WebRTC’s Biggest Winner is Amazon

April 22, 2014

Amazon is a definite winner when it comes to WebRTC, and it isn’t because of Mayday.


There are a lot of questions around monetization in WebRTC – what’s the market size of WebRTC (it is zero). And there are shifts in the ecosystem – latest one that I know of is Bistri focusing on developers.

Back to Amazon. Amazon is “best known” when it comes to WebRTC from its Amazon Mayday implementation: a video contact center solution embedded directly into its Kindle Fire tablets.

But is Mayday Amazon’s real monetization strategy for WebRTC?

Not really.

Dean Bubley sent out a tweet some time ago:

There are only 3-4 books today about WebRTC. The number of people who know WebRTC and purchase these books is probably in the lower thousands (I am being generous and optimistic here).

So that’s probably not how they make money out of WebRTC.

What does make them money is AWS. I’ve written before on why AWS is suitable for WebRTC and why AWS isn’t suitable for WebRTC. Most companies I interview and chat with about WebRTC tell me that they are using AWS in some way for their WebRTC service. About a half of the platform vendors I interviewed in my WebRTC API Platforms report are using AWS.

There’s a good reason for this – WebRTC makes the perfect sense for cloud based services, and Amazon is king of the cloud at the moment. Greg O’Connor wrote an interesting piece for GigaOm this week, about Bezos’ Law:

I’ll show the math below, but if Bezos’ law reflects reality, the only conclusion is that most enterprises should dump their data centers and move to the public cloud, thus saving money.

What is this important?

  • Telcos trying to play the WebRTC game will think boxes or private cloud implementations, missing the advantage that hosting on public clouds can bring. While I am not against on premise and private cloud hosting for WebRTC, I think there’s more benefit to roll out sooner rather than later and shift to private hosting later down the road if there’s reason enough
  • Incumbent vendors will miss the benefits of pure cloud plays, focusing on managed networks, private deployments and archaic concepts like SBCs. There’s a lot more to be gained by “going native” with WebRTC, riding the likes of Amazon AWS, Google App Engine or Microsoft Azure
  • Cost considerations of cloud deployments should take into account these pricing reductions we have seen for several years in cloud platforms. This means cost structure of cloud players will be far better than their on premise counterparts – and by that, making them more competitive and flexible to business model changes
  • Amazon is a safe bet if you want to host your WebRTC service. You can always think of switching, but somehow, I don’t think that many who started on AWS moved somewhere else

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