OpenTok iOS SDK : Behind the Scenes

We’ve been working on this project for a few months and are pretty excited to showcase how it’s made and what it can be made to do. I’d like to share some stories that happened along the way.

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Live. In your app. Face-to-face on iOS

Today, we are changing the face of iOS applications.

With the introduction of the OpenTok iOS SDK, we are bringing the power, emotion and engagement of face-to-face video to legions of Objective-C developers and to the apps they build.

15 months ago, we started a journey towards making face-to-face video a first-class citizen on the web. Between our developer-facing APIs and our end-user-targeted plug-and-play applications, OpenTok has brought life to more than 40,000 websites.

From day 1, we never thought that OpenTok was limited to the web — the web was just a good place to start. Face-to-face is all about making digital experiences more human. And what’s more human these days than the fluid, physical interfaces to smartphone and tablet apps? They are the perfect complement to the increased engagement, emotion and connectedness that face to face video brings to the party.

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iOS Developer Contest

The OpenTok iOS SDK is now available! We’re kicking it off with a developer contest to see what kind of new, creative projects the community comes up with. Here’s some ideas to get you started:

  • Second screen coviewing
  • Video social discovery
  • Remote real-estate tours
  • Real-time hot or not
  • Video dating
  • Mobile customer service

The top 3 apps will each win an iPad 3.

All apps must be submitted by May 6, 2012 at 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time.

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Using video customer support on our launch day

When I tell someone that we make an API for video chat, I always ask, “Can you think of a use case?”

Every time, without fail, I get the same response: “So… like for video customer service?”

In practice, few companies we’ve spoken to get excited about video customer service. It’s hard to see what value video brings in most support scenarios. Do customers really need or want to see the person on the other end? Are customers comfortable on camera? Is it worth the overhead for reps to be manning a video support queue? We aren’t sure.

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Adobe LCCS abandons ship

Today, Adobe announced it will be end-of-lifing its LiveCycle Collaboration Services (LCCS) platform at the end of this year.

For developers and websites looking to integrate face-to-face video into their websites while avoiding the heavy lifting of building their own solution, our OpenTok platform and Adobe’s LCCS offering were the two leading Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) options. Now all the folks who chose Adobe – many of whom thought they were going with the “safe” alternative – are about to be left out in the cold.

At TokBox, business is booming. So how can it be that “changes in Adobe’s strategic direction” are moving them away from such a rapidly growing market?

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MashMeTV Offers Video Chat + Collaboration and More

When the OpenTok API was first developed, the team wanted to find partners that appreciated the ‘out of the box’ offering. Why plunk a Brady Bunch style video chat on a website when you can customize it to best suit your design needs?

Over the past year we’ve been fortunate enough to find those rebel-rousers that are willing to mix it up and push the limits. One of our newest partners, MashMeTV has really taken our mantra of pushing the limits to…well…the limit. And for that, we dub them App of the Week.

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Rise of the Hack

I didn’t know it could be someone’s job to attend hackathons. I hadn’t heard of a developer evangelist before, so a year ago when I stumbled across an opportunity to become one, I was drawn by its novelty.

The mission was to build a developer community from the bottom up by saturating the hackathon scene, gaining allegiance from the early-adopters, the enthusiasts, the hackers. The kind of people who geek out over a new JavaScript library, smother their MacBook Airs with stickers, and maintain wardrobes consisting primarily of startup t-shirts.

If the goal is to build a business on an API, were hackathons the place to start? I wasn’t sure. The tactic seemed so niche. But hey, if someone wanted to pay me to travel and build weekend hacks, that sounded fun to me.

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StartupBus Creates Interactive Busdaq Game

Last week herds of entrepreneurs loaded onto buses from the west to the east coast. Destination? SXSW in Austin, Texas. Hundreds of coders, designers, business folks, and rappers, spent 3-4 days cruising the U.S. roadways building unique start-ups along the way.

StartupBus had the unique challenge of needing to find a way to connect the fans at home with the companies being built during the trip. Their solution? Busdaq, an interactive stock market game for StartupBus. Players can buy and trade stock shares in the companies they think will be most successful.

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We’re headin’ to SXSW

The countdown begins! Only four more days until South By Southwest kicks off, the only event where the past year’s hottest music, film and technology intersect. This year our very own Ian Small, CEO of TokBox, will be participating on a panel at SXSW Interactive. So if you’ll be in Austin for the big event, we’d love for you to catch the session live. All the details are below and we hope to see you there.

Tuesday, March 13

3:30PM – 4:30PM

Social Media & Young Children: Our Kids’ Futures

With Christine Egy Rose (Founder, Scoot & Doodle Inc), Hayes Raffle (Interaction Researcher, Google Inc), Patty Chang (Co-founder, Scoot & Doodle Inc) and Svetlana Gous (Consultant/Educator)

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Startup Riot MAKE in Atlanta

This past weekend I got to travel down south for a pretty sweet event, Startup Riot MAKE. Startup Riot has been hosting a week-long expo/conference in Atlanta for the last 2 years as well as one in Seattle. This year they decided to add a hackathon into the mix to warm people of for the upcoming week of festivities. The hackathon is called MAKE, and thats exactly what these hackers intended to do. No BS, its time to make something awesome.

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