Imagine greeting your colleague on a Monday morning by the water cooler. You chat about the weekend before both moving into a team meeting to discuss the week ahead. Sounds like a regular day at work, only your colleague didn’t ride the train, take the elevator or walk the stairs into the office today, in fact they are 5000 miles away – they arrived to work via a telepresence robot.
In our last blog post, (a peek at the future of healthcare) we considered the key drivers behind innovation in the health care industry. Telehealth has seen explosive market growth in recent years and shows no sign of slowing down. Despite its enormous potential for growth, the healthcare industry faces regulatory challenges that impede innovation.
Since the 1996 introduction of HIPAA, (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), the healthcare industry has become highly regulated. The scope and complexity of healthcare regulation has made it incredibly difficult for organizations to adopt new technologies. Compared to other industries, they have been relatively slow to adopt technological innovations as a result. This trend has manifested itself in the adoption of the public cloud, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and even the storage of online health records. With this in mind, one can assume this trend will repeat itself when it comes to browser based real time communications powered by WebRTC.
When you think about the hottest startup or innovation sectors, one may naturally think of artificial intelligence, Cloud computing or robotics. And you wouldn’t be wrong. But one you might be surprised to hear is right up the top of that list is Health, and specifically on demand health.
In a revealing study by Accenture, covered in this Forbes article, the growth of the on-demand health sector is second only to ride-sharing when it comes to attracting investment. Investment in on-demand health services is projected to reach $1 billion in 2017, up from only $200 million in 2014. According to Accenture, “healthcare is the fastest growing on-demand sector , representing one-sixth of total U.S. funding from 2010 to 2014.”
Despite the fact that filters are used a lot in non-WebRTC video applications like Photo Booth and SnapChat, we haven’t seen many WebRTC applications using these types of filters. This is probably because it hasn’t really been possible… until now.
It has always been possible to apply filters to video streams locally using the OpenTok platform by rendering the video into a Canvas element. The problem with this approach has always been that the person on the other end does not see the filter unless you apply the same filter on both the publisher and subscriber video. This would mean significant CPU load if you are subscribing to multiple participants. It also means that you don’t get to see the filters in the Archives.
I was talking with our old friend Philipp Hancke and discussing how it could be possible that 12% of the WebRTC calls were failing. This number came as a surprise to us as, based on our reports, the number of failures is significantly lower when it comes to OpenTok calls, even though the exact numbers depend on the specific use case you have.
So, we decided to grab some data and try to prove that WebRTC, at least in our platform, is doing a much better job.
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.
“Organizations that embrace rich, real time communication technologies, like WebRTC, reap indisputable benefits” (Business Success Through Embedded Communication Technology, a March 2016 study conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by TokBox).
A new report from Forrester, commissioned by TokBox, has found that WebRTC is delivering significant value across core business functions for organizations across a range of industries. This should come as no surprise given the challenge that many organizations face to bridge the ever growing gap between colleagues, businesses, and their customers as more of what they do moves online.
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.
Web Application Developers are used to being able to write automated tests for their applications and have them run with every PR and before deploying to production to give a level of confidence that things are not broken. OpenTok and real-time applications in general present new challenges when it comes to writing and running automated tests. There are challenges when it comes to getting access to microphones and cameras, testing multiple participants and installing the plugin for Internet Explorer among others.
There has been lots of work around WebRTC testing automation and our friends at rtc.io and &yet have written some great articles on the subject. However these articles don’t cover some of the specifics of testing OpenTok applications for example testing Internet Explorer and installing the OpenTok plugin for Internet Explorer. If you haven’t already I would recommend taking some time to read the articles by the folks at rtc.io and &yet before coming back to this. Also if you’re not familiar with Travis and Selenium WebDriver you might want to check those out too.
We all have a fascination with the billion dollar startups. Venture Capitalists try and identify them early, media laud them (or bring them down to earth), and early adopters claim discovery. One new technology innovation has the potential to spark the creation of more billion dollar companies, and markets are starting to pay attention. So what is WebRTC, and why is there so much interest?
It begins with recognizing the emergence of two massive trends. The first is the increasing appetite for ‘on demand’. This is evident in everything from movies to car rides, hotels, relationships to groceries to well, everything. And communications is a core part of this, just look at Meerkat and Twitter’s latest acquisition, Periscope, bringing