The year’s biggest hackathon is going to kick off in T-24 hours. Do you think we would miss it? Not a chance! We’re looking forward to sponsoring TechCrunch Disrupt’s Hackathon and Conference (this time in NYC) for the third time. Perhaps we’ll see an OpenTok powered app take home the title. Third time’s the charm, right? RIGHT?
Since the last Disrupt Hackathon, more eyeballs have been on the video chat world than ever before. How so? For starters, Google+ Hangouts is gaining traction and pushing new features (hello “On Air”), folks are anxiously awaiting the launch of AirTime (what is it already?!?), and we’ve launched the first ever iOS SDK for video chat. Not to shabby video chat industry.
Today, Adobe announced it will be end-of-lifing its LiveCycle Collaboration Services (LCCS) platform at the end of this year.
For developers and websites looking to integrate face-to-face video into their websites while avoiding the heavy lifting of building their own solution, our OpenTok platform and Adobe’s LCCS offering were the two leading Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) options. Now all the folks who chose Adobe – many of whom thought they were going with the “safe” alternative – are about to be left out in the cold.
At TokBox, business is booming. So how can it be that “changes in Adobe’s strategic direction” are moving them away from such a rapidly growing market?
The countdown begins! Only four more days until South By Southwest kicks off, the only event where the past year’s hottest music, film and technology intersect. This year our very own Ian Small, CEO of TokBox, will be participating on a panel at SXSW Interactive. So if you’ll be in Austin for the big event, we’d love for you to catch the session live. All the details are below and we hope to see you there.
Tuesday, March 13
3:30PM – 4:30PM
With Christine Egy Rose (Founder, Scoot & Doodle Inc), Hayes Raffle (Interaction Researcher, Google Inc), Patty Chang (Co-founder, Scoot & Doodle Inc) and Svetlana Gous (Consultant/Educator)
There is a dictum we use to sum up the major belief that drives all that we do at TokBox: Face to face is the future of the web.
In 2007, the company’s emphasis was very much on ‘the future’. Skype hadn’t yet moved into the mainstream. FaceTime did not exist – in fact, the first iPhone hadn’t yet been released. And yet, the TokBox team had a fundamental understanding that the way we communicate online would become more human, and that face to face was the most human form of communication possible over the web.
Presenters at Thinc Iowa 2011
Returning home to the midwest after spending a few years in the cultural bubble of San Francisco is a strange experience. As John Travolta’s character says in Pulp Fiction regarding Europe: “It’s the little differences. I mean, they got the same shit over there that we got here, but it’s just… there it’s just a little different.” You’re confronted with of all the superficial differences in dress, decor and culture, and you start to remember that in Iowa it isn’t about wearing expensive clothes, or having a hip club to check out every night. It’s about sincerity, genuine friendliness, working hard, and desire to help other people. “And that,” I imagine the people presenting at Thinc Iowa would probably say, “is exactly the point.”
I used to think that localization meant translation. As someone who has lived in the US my entire life and has no experience with international business, I didn’t know any better. I assumed that to enter a foreign market, all a company had to do was slap up translations, register a local domain, hire a US celeb to pimp the brand, then boom—10 million new users.
I wasn’t that naive of course, but I never knew what localization really meant. I never knew until I learned how unsuccessful US consumer internet companies have been at entering China. Google, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter—all the giants. They all tried and failed.
Many years ago, I came to Silicon Valley to work as an engineer at Apple and got my start in video with QuickTime 1.0 and QuickTime VR.
Apple was where I found out that design and technology can not only co-exist, they can multiply together in a marvelous kind of fusion. Even though I worked at Apple in the wilderness years – when Steve wasn’t with the company – that vision and focus on user experience was already deeply embedded in the DNA of the company.
Of all the things I learned at Apple, the fusion of design and technology, and the creative process that drives that fusion, were the most fundamental. For me, working at Apple created a deep-seated belief in the transcendent impact of a beautifully integrated user experience. That belief is why when I talk about my time at Apple, I often say: “You can take the engineer out of Apple, but you can’t take Apple out of the engineer.”
It’s hard to tell when it’s summer in San Francisco, but here at TokBox you know it’s summer when everyone’s a-video chatting. This July, lots of new OpenTok developers decided to dip their toes in the warm, inviting pool of group video chat. (not sure why…) Here are some of our favorite examples:
Group/Social Video Chat
Friend Cameo: Voice, video calling and video mail on Facebook
SocialHangouts: G+ Hangouts meets FB Video Calling with multi-user video chat
Tanglr.TV: Group co-viewing of online live events
EpicMafia: Online Mafia game – with video to look ’em in the eyes
Originally posted at blog.mumm.me
Hackathons are awesome.
At TokBox we put our normal schedule aside for a couple days to run our first internal hackathon. The rules were simple: pitch an idea, form teams, build something, then demo it 30 hours later. The winning team would get a prize.
My team didn’t win (though we were proudly among the first losers), but it was a really positive experience. Here’s why I think every company should try doing an internal hackathon:
The big guys are duking it out again, and this time video chat is front and center. In the past few days Google unveiled Google+ with video “Hangouts”, Microsoft-owned Skype released the SkypeKit SDK and there is speculation that Facebook may announce next week it is bringing video chat to the social network.
There’s one thing missing in all of this. The web.
Google+ is surely a nice piece of work and Hangouts is great – and we love anything that makes video conversations more common – but these ‘new’ innovations are actually not new at all, they are alternatives to what we already have, just in a new location. They do nothing to help bring video chat to the web outside of the Hangout.