Real-Talk August: A Spotlight on Live Video and Real-Time Communications

real-time communications industry news wrap august 2018

Welcome back to Real-Talk, where each month we bring you the hottest news, views and developments in the world of live video, WebRTC and real-time communications.

This month’s news was all about group video. WhatsApp rolled out 4 person video chat; Facebook introduced a feature that lets groups watch videos together; and Apple came up against the challenges of building multi-party video announcing delays to group FaceTime. In other developments, the combination of AR and live video is poised to transform communications across industries, and of course some big news of our own!

Vonage Moves into Video with TokBox Acquisition | No Jitter

UCaaS provider Vonage this morning announced it has acquired TokBox, a Telefonica subsidiary, for $35 million in cash. As one of the leading WebRTC video API providers, TokBox will complement Nexmo, Vonage’s communications platform as service (CPaaS). In May 2016, Vonage acquired Nexmo to move into the CPaaS market. Nexmo’s strengths lie in the areas of calling, SMS, and social messaging, with no video capabilities whatsoever. But with video, particularly mobile video, increasing in popularity given the simplicity of consumer applications such as Apple FaceTime, Vonage was left with a hole in its CPaaS portfolio. TokBox fills the video void, and enables Vonage to address a wider set of customer needs…read more

Facebook’s ‘Watch Party’ rolls out to all, letting Groups watch videos together | TechCrunch

For the past few months, Facebook has been testing something it calls “Watch Party”. It’s a feature that would let Facebook Groups host shared video streaming sessions, with everyone in the group being able to see/comment on the same videos at the same time. Take the Facebook Live concept and swap in a queue of pre-selected videos to make a sort of ad hoc video channel, and that’s a Watch Party. Today the company is rolling the feature out to all Facebook Groups…read more

Augmented Reality Plus Live Video Means A Big Impact On Communications | Forbes

A wave has been building around augmented reality (AR). AR opens up a new paradigm that enables the physical reality around us to be overlaid with rich contextual information in a way that was previously not possible. The combination of the live video and AR waves is going to unlock some of the most exciting breakthroughs for organizations as they aim to provide a richer and more engaging experience for their customers. Here’s how…read more

This medical pioneer trains digital doctors with AR and VR | ZDNet

Dr. Shafi Ahmed is a practicing cancer surgeon who specializes in laparoscopic, or keyhole, colorectal surgery. In his words, “that’s kind of my day job. Dr Ahmed is also co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Medical Realities, a company that uses virtual reality and other immersive technologies to “solve big problems in surgical training. He explains how AR and VR are transforming the way future surgeons and healthcare professionals are being trained…read more

WhatsApp now allows group voice and video calls between up to 4 people | TechCrunch

WhatsApp has added a much-requested new feature after it began to allow users to make group voice and video calls. Callers can now add friends by hitting the “add participant” button which appears in the top right corner of their screen. The maximum number of participants is four and, impressively, WhatsApp said the calls are end-to-end encrypted…read more

Apple delays FaceTime group chats from iOS 12 to a ‘future software update’ | The Verge

Apple is delaying its FaceTime group chats feature. While FaceTime group chats were originally scheduled for the iOS 12 release, developer Guilherme Rambo has revealed the feature has been removed in the latest iOS 12 beta 7 release today. “Group FaceTime has been removed from the initial release of iOS 12,” reads a note from Apple to developers, posted by Rambo. Apple says the feature “will ship in a future software update later this fall.”…read more

CMS Proposes More Medicare Reimbursement for Telehealth |

The federal government is once again moving toward acceptance of telehealth and remote patient monitoring with new rules on how Medicare reimburses providers for their use of connected health technology. The Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services’ proposed 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and Quality Payment Program, unveiled this week, opens the door to more remote patient monitoring services by reimbursing for certain mHealth services. The proposals, included in a 1,500-page document, would also benefit providers who want to use mobile health technology to confer with a patient on whether to schedule an in-person visit…read more

If you’re interested in seeing how real-time communications and live video can be used in your business, check out our Industry pages for inspiration and case studies.