dRTC Network

dRTC Network

The High Cost of RTC(real-time communication) 📈

The High Cost of RTC(real-time communication) 📈

The High Cost of RTC(real-time communication) 📈

May 2, 2024

May 2, 2024

Huddle01 Team

Huddle01 Team


In the digital age, real-time communication (RTC) applications such as Slack, Zoom, and WhatsApp have become fundamental to our daily interactions. These platforms allow for instant messaging, video conferencing, and seamless collaboration across the globe. While the convenience and efficiency of RTC apps are undeniable, they are increasingly facing significant challenges related to the costs of data transfer and compute resources. As these apps scale, the expenses associated with cloud infrastructure can become overwhelming. This blog explores the escalating costs of running RTC apps in cloud environments, the impact on the industry, and potential solutions.

The Essentials of Real-Time Communication Apps

Real-time communication technologies enable immediate exchange of information through a digital interface, with minimal latency. Core features of RTC apps include instant messaging, voice and video calls, file sharing, and live broadcasting. These capabilities are crucial in various sectors including business for remote work, in education for virtual classrooms, in healthcare for telemedicine, and in games and metaverse for almost life-like interactions.

The backbone of these applications often relies on complex technology stacks like WebRTC for media exchange, signaling protocols for orchestrating connections. Cloud platforms commonly host these services, providing the necessary infrastructure such as servers, networking, and storage with the promise of scalability and high availability.

Cloud Infrastructure and Its Role

Cloud infrastructure currently plays a pivotal role in the deployment and scaling of RTC applications. Cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure offer frameworks that can to an extent handle the demand spikes typical of RTC apps. However, the dependency on cloud services comes with significant costs related to computing power and data transfer. Each video call, message, and shared file consumes bandwidth and CPU cycles, costs that accumulate rapidly with increased usage.

The Burden of Costs

The costs associated with running RTC apps on cloud platforms can be daunting. For example, consider the pricing models of major cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform. AWS charges for both the compute instances and the data transfer. As of late, the cost for outbound data transfer over AWS can start at $0.09 per GB after the first 1 GB each month, which is free. For RTC applications that include video streaming or extensive file sharing, this can result in substantial monthly charges. Google Cloud Platform has a similar pricing structure, with outbound data transfers starting at approximately $0.12 per GB for the first 1 TB each month.

In terms of actual usage, Zoom, a popular video conferencing app, experienced a dramatic increase in costs correlated with its surge in user numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reports suggest that at the peak of the pandemic, Zoom was running an estimated 3 million video conferences a day. Assuming an average data usage of about 540 MB per hour for a video call, the data transfer costs alone can be immense, not accounting for the compute and storage costs.

Looking at more specific statistics:

  • A typical RTC app with 100,000 daily active users engaging in one hour of video calls per day could be pushing 50 terabytes of data monthly. At AWS's standard rate, this would equate to approximately $4,500 per month just for data transfer.

  • If the same app also utilizes compute instances, such as an m5.large instance on AWS that costs around $0.096 per hour, running 100 instances for high availability and redundancy could cost about $220,800 annually.

Forecasting future costs, the global cloud computing market size is projected to grow from $371.4 billion in 2020 to $832.1 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.5% during the forecast period (source: MarketsandMarkets Research). This growth suggests that unless pricing models change, the cost of running RTC apps on cloud infrastructure will continue to increase, posing financial challenges for businesses, especially startups and mid-sized enterprises.

Impact on the Industry

High operational costs have a significant impact on both startups and established companies. Startups may find the costs prohibitive, which can stifle innovation and limit market entry. Larger organizations might pass these costs onto consumers, affecting affordability and accessibility, or may reduce service quality to maintain profitability.

These challenges could lead to a less competitive market, dominated by a few large players who can afford the steep costs, ultimately affecting consumer choice and innovation in the sector.

The Solution - dRTC (decentralized real-time communication)

As real-time communication apps continue to grow in importance, managing the substantial costs associated with cloud infrastructures is becoming a critical challenge. These detailed statistics and projections show that without an effective decentralized solution, companies may struggle to sustainably scale their RTC services.

At Huddle01, we’re building a decentralized physical infrastructure network (DePIN) to democratize digital connectivity, primarily audio and video conferencing. This decentralized, people-powered network will deploy and co-ordinate unused bandwidth resources from across the globe to enable seamless digital connectivity between users while saving upto 95% on server costs as compared to giants like AWS. Pay what you pay for internet, no insane data transfer cost in an open dRTC(decentralized real-time communication) market.

Learn more about Huddle01’s dRTC Network - the 1st DePIN for RTC: https://huddle01.com/network