We’ve been asked this question many times from our customers and the answer was always the same, cost can vary. To help you navigate through all the variables read on…

How much WebRTC costs to my business?

Traditionally, Real Time Communications (RTC) were only possible through proprietary technologies that were optimized for enterprise level customers. Thus the price of such a solution is insanely expensive for a business that is just starting up. So naturally, we’ll be comparing WebRTC’s costs to the enterprize solutions. While WebRTC has some additional costs, they are nowhere near as expensive as other enterprise solutions.

In order to determine if WebRTC will be cost-effective for your business, we suggest that you consider the following questions:

  • How much does WebRTC currently cost your business (infrastructure, maintenance, customer support)?
  • How many of your customers cannot complete their sessions using WebRTC?
  • How much would a custom enterprise video RTC solution cost per session (as a service)?
  • How much would it cost to maintain an enterprise solution (infrastructure, maintenance, customer support)?
  • How much money are we making per client session?

In terms of pricing,

The Cost Cheat Sheet

A fast hack to start understanding the cost of deploying WebRTC for your business is to explore the Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions like http://xirsys.com/, which offers a-la-carte WebRTC hosting services. Another viable and a bit more costly solution is to use whole package services from SaaS businesses like tokbox or talky.

Check out their pricing http://xirsys.com/pricing/ and contact them for more details.

Talking with these providers will give you an actual, tangible cost for the third-party service. You can then easily break this out to per-session cost. But we are not over yet, we have to add up the cost of maintaining the infrastructure, read on…

WebRTC Infrastructure and Maintenance Cost

As a general rule of thumb we suggest that starting businesses use a PaaS or SaaS solution rather than trying to build and maintain a complete WebRTC infrastructure themselves.

In the case that you are considering to built your own infrastructure you need to factor in the DevOps costs which are significant and typically more than you can imagine. SysAdmin tasks, server maintenance, software updates, security, configuration of services, firewalls, redundancy implementation, backups and the list goes on. Setting up a TURN server is an ongoing process and the challenges involved cannot be underestimated.

On the other hand, with PaaS or SaaS solution, you get a better result for a fraction of the costs to built your own infrastructure. One thing that is always missed in comparing costs is the level of experience and those third-party solutions have accumulated. This experience eliminates all the child-bound problems and challenges you are bound to face when you have your own infrastructure. This factor has a direct impact to the rate of successful WebRTC calls that can been established, and thus raises revenue for you as you have less “missed opportunities”.

Another benefit to using a third-party solution is how fast it’ll get you to market. This cannot be stressed enough as a starting Business you don’t have lot’s of runway (money in the bank) and cannot afford to stay behind from competition.

When to switch from Third-Party to our own WebRTC Infrastructure?

That’s an easy one, as your business is growing and the bill from the third-party solution starts to raise, you’ll have a crystal clear picture of what that cost might be. You then can easily project that cost to annual and come with a number. If that number is significant enough to justify the 1 to 2 new hires of engineers whose exclusive job will be to build and maintain the WebRTC infrastructure for you then go for it…

For another take on WebRTC costs, take a look at the blog post we wrote on the issue last year, it’s still somewhat relevant.