Last year TokBox introduced the OpenTok Interactive Broadcast API. Ours became the first platform to marry the real-time capability of WebRTC with the reach of HTTP Live Streaming (HLS). The Interactive Broadcast API is helping our customers build large-scale interactive video experiences including live online auctions, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), webinars, social apps and more.
Over the past 6 months we’ve continued to innovate in the broadcast space, pushing the boundaries of performance while ensuring massive scale. Today we’re proud to announce major enhancements to our Interactive Broadcast API.
In today’s increasingly fragmented digital world, the way fans consume and engage with sports content has fundamentally changed. While teams may still win the hearts of loyal fans, sporting organizations and broadcasters aren’t capturing their attention like they once did.
To win the hearts, minds and eyes of the new generation of sports fans – who are always online, on mobile and on social – broadcasters are leveraging live video to create all new interactive and participatory fan engagement experiences.
As global access to the internet continues to grow we find ourselves in an increasingly connected world. Never in our collective history have so many people had the ability to access so much information about what is going on in the world around them. This has led to an unprecedented rise in engagement with current events, especially amongst the young people whose voracious appetite to rant, debate and ‘be heard’ has fueled the emergence of so many social media platforms.
Why traditional broadcasters need to adapt, fast
Cable companies and television networks can’t take a trick at the moment. As if digital disruption and cord cutting wasn’t making life tough enough, now comes the rise of participatory broadcasting, the phenomena where viewers collaboratively interact while consuming content, and maybe even participate.
Still coming to grips with on demand and online/mobile viewing, traditional broadcasters must now find a way to provide immersive and engaging viewer experiences to compete with the likes of Facebook Live, Meerkat and Periscope.
The popular technology media would have us believe Flash is the worst technology flub since Windows Vista/Apple Maps. It is nothing but a giant security flaw and should never have existed. But pause for a moment and consider this – if it weren’t for Flash there would most likely be no Netflix, no Meerkat or Periscope, no YouTube, no Facebook Live.
You see, while these services may not have all been built on Flash originally, they all stand on the shoulders of the pioneering work Flash did around online video. So, while we’re all quick to celebrate its downfall and lament its many obvious flaws, let’s pause for a moment and remember that if not for the pioneers who inevitably make mistakes (Adobe with Flash perhaps more than most), there would be no progress.
Lately, we have been thinking and talking about broadcast in multimedia. By now, you might have seen that TokBox is powering applications that go beyond the contemporary one-to-one and small group settings that are typically associated with the current generation of WebRTC apps, to a much larger scale of hundreds or even thousands of people watching and participating in the conversation. At a glance, this might not sound particularly groundbreaking; video has been distributed to large audiences for years. However, a closer look is necessary: with a shift in the underlying technology, TokBox adds the option of real-time communication to the existing large-audience reach of broadcast video, to enable a whole new class of applications.
“The big decision we made was to shift a lot of our video efforts to focus on Live, because it is this emerging new format; not the kind of videos that have been online for the past five or ten years” (Mark Zuckerberg, BuzzFeed)
This week Facebook introduced a suite of new add-ons to its Live feature that allows users to live-stream video. When Facebook announces a new feature, the world usually listens, or in this case watches. In the few months since Facebook Live was launched millions of live streams have been produced and subscribed to, from celebrities to chefs to everyday users.
The evolution of live video has spawned new and engaging ways for brands, organizations and people to connect with their audience. Whether it’s participating in a team meeting held remotely, hosting a virtual conference for hundreds of people all over the world, demo-ing a new product to customers via a webinar, or broadcasting a live stream of an event, there is no question live video is now becoming a standard feature in any business or entrepreneur’s communication toolkit.