Forecast: More than Six Billion WebRTC-Enabled Devices Expected by 2019

WebRTC is a fast-emerging standard which allows voice and video communications to be added to Web sites and mobile apps, without a standalone phone or videoconferencing service. According to a new report from Disruptive Analysis, by 2019, there will be two to two-and-a-half billion active users of “embedded” communications worldwide, spanning consumer, enterprise and even “Internet of Things” applications. 

Already supported by numerous major Web, telecoms and IT firms, the recent announcement by Microsoft about integrating the related ORTC technology with Internet Explorer and Skype, gives it even wider reach. Existing well known services that use WebRTC include Google Hangouts, SnapChat and Amazon’s Mayday help button. Other “live” deployed use-cases include corporate conferencing and collaboration platforms, as well as contact centers.

“WebRTC is the most important new communications technology of the decade, said Dean Bubley, author of the report and director at Disruptive Analysis, in a statement. “It is already enabling developers to create a broad array of communications-enabled consumer and business applications. More than six billion devices will be WebRTC-capable within five years”. 

By the end of 2019, more than a billion people will be regular users of WebRTC, through their day-to-day calling, social network or enterprise applications. Another billion or more will use the technology occasionally, for example when using online help on Web sites, or if invited to collaborate with clients as a “guest” on their communications systems. In other words, more than half of all Internet users will encounter WebRTC in some fashion.

The telecoms operator sector is also embracing WebRTC in several ways. Some telcos and vendors have focused on integrating it with traditional core systems and services like IMS and VoLTE. Others are pursuing more Internet and IT-type business models, aiming to compete in a much wider marketplace. Overall, carrier-driven WebRTC services could have as many as 500 million users by 2019.