analyst, Sabir Rafiq said that, "WebRTC brings many opportunities; ABI Research believes major trends will start to form within the enterprise market with WebRTC. Companies will be willing to implement the new technology to aid productivity and reduce communication barriers within the workplace."

For those of us in the WebRTC community, this validation by a major research organization confirms what we have been saying: WebRTC is going to be a major shift in the communications marketplace and both Microsoft and Apple will ultimately decide it is their interest to actively join the party.  In a report last year, Disruptive Analysis forecast 4B total WebRTC enabled devices by 2016.  By combining the 1.5B PCs in that report with the 4.7B mobile devices in the ABI Research report, we come to a grand total of over 6.2B devices in 2018.  This is an amazing number and does not include televisions, cars, and other devices that are really computers with browsers and – wait for it – WebRTC.  Regardless of the source, the message is the same, WebRTC is real, and it is going to be huge.  The identification of enterprise WebRTC apps is certainly in keeping with what we are seeing from all of the major enterprise vendors who are planning for WebRTC deployments on their platforms.

I guess my Happy New year came on January 10th, not the 1st.  While we will have to wait to see if 2014 is the year where WebRTC turns the corner, the corner is now clearly visible.  I sincerely believe that the market is beginning to realize that WebRTC is a big thing...6.2B devices can't be wrong.

Edited by Blaise McNamee
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