TokShow: Building a large scale video comms platform

There are a number of huge challenges being a platform company, as the product we build has to work under many conditions. One of those major challenges is the issue of scaling a realtime communications platform to support both one-to-one conversations and also 5000+ participant talk shows. Now some people might say “Doesn’t YouTube already let thousands of people view a video?” Yes, but the difference is that YouTube is about consuming and OpenTok is about face-to-face.

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IncuBox: Take your App from Beta to Blast-off!

TokBox Launches IncuBox, a Developer Competition for University Students. Team with the best app using the OpenTok API receives premium mentorship, ownership of IP, plus the opportunity to present to VCs

San Francisco, CA – December 5, 2011 – TokBox, the company behind the OpenTok video platform, today announced IncuBox, a competition giving student app developers the opportunity to receive dedicated tutorial and assistance bringing their app to market.

The team that submits the best app using OpenTok’s online face-to-face technology will be invited to work out of TokBox’s San Francisco headquarters for eight weeks. They will work closely with TokBox’s elite development team, product managers, marketing team and other key players responsible for creating the OpenTok API from the ground up.

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Introducing TokShow

Someone once told me that if your customers are forcing you to move so quickly that you’re constantly on the brink of crashing, you’re likely onto something big. I’m starting to believe that more and more with each day.

In the last two months the TokBox team has been moving at record speeds. We’re doing something right. In fact, I think we’re doing a lot right. The small pieces that we’ve been pushing on for a long time are starting to come together as we had imagined and hoped they would.

Most recently, we’ve been working on one of our newest plug-n-play apps, TokShow, which has been the cause of much of this craziness. TokShow allows musicians, politicians, celebrities or really anyone to host a live conversation with their followers on any web site. Think MTV’s old-school show TRL hosted by Carson Daly. Your favorite band takes the stage to field questions from the audience about their upcoming album or tour.

With TokShow, that type of fan and celebrity interaction is now possible online to the masses, not just to the crowd lucky enough to be in the studio.

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InTheRooms: Bringing Recovery Support into Digital Age

The world loves social networking; that’s a fact. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Path or Tumblr, folks are searching for ways to connect. Despite a wide breadth of options, Ken Pomerance and Ron Tannebaum identified a gap in the social network market back in 2008: there wasn’t a place for the recovery community to connect and provide support for one another.

That’s when they decided to launch In The Rooms, a social network dedicated to the global recovery community. Three years later, they’re revolutionizing the online recovery community again by introducing a fully interactive and completely authentic online AA and NA meeting format powered by OpenTok.

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SoreBums: Shifting Online Fundraising into High Gear

The face of fundraising has evolved. While telethons and toy drives are still popular, fundraising efforts have gone digital in recent years with the launch of organizations like Causes, Kickstarter and Crowdrise. SoreBums, a new OpenTok partner, is working to bridge the gap between real-world fundraising and the convenience of online efforts.

Built by NetEngine for The Employment Office, SoreBums is aiming to raise $20,000 for Diabetes Queensland. They’ve setup a stationary bike in their office that is being ridden continuously until their goal is met. Riders are streamed via a live webcam as they complete a 2,000km relay, taking turns at cycling 30-minute legs for 8 hours every weekday for 2 weeks. All of their blood, sweat and tears are captured via live OpenTok video streams.

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Eye of the Tigers

No, I’m not talking about the Rocky theme song here – I’m actually referring to the mascot at Princeton University, but now that you already have it playing in your head…

At TokBox we’ve travelled to dozens of Startup Weekend events but there was definitely a different type of hunger at Princeton Startup Weekend. Not many of these events get the chance to be hosted on a prominent university’s campus, with the leagues of inspired and creative students anxiously awaiting their opportunity to make a dent on the universe. It made the weekend exciting and fruitful for some of the future entrepreneurs that we met. I’d like to highlight some of my favorites here.

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Rolling.fm: A more engaging group listening service

In the past six months, group listening services have become hot destinations on the web. A common thread runs through all of them: listening with your friends is more fun than listening alone.

Avatars and text chat are the standard form of interaction within these apps.  What you might be missing is the live experience of enjoying music with friends: bobbing heads to the beat, busting out dance moves and belting out lyrics.

Meet Rolling.FM. Rolling.FM realized that when you’re listening to music with friends, you should be able to recreate the live experience. Now, in all of their rooftop listening rooms, you can do just that with Rolling.FM’s integration of OpenTok. What Rolling.FM has done really well is incorporate live video in a way that augments the experience, but doesn’t distract from the reason the service exists – to listen to music.

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Buzzumi: A fresh take on video chats and webinars

Today we’re launching our newest editorial venture, “App of the Week”. One kick-ass OpenTok powered app will be selected by the TokBox team each week to receive a little extra TLC . We’re excited to launch this effort with our inaugural AOTW, buzzumi!

Buzzumi enables anyone to create customized web-based video rooms for up to six people or webinars with up to 100 people.  Signing up for an account is free, but buzzumi also offers their users a way to make money through an incredibly simple PayPal integration.

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Downloading archives

Update: March 13, 2014 – Please note that this blog post references the archiving functionality in our OpenTok 1.0 platform. This feature is no longer being supported. Learn more about archiving using our OpenTok 2.0 platform.

A few weeks ago we were very excited to release our archiving feature to a wider audience. Now a video conversation is no longer a fleeting moment in time, but something that can be recorded and played back.

What we noticed however was that people wanted a bit more then just having the ability to record and play back archives. Our partners want to take ownership of the individual videos, to modify them, and to more easily share them with family, friends and their own end-users.

What to do?

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Hacking Hollywood

Man, these hackers in Hollywood sure know a good API when they see one (*cough*, OpenTok, *cough*). I’m kidding, but I am genuinely thrilled about the uptake of OpenTok at this weekend’s Hollywood Hack Day.

I arrived Saturday Morning at Ashton Kutcher’s office in West Hollywood for day one of the hackathon. I was pleased to see that there were lots of developers and chocolate chip muffins. I spent the first couple hours getting acquainted with both.

I had come to the event thinking I was going to hack on a jeopardy game. Janine Yoong, who was attending Music Hack Day in Boston, was conspiring with me to build a jeopardy game that would mash up APIs from both events, and that way we could submit the same app for two different hackathons, and win all sorts of prizes. It was a genius evil plot.

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