Ecosystem Shifts: How Bistri is Changing Course from Social Networking to an API Platform

April 18, 2014

Bistri, one of the earliest entrants to the game of WebRTC, is shifting its focus towards developers.

WebRTC ecosystem shifts

Modified my slide to accomodate Bistri

When I published my latest report about WebRTC API Platforms, I got several queries from additional vendors that wanted to be included in my analysis. Bistri is one such vendor. While the rest of the vendors were more likely choices, Bistri didn’t make a lot of sense to me: you see, I’ve interviewed Bistri here more than a year ago. Here’s what Arnaud said the service is about:

Bistri simplifies the way we communicate and share things online, with good privacy control.

Nothing in that interview was around developers or WebRTC APIs, at least not explicitly. So it intrigued me when I talked to Arnaud again about their work with and for developers and how their platform is shifting course towards becoming an API platform for developers – one that I will definitely need to include in my update for the report.

In my talks about the ecosystem around WebRTC, I have a slide explaining these shifts – the direction vendors take and then retake in their trials of finding monetizable opportunities around WebRTC. Amir Zmora explains it best in his latest post about the value of voice going down to zero (source no longer available):

The value of voice as well as video, presence and messaging, is not in simply connecting such sessions but needs to be viewed in the context of the service in which it is embedded.

If you are trying to make money from WebRTC technology, then remember Chris Kranky’s market size estimate for WebRTC: $0.

And if you ask me, there are only 2 ways of making money from WebRTC:

  1. Become a successful tools vendor that closes gaps in WebRTC for other developers
  2. Find a use case / context that is monetizable irregardless of communications – and implement it using WebRTC

I hope Bistri all the best in this new effort, and if you are looking for an API to use for your WebRTC use case, then here are two additional suggestions:

  1. Get hold of my report on choosing a WebRTC API platform – I was told it is good (and it is still under discount for the next 2 days)
  2. Check out Bistri’s developer portal – you might find it suitable for you (and this is one of the few not covered in my report)

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