PennApps fall 2013 TokBox winners: Will Crichton, Dillon Lareau, Patrick Xia, and Philip Garrison

A few weeks ago on September 6, 2013, a thousand students congregated at UPenn from all over the world, laptops out and ready to code. It was one of the largest student run hackathon in history. Out of the thousand, 4 sophomore students from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) rose up to the top to win the “Best Hack That Makes Life So Easy” prize by Venmo, “Best Cloud-Connected Hack” prize by Microsoft, and our prize, “Best Use of TokBox API”.

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Adding Signaling to OpenTok – Enabling Application-Level Messaging

Signaling - Melih's postToday, we’re really pleased to be introducing application-level signaling for our WebRTC implementation of OpenTok across both Web and iOS platforms.

Over the last two years, OpenTok has continued to break ground as a live video platform.

As we’ve watched use cases evolve from basic social chat all the way up to supporting complex customer support calls, we’ve also discovered that partners need more than just live video communications – they need a way to orchestrate and communicate between the application endpoints.  So today, we are exposing our signaling layer to OpenTok 2.0 developers so that you can piggyback on the distributed, scaled infrastructure that’s been proven to work over the last two years.

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Proof: the rise and rise of WebRTC

webrtc iconWebRTC is clearly a hot topic. But in an effort to discover just how hot we conducted what we think is one of the largest global surveys of its kind. Today, we are pleased to share the results with all of you in the TokBox and greater WebRTC community.

The study, which analyzed responses from 1,161 people across 11 countries, found rapidly emerging interest amongst larger organisations (1,000+ employees), and also found rapid WebRTC adoption amongst smaller companies (fewer than 500 employees) where more than one in four (27.1%) developers say WebRTC is already critical to their work.

Some of the other key findings:

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What was included in Chrome 29 on Desktop and Android release

Chrome-logo-2011-03-16Lots.

The capabilities of WebRTC in the Google Chrome browser continue to grow, and some pretty major bugs are squashed. The biggest news for us at TokBox is that Chrome for Android now supports WebRTC out of the box without needing to enable a flag. This expands the footprint of endpoints with WebRTC capability to include Android devices which is a great step forward.

Now, on to the details
Audio bugs
  • Fixed a crash that happens when audio capture is not properly initialized
  • Stereo playback in Mac
  • Set the default sampling rate to 44.1 kHz
  • Enable AEC, AGC, etc. on WebAudio inputs
  • Improved echo cancellation
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Layout Container – Auto resizing video elements in a container

layoutcontainerWhen building OpenTok apps, there might be cases where you would like the videos inside a container to automagically resize to take up the largest resolution possible within the boundaries of their container. With layout container, an open sourced library available on github, you can do exactly that.

Want to see a live app that uses this layout container? Check out OpenTokRTC! Try typing “/focus” and “/unfocus” in the chat box to see additional functionalities of layout container.

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WebRTC: Your thoughts requested

Hello TokBox Community,

We have a small favor to ask of you. We’ve pulled together a brief survey about WebRTC that aims to measure the current level of awareness, interest, and activity around the standard and we need your input:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TokBoxWebRTCSurvey

The results will be made public and will reveal:

  • The depth of WebRTC knowledge in the tech community
  • Which features/functionality are considered most important to you
  • How the tech community would like to see the standard develop over time

Added bonus? We’re raffling off five $100 Amazon gift cards to people that have completed the survey (you’re only eligible to win one). So take a few minutes, ponder what WebRTC means to you, and answer our survey. Thanks!

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Getting Started with OpenTok: Creating sessions and Tokens

If you have read our Getting Started With OpenTok: From 0 to group video chat, you will see why we need to create sessions and their corresponding tokens.

Since creating sessions and generating its corresponding tokens involves your developer api key and secret, they should always be executed in your server to prevent your credentials from being exposed.

In short, sessions are like rooms. People connected to the same session Id will be able to publish and subscribe to each other’s video stream. Session Ids exist forever, so it’s safe to store them in the database.

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Getting Started with OpenTok: From 0 to simple group video chat

TokBox is the company that provides the video streaming API called OpenTok. This tutorial will be a walk through to creating a very simple group video chat application.

There are two flavors to the OpenTok API, OpenTok Flash that uses flash plugin and OpenTok WebRTC that uses the new and cool HTML 5 technology, and they are not interoperable.

WebRTC provides a much better video chat experience when it comes to quality but is currently only supported officially in Firefox and Chrome. Internet Explorer users must install Chrome Frame plugin.

Flash on the other hand, is supported in 99% of all browsers and allows the ability to record live video streams as they occur (archiving).

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Quality of Experience and Traffic Shaping – the next step with Mantis

Today, we are happy to announce yet another significant milestone in the technical evolution of the OpenTok platform – dynamic traffic shaping for audio and video through our Mantis infrastructure. We are now optimizing the experience for every participant in a multi-party call.

WebRTC is essentially defined as a peer-to-peer protocol for real-time browser-based communication. The problem is that countless real-world applications require multi-party support. So eight weeks ago we unveiled Mantis to solve this. Mantis is our next-generation cloud-scaling infrastructure that enables developers to deliver bandwidth-efficient multi-party WebRTC support.

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Introducing Cloud Raptor SDK – Robust apps made easy

icn_labs_raptor-metalToday, the OpenTok platform adds the Cloud Raptor SDK into the fold. Partners’ application servers can use the Cloud Raptor SDK to listen to the events and messages that pass through an OpenTok session. Accessing these events and messages on the application server makes it easier to integrate OpenTok logic with the application logic. (Prior to Cloud Raptor, OpenTok events and messages were only available on the client.)

Before today, building robust applications with the OpenTok platform meant writing a distributed application across many clients. The clients either synchronized between themselves, the partner sent back a lot of AJAX calls to their server, or the developer used a service like Parse. Now, with the Cloud Raptor SDK, OpenTok developers can have one OpenTok brain for their application – simplifying the development and extending the possibilities simultaneously.

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