In April, we announced updates to our pricing and packaging, which allows TokBox customers to have more flexibility with the ability to add-on features a la carte to their accounts. With this in mind, we’ve been hard at work over the past couple of months to make our entire user experience more flexible and allow users to have more control in configuring their OpenTok projects.
Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve made several improvements to the Account Dashboard, which provides users with more self-service functionality. These updates will make it faster for users to configure their OpenTok projects and make quick changes, and to gather critical information on the add-ons they have access to.
Here’s a summary of the changes we’ve made:
Self Serve Project Management
Many of our customers have selected advanced features, such as AES-256, China Relay, and Regional Media Zones to add-on to their accounts. To make it easier to configure these features for specific projects and enable / disable them, we’ve added the ability for users to make these project-specific changes right from the Account Dashboard. This alleviates the extra step of having to go through our support team to get them setup with a feature, and the flexibility of enabling add-ons for specific projects.
Video Codec Selection
The OpenTok platform supports two popular video codecs – VP8 and the H.264. A video codec has two parts, an encoder and a decoder. It has the ability to encode (compress) incoming digital video frames from a webcam into a stream of binary data that can be sent over a network. It also has the ability to ingest a stream of binary data and decode (decompress) it into a flow of raw video frames that can be displayed on a screen.
The VP8 real-time video codec is a software codec. It can work well at lower bitrates and is a mature video codec in the context of WebRTC. The VP8 codec supports the OpenTok Scalable Video feature, which means it works well in large sessions with supported browsers and devices.
The H.264 real-time video codec is available in both hardware and software forms depending on the device. It is a relatively new codec in the context of WebRTC although it has a long history for streaming movies and video clips over the internet. Hardware codec support means that the core CPU of the device doesn’t have to work as hard to process the video, resulting in reduced CPU load. The number of hardware instances is device-dependent with iOS having the best support.
Across the ecosystem of devices and browsers that OpenTok supports, there are varying levels of support for the VP8 and H.264 real-time video codecs. Some endpoints support both video codecs, and some just support one video codec (ie Safari only supports H.264). Depending on the type of application you’re building and the types of browsers and devices your end users will use, your choice of preferred codec will change.
With this in mind, we now support the ability for users to select which codec to assign as their preferred codec for a particular OpenTok Project. Depending on the end-points that customers want to support the preferred codec can be modified accordingly.
Our platform supports two separate server environments, the Standard Environment and the Enterprise Environment. The Standard Environment provides early access to new features and a more frequent release cadence. The Enterprise environment offers a separate cloud environment, SLAs, and a predictable release cadence, and is accessible to customers with the Enterprise plan only.
We now support the ability for customers to configure which environment they want to configure for their specific OpenTok projects, providing additional flexibility. This allows Enterprise customers, for example, to have some projects on the Enterprise environment and move some projects to the Standard environment, giving them the ability to test and access to features early.
We’ll continue to listen to customer feedback and make enhancements to our Account Dashboard to provide an elevated user experience. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.