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What the App Development World Can Teach WebRTC Coders

August 14, 2014

There are a lot of opportunities for WebRTC developers, but there also will be a lot of failed businesses along the way.

A recent article by Tsahi Levent-Levi makes an interesting comparison between app development and WebRTC, arguing that developer tools and helping others build WebRTC implementations is the most likely way to turn a profit from WebRTC, while offering a WebRTC service directly consumers might be a lot more iffy of a proposition.

“There are a lot of similarities between the WebRTC ecosystem and what is happening today in the mobile app economy,” Levent-Levi noted. “As the mobile app economy has a head start of a few years, we can deduce from the progress made there of how the future of WebRTC might unfold.”

App development revenue models are suggestive of how WebRTC developers might make money. According to Vision Mobile, the app developer revenue models that are most popular, by popularity, include contract work, in-app ads, paid downloads, in-app purchases, freemium, and subscriptions.

While contract work is the most popular revenue model, it also has the second lowest probability of losing money. Paid downloads, however, are the least successful revenue model. One of the lowest-risk and most successful aside from contract work is providing services that app developers can resell.

If app development is any indication, this means that helping others with WebRTC projects is one of the surest ways to make money from the technology.

“Contracting your developer skills to others who need WebRTC development done has a low probability of making a loss,” suggested Levent-Levi. “I’d add that it is in high demand and low supply if you ask LinkedIn for WebRTC skills.”

Further, those who think they can turn a profit by developing a new killer unified communications service by using WebRTC might have a tough slog ahead of them. There are and will be many such services, and rising above the others to turn a profit will be tough.

Better to develop WebRTC tools.

“Making money from communication is hard,” noted Levent-Levi. Tools, on the other hand, are hugely popular. And if the app development world is any indication, there are plenty who are willing to buy WebRTC tools that help them roll out the next great communications service.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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