Audio Fallback: Real-time Traffic Shaping with OpenTok

feature-optimizationAt TokBox, we aim to push boundaries and deliver the best possible WebRTC-enabled experience for application developers building face-to-face video applications. One of our guiding architectural philosophies has been to provide the right primitives for developers to build rich and powerful applications. In addition, we want to make sure we abstract the underlying nuts and bolts and enable the cloud service to dynamically react to changing environmental conditions (bandwidth, packet-loss, etc.) in order to deliver the best possible experience.

The multiparty stream routing component of the OpenTok platform is also capable of shaping traffic in real time. Let’s take a look at how this this capability delivers a significantly improved quality of experience for users.

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PennApps fall 2013 TokBox winners: Will Crichton, Dillon Lareau, Patrick Xia, and Philip Garrison

A few weeks ago on September 6, 2013, a thousand students congregated at UPenn from all over the world, laptops out and ready to code. It was one of the largest student run hackathon in history. Out of the thousand, 4 sophomore students from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) rose up to the top to win the “Best Hack That Makes Life So Easy” prize by Venmo, “Best Cloud-Connected Hack” prize by Microsoft, and our prize, “Best Use of TokBox API”.

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WebRTC and Signaling: What Two Years Has Taught Us

There’s a new digital version of an old analog joke that starts something like this: “Two WebRTC engineers walk into a bar to have a beer while they talk about signaling.”  The problem is that it’s the hotel bar at the Hotel California, and the punchline is that the engineers never get to leave.

Hardly a day goes by without another blog post about signaling and WebRTC.

Some people think signaling should be standardized; others think we already have the answer in SIP or REST. Some think that the lack of a signaling specification (beyond the need to support SDP offer/answer) is a huge gap in the WebRTC standard.

We think that leaving signaling out was the smartest thing that the key drivers of the standard could have done, for three reasons:

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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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Announcing New Pricing for the OpenTok Platform

OpenTok verticalOn October 1st, 2013 we will be launching new pricing for the OpenTok platform.

We are updating our pricing to reflect the cost of operating the OpenTok Platform on WebRTC versus older versions of our platform.

Using WebRTC technology, live video streams are commonly delivered at several times the data rate of a Flash video chat stream. Simply put, WebRTC consumes a lot more bandwidth than Flash, which can affect our operating costs. While WebRTC is a free and open-sourced standard, it doesn’t include the back-end infrastructure required to operate a live video communications application in the real world.

That’s what we provide with OpenTok – a global platform that offers the advanced features, capabilities, and back-end infrastructure that make WebRTC viable for commercial applications.  We believe that our new pricing structure fairly reflects our underlying delivery costs while delivering terrific value for our customers and partners.

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Proof: the rise and rise of WebRTC

webrtc iconWebRTC is clearly a hot topic. But in an effort to discover just how hot we conducted what we think is one of the largest global surveys of its kind. Today, we are pleased to share the results with all of you in the TokBox and greater WebRTC community.

The study, which analyzed responses from 1,161 people across 11 countries, found rapidly emerging interest amongst larger organisations (1,000+ employees), and also found rapid WebRTC adoption amongst smaller companies (fewer than 500 employees) where more than one in four (27.1%) developers say WebRTC is already critical to their work.

Some of the other key findings:

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Welcome Chrome for Android – Now part of our WebRTC family

chrome for android logoWe’re incredibly pleased to announce that OpenTok on WebRTC supports Google’s just-released Chrome 29 for Android. This brings Android support formally into the OpenTok on WebRTC family, and is a big step forward in increasing the number of WebRTC-ready endpoints in market.

We’ve been working with the Chrome for Android beta builds over the last few months, making sure that OpenTok on WebRTC works properly – and transparently – in that environment. In fact, attendees at WebRTC Expo in Atlanta saw us demonstrating OpenTok applications running in Chrome on Nexus tablets at the beginning of the summer.

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What was included in Chrome 29 on Desktop and Android release

Chrome-logo-2011-03-16Lots.

The capabilities of WebRTC in the Google Chrome browser continue to grow, and some pretty major bugs are squashed. The biggest news for us at TokBox is that Chrome for Android now supports WebRTC out of the box without needing to enable a flag. This expands the footprint of endpoints with WebRTC capability to include Android devices which is a great step forward.

Now, on to the details
Audio bugs
  • Fixed a crash that happens when audio capture is not properly initialized
  • Stereo playback in Mac
  • Set the default sampling rate to 44.1 kHz
  • Enable AEC, AGC, etc. on WebAudio inputs
  • Improved echo cancellation
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Layout Container – Auto resizing video elements in a container

layoutcontainerWhen building OpenTok apps, there might be cases where you would like the videos inside a container to automagically resize to take up the largest resolution possible within the boundaries of their container. With layout container, an open sourced library available on github, you can do exactly that.

Want to see a live app that uses this layout container? Check out OpenTokRTC! Try typing “/focus” and “/unfocus” in the chat box to see additional functionalities of layout container.

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WebRTC: Your thoughts requested

Hello TokBox Community,

We have a small favor to ask of you. We’ve pulled together a brief survey about WebRTC that aims to measure the current level of awareness, interest, and activity around the standard and we need your input:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TokBoxWebRTCSurvey

The results will be made public and will reveal:

  • The depth of WebRTC knowledge in the tech community
  • Which features/functionality are considered most important to you
  • How the tech community would like to see the standard develop over time

Added bonus? We’re raffling off five $100 Amazon gift cards to people that have completed the survey (you’re only eligible to win one). So take a few minutes, ponder what WebRTC means to you, and answer our survey. Thanks!

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