TokBox – now a Telefónica Digital company

Same great Platform, same great team, great new owners.

I have some great news to share with you – TokBox has been acquired by Telefónica Digital (@tefdigital), an ambitious, innovative global communications company. We’ve gotten to know Telefónica over the last couple of years as they have experimented with OpenTok — and with our push into mobile this year, that relationship has heated up.  As we put our heads together and looked at where we each think communications is going, we’ve decided that teaming up is the best way for us to deliver on our game-changing vision.

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TokBox @ the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon

This past weekend (September 8-9), TechCrunch held the 2012 Disrupt Hackathon at The Concourse at San Francisco Design Center.  It was an amazing event, featuring over 150 projects on Saturday and Sunday.

Hackathon

TokBox was one of 17 sponsors for the Hackathon, where 151 teams spent 24 hours through Saturday and Sunday working on projects with as many APIs as they could.  Many prizes were on the line – from iPhone 5s to MacBook Airs to cold hard cash and a chance to present at the Startup Battlefield during the week, everyone was out in full force.  TokBox had 5 members building projects and networking with hackers and had a great time.  At final count during the presentations, they were 9 teams that built using the OpenTok API (including 2 in-house apps).  Some of the cool ones included:

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TokBox disrupts the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference

After getting some much-needed rest, there was much fun to be had at the actual Disrupt conference, featuring big names like Kevin Rose, Mark Zuckerberg, Jessica Alba, Michael Arrington and more!  Not only did we get enough shirts and shwag to represent a different startup for every day of the month, but we met some really cool partners, featured on the battlefield, and they were:

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Removing our Staging environment

The Staging environment of the OpenTok platform will no longer exist as of Wednesday, September 12. We are excited about bringing the quality, performance, and scale of our Production environment to all partners from their very first experience with the OpenTok platform.

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OpenTok+Filepicker =OpenTokPicker.com

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, Filepicker.io added new features that allowed users to record video directly from their webcam into their cloud storage using OpenTok’s standalone recorder. What a cool integration! I can now leave video messages for myself everyday.

That very weekend, I attended the box hackathon and met the very cool guys from Filepicker. After speaking with them, I realized that OpenTok’s archiving capabilities integrates snugly with their api, especially with the recent release of our stitching API. And just like that, OpenTok Picker is born.

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iOS SDK Enhancements: Now with 3G/4G support

Back in March of this year, TokBox launched a new SDK for its video platform that took the power of live, face-to-face conversations and brought them to the iOS platform (think FaceTime but as an API). This SDK has been essential to our ecosystem as it has helped our partners to create new iOS applications as well as bring new value into existing applications by adding live video. We’ve seen some fantastic use-cases take shape over the last few months. Some, perhaps obvious and others that are pushing the limits of new video use-cases.

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Redefining Work Hackathon by Box

As mentioned in previous blog, we are proud to be sponsoring a Box Hackathon, called Redefining Work. Over the past weekend, we got to live it and it was AWESOME!

For pictures, look at our facebook page. We took pictures throughout the entire hackathon!

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TokBox builds it’s own internal messaging infrastructure.

At Tokbox, we believe in providing a high quality video experience by constantly upgrading our server infrastructure. In that interest, Tokbox built it’s lightweight, scalable, raw socket based messaging framework called Rumor.

One might wonder why OpenTok needs its own messaging infrastructure, being a video streaming API. The concept of an OpenTok session is similar to that of people in a room (session) talking to each other (publisher and subscribers). When someone new enters the room, those already there acknowledge their presence. Similarly, when a new client comes into an OpenTok session, the current participants are unaware of that client’s presence until they’re notified by the server that someone else has joined. Along the same lines, any actions performed by that client (such as publishing their camera) need to be relayed via the server to all the other participants on that session. Not only is it important to be assured everyone gets these messages, but it also needs to happen in a timely manner. This is where our scalable messaging architecture, Rumor, comes into place.

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Single-file archive? Yes, you can!

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.

Stitching

The archiving API allows developers to record video streams in an OpenTok session. These archives can be played back, or you can download the individual streams.

It turns out that downloading the individual streams does not make sharing very easy. If you recorded a conversation between two people for example you will end up with two FLV files.  It would be much nicer if the two video files could be combined into one, so the resulting single video can easily be shared and played back.

This is where the stitching API comes in to play. Stitching allows you to combine an archive with up to four individual streams into a single MP4 file that can be played back in the HTML5 video player of your choice. Stitching individual videos is hard, but the stitching engine we built will time align all the individual streams, and mix the audio properly.

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A Peek Under the Hood: How OpenTok & WebRTC Make Nice

Today we released an early-access build of OpenTok in our labs which leverages a brand new controller stack along with WebRTC support for media transport. This is important for two main reasons.

  • First, our early access build fully supports an OpenTok peer-peer session using WebRTC under the covers This demonstrates an important principle we strive to provide—a consistent programming interface for application developers where the platform chooses the best underlying transport possible.
  • The second reason is the labs version of OpenTok on WebRTC demonstrates a fully non-Flash, HTML5 version of OpenTok.

With our iOS SDK, the JavaScript SDK and now the Labs version of OpenTok WebRTC, we are happy to be making progress towards our vision: to enable application developers to concentrate on what is important—building rich, compelling and fun applications that talk to each other.

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