What WebRTC Santa Clara Said About The State of Play

With last week’s WebRTC Conference and Expo in Santa Clara, California coming to a successful conclusion, the second big WebRTC event of the year is now behind us.  Sure, there are other WebRTC-related conferences – the IIT RTC conference in Chicago, the WebRTC Summit at Cloud Expo, next month’s WebRTC 2013 conference in Paris – but with what looked like 700 people in attendance, the twice-annual WebRTC Conference and Expo is the big one.

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Is WebRTC Ready for H.264?

The long-running video codec debate has, without a doubt, been the biggest open issue in the WebRTC standards effort.

In a surprise announcement last week, Cisco introduced a mechanism through which H.264 could be used in WebRTC browser implementations free from MPEG-LA’s licensing burden.

Cisco’s maneuver was a master stroke from the playbook of open standards strategy.  The licensing deal they announced with MPEG-LA appears to cut the legs out from under the main pragmatic argument opposing H.264 (ie. the royalty problem).  Mozilla’s support lent Cisco’s approach instant credibility from the ideological wing (ie. the open source camp).  And by keeping this under wraps until a week before the upcoming IETF 88 meeting, at which the video codec debate is to be revisited, Cisco left no time for any coordinated response from the VP8 camp.

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Welcome Chrome for Android – Now part of our WebRTC family

chrome for android logoWe’re incredibly pleased to announce that OpenTok on WebRTC supports Google’s just-released Chrome 29 for Android. This brings Android support formally into the OpenTok on WebRTC family, and is a big step forward in increasing the number of WebRTC-ready endpoints in market.

We’ve been working with the Chrome for Android beta builds over the last few months, making sure that OpenTok on WebRTC works properly – and transparently – in that environment. In fact, attendees at WebRTC Expo in Atlanta saw us demonstrating OpenTok applications running in Chrome on Nexus tablets at the beginning of the summer.

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OpenTok on WebRTC: Offering the technology of tomorrow, today

I am very excited today to announce our first major product release since being acquired by Telefónica Digital (@tefdigital) only two weeks ago.  While we’re not in the habit of tooting our own horn, we’re pretty darn pleased with this release and what it means for the future.

Today we are releasing OpenTok on WebRTC, the first solution for developers that brings high quality face-to-face video straight out of the box to Google’s Chrome 23 and, perhaps even more of a breakthrough, the first to support WebRTC on iOS.

This newest release of OpenTok leverages WebRTC and native websockets,  and marries high-quality audio/video with our own high-performance and highly scalable Rumor messaging framework, It does this at the same time as reducing client weight and driving faster connection startup times. You can experience it firsthand here.

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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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OpenTok on WebRTC: Grab your lab coat!

At TokBox, we spend a lot of time keeping up with what’s going on in the world of face-to-face video, because we’re always looking for the best ways to help move the OpenTok platform forward.

Today, we’re very happy to launch OpenTok support for WebRTC through an early-access build generally available to our developer community. While WebRTC is still a ways away from being ready for end users, last week Google took a big step forward towards their vision of what WebRTC could be with their stable release of Chrome 21. That makes this an opportune time to show you what we’ve been working on behind the scenes.

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Live. In your app. Face-to-face on iOS

Today, we are changing the face of iOS applications.

With the introduction of the OpenTok iOS SDK, we are bringing the power, emotion and engagement of face-to-face video to legions of Objective-C developers and to the apps they build.

15 months ago, we started a journey towards making face-to-face video a first-class citizen on the web. Between our developer-facing APIs and our end-user-targeted plug-and-play applications, OpenTok has brought life to more than 40,000 websites.

From day 1, we never thought that OpenTok was limited to the web — the web was just a good place to start. Face-to-face is all about making digital experiences more human. And what’s more human these days than the fluid, physical interfaces to smartphone and tablet apps? They are the perfect complement to the increased engagement, emotion and connectedness that face to face video brings to the party.

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Adobe LCCS abandons ship

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?

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Sean Parker didn’t go far enough

Sean Parker and Shervin Pishevar on stage at Le Web '11At Le Web last week in Paris, Sean Parker predicted that the outcome of the 2012 US elections would be determined by social media.

I think he’s right. But what’s more, I think that next year’s election season will be the first in which face-to-face live video on the web will play a role in determining the outcome of some races.

In an increasingly online world, the web has provided new ways for candidates to reach voters in their constituencies. Candidates can communicate policy, deliver key messages on-demand, and reach out to campaign supporters. But the focus has been predominantly one-way – from candidate to constituent.

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PC World: Video Calling is Finally Catching On

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.

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