Facebook & Live Video : Broadcast Will Never Be The Same Again

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“The big decision we made was to shift a lot of our video efforts to focus on Live, because it is this emerging new format; not the kind of videos that have been online for the past five or ten years” (Mark Zuckerberg, BuzzFeed)

This week Facebook introduced a suite of new add-ons to its Live feature that allows users to live-stream video. When Facebook announces a new feature, the world usually listens, or in this case watches. In the few months since Facebook Live was launched millions of live streams have been produced and subscribed to, from celebrities to chefs to everyday users.

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Introducing the Interactive Broadcast Solution

TokBox's Interactive Broadcast SolutionOver the last 5 years, we’ve helped hundreds of companies create rich and engaging applications with OpenTok powered live video and voice. Now, we’re bringing broadcasters and brands (who are now broadcasters too) unprecedented audience engagement with the launch of our new Interactive Broadcast Solution.

Until now live broadcasting applications have focused on one-way streaming. This works well for conferences or events. But now, Interactive Broadcast is the first solution to enable multi-­party panels, video-based audience participation, and an on-brand experience for website and application owners. The Interactive Broadcast Solution gives broadcasters the tools they need to bring user-generated content and viewer-participation content to both online and TV audiences.

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Can Meerkat be more Snapchat than Yo?

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Hype used to be what every new app developer wanted, until it became a euphemism for flash in the pan. Meerkat and Periscope are so hot right now, as evidenced by the breathless fan boy bloggers and the equally breathless declarations of their death (in particular Meerkat’s).

This current iteration of native mobile live video streaming has captured the attention of the media and also the general public. Is this a game-changing and sustainable phenom, or a flash in the pan?

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Google Helpouts wasn’t helping

helpouts-gGoogle shuts down plenty of products. Reader, Glass, Talk, Wave. But the closing down of Helpouts gives particularly valuable lessons for those who are building WebRTC based applications and services for the always on ‘find an expert market’, of which there are many.

 While it’s clear that it didn’t get enough  traction and had some monetization issues, the real question is why? In healthcare in particular there is a large and growing world of people for whom video communications, powered by WebRTC, is a critical lifeline (literally).  This is a world that includes housebound cancer-patients, the blind, recovering drug addicts, time-constrained parents and their community of carers, and healthcare practitioners. A recent report cited 89% of healthcare executives that said they expect telemedicine to transform the U.S. healthcare system in the next decade, with the number of patients using telehealth services growing to 7 million in 2018, up from 350,000 in 2013.

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Announcing end of support for v2.0 OpenTok.js library and v2.1.7 iOS SDK

opentok_logoIn our previous post about packing more punch into the OpenTok platform we talked about a new release cadence and support policy.  In order to improve our users’ experience of the OpenTok platform, we will now provide support for the current and previous versions of the client libraries.

As a quick follow up to this, we’re announcing the first set of client libraries that we will no longer be supporting.

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Packing more punch into OpenTok

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We’re moving the OpenTok Platform to a new release cadence – less frequent with more punch.  We’ve made a few significant decisions about how we’re going to release and support client updates in the OpenTok Platform, and, as these changes go live, we wanted to keep the OpenTok community properly updated.

  1. Quarterly releases
    Over the life of the OpenTok Platform, we’ve moved from weekly to bi-weekly to monthly releases. When the Platform only had web-based clients, it was possible for us and (some of) our partners to move this quickly.

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Announcing the end-of-life of the OpenTok 1.0 platform

LogoOpenTokCome November, it will have been four years since we launched the OpenTok platform into the world. Can you believe it? During that time technology has evolved, market demands have shifted, and mobile has become king. As your ambassador to real-time communications, we’ve stayed on top of that ever-changing ecosystem.

That’s why we have some important news to share with you – The OpenTok 1.0 platform will no longer be supported as of January 5th, 2015. It was a hard decision to make as the TokBox team and you – the OpenTok community – have dedicated so much time and energy to building on top of it.

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Introducing Dynamic Frame Rate Controls

artificial intelligence. Image shot 2008. Exact date unknown.Today we’re announcing new Intelligent Quality Controls in the OpenTok platform. To catch everyone up, Intelligent Quality Controls are the features and enhancements we’re developing to make sure that each participant in a video call has the best possible experience.

Update (Nov 25): Developers, check out our new blog post that provides details on using dynamic frame rate controls.

You may recall that over the summer we launched traffic shaping for the audio-only fallback feature. This feature drops video in low bandwidth situations to prevent a participant with poor QOS from dragging down the video quality for everyone else. Essentially, we built the automatic (video) mute button for “that guy on his cell phone in a convertible!”

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Mantis Now Launched to Production

In April we announced our new Mantis multi-party infrastructure for Web RTC was available for pre-production trials. Since that time, hundreds of customers have logged minutes against our new infrastructure, powering multi-party OpenTok calls around the world.

We’re seeing customers connect foreign language students from across the world, build classrooms of sizes well past what off the shelf WebRTC could support, and experience more stability and quality in their multi-party conversations.

You could consider Mantis to be a media router,  but in reality it is so much more than that. As the OpenTok platform grows and evolves to better solve the use cases our customers are building, the Mantis infrastructure is going to allow us to deliver a level of quality (starting with our traffic shaping algorithms that we released in June), product enhancements (such as archiving), and other capabilities that will take WebRTC to a new level.

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Adding Signaling to OpenTok – Enabling Application-Level Messaging

Signaling - Melih's postToday, we’re really pleased to be introducing application-level signaling for our WebRTC implementation of OpenTok across both Web and iOS platforms.

Over the last two years, OpenTok has continued to break ground as a live video platform.

As we’ve watched use cases evolve from basic social chat all the way up to supporting complex customer support calls, we’ve also discovered that partners need more than just live video communications – they need a way to orchestrate and communicate between the application endpoints.  So today, we are exposing our signaling layer to OpenTok 2.0 developers so that you can piggyback on the distributed, scaled infrastructure that’s been proven to work over the last two years.

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