OpenTok on WebRTC: Offering the technology of tomorrow, today

I am very excited today to announce our first major product release since being acquired by Telefónica Digital (@tefdigital) only two weeks ago.  While we’re not in the habit of tooting our own horn, we’re pretty darn pleased with this release and what it means for the future.

Today we are releasing OpenTok on WebRTC, the first solution for developers that brings high quality face-to-face video straight out of the box to Google’s Chrome 23 and, perhaps even more of a breakthrough, the first to support WebRTC on iOS.

This newest release of OpenTok leverages WebRTC and native websockets,  and marries high-quality audio/video with our own high-performance and highly scalable Rumor messaging framework, It does this at the same time as reducing client weight and driving faster connection startup times. You can experience it firsthand here.

What does all this mean? As a developer you can use OpenTok to take advantage of WebRTC on laptop and desktop machines as well as in native iPad and iPhone applications.  And your applications can freely interoperate across device and browser boundaries. It will run faster and deliver higher quality video.

If you’re an existing OpenTok developer, and your codebase uses our basic features, it’s extremely likely your application can be WebRTC-powered simply by changing the client library to which your code points.  No muss, no fuss, no bother at all.

Being the first to bring you reliable and scalable WebRTC solutions has long been our goal. In fact, two years ago, when we were building the first version of OpenTok, we knew that Flash was just a stepping-stone.  We had a vision of a native HTML5 implementation of OpenTok that wouldn’t depend on downloads or the use of Flash containers.  We believed that new A/V and message transports would become available, and that our job was to keep bringing you those improvements as transparently as possible.

Today, our developer community gets immediate benefit from that strategy.

But there’s more to gain from OpenTok than just WebRTC support.  Over the last two years, we’ve learned a lot about what developers need when connecting two or more browsers together with face-to-face video.  And we know that while WebRTC delivers fantastic quality improvements over Flash, it just doesn’t provide the end-to-end functionality and service needed to deliver production applications by itself.

Just as we started planning two years ago for today, we are already planning for the future. We expect industry adoption of WebRTC to expand; we’ll be adding support for OpenTok on WebRTC as fast as we can.  We also expect the number of devices and endpoints to continue to grow, and as that happens you can expect to see us there as well.

So while we’re proud of today’s launch, it’s just the first step on our march into a post-Flash world, and I want to take a moment to reflect and also thank you.

We’ve been on quite a journey.  There have been plenty of breakthroughs and successes – such as today’s announcement – and there have been some tough times, for which we apologize.

Through it all we never forget that we started life as a direct-to-consumer service so we know the challenges and pressures you face.  Our job now is to make face to face video easy for developers, no matter what the use case, device or last mile connection. Solving this problem has required the building of a platform and operating a service, not simply delivering a server or publishing a standard.

And there is plenty more to come. I’m more sure than ever that if you need face-to-face video in your application, OpenTok is the way to do it.  Because as the industry grows, and adoption grows, we remember our roots and we are mindful of the challenge. We are committed to staying one step ahead so you have no surprises or unnecessary disruption worries. We’re getting better every day and the next six months are going to be full of awesome (or as we like to call it around here, some genuine awesometicity).

Back to today. With OpenTok on WebRTC, we are taking our platform and service to the next level.  We are increasing audio/video quality.  Increasing standards compliance.  And with iOS, we are continuing to push the envelope of what is possible.  I really encourage each of you – whether you’re just experimenting with OpenTok, or are already in production with us – to give it a try.  Get started here.