TokBox Offers In-App Live Video Streaming Via WebRTC

Mark Boyd, November 19th, 2013

TokBox OpenTokTokBox – creators of the OpenTok APIs and platform that enables WebRTC video support – have today launched new live video chat tools for app developers and enterprises. ProgrammableWeb spoke with Scott Lomond, VP of Marketing at TokBox on the eve of the announcement, made today at the WebRTC Expo and Conference.

Despite continued disagreement amongst cloud infrastructure stakeholders to endorse WebRTC as a common format, the San Francisco-based TokBox is pushing ahead to enable WebRTC live video chat to be incorporated into native Android applications and in other mobile and web apps.

“At TokBox, what we offer is a WebRTC video platform. We expose its functionality to developers by way of APIs. So developers can add live video experiences into a website or mobile application they are building. Instead of building live video from the ground up, they can use our new tools which are more scalable and robust. Some features are exposed by API, others are just capabilities on our OpenTok platform,” Scott Lomond, VP of Marketing, told ProgrammableWeb.

One of the new features of the live video capabilities being offered on the OpenTok platform includes Dynamic Frame Rate Control. Lomond explains:

“In the real world, from time to time, you’ll be on a video call and won’t have enough bandwidth so quality overall suffers. So what Dynamic Frame Rate Control does is that it allows developers to decide who has higher bandwidth based on business rules. So for example, if it’s an instructional video, it’s more important that the tutor have higher bandwidth and developers can allocate the bandwidth to the tutor’s stream, and reduce the frame rate of other students in the session. They can then reallocate the bandwidth, say, if a student asks a question, the developer can set business rules based on a sort-of podium time, and reallocate bandwidth… it scales up quite easily, from a slow frame rate to fast one in a second or two.”

The feature is the newest in a ‘family’ of ‘intelligent quality controls’ that TokBox is providing. “In a normal WebRTC, it is a lowest common denominator approach: the standard available is set by the user with the lowest bandwidth, so everyone would suffer. Our intelligent quality control family means we can help developers manage video streaming so that it is easier for developers to add video, and so that the quality of the video is better,” Lomond said.

Another capability being made available as part of the launch is an archiving on demand feature. “The big two use cases for archiving are banking and medical,” Lomond said. “Banking is a big source of demand. In certain countries, regulations might require customer service playback or that confirmation of trade is important for archiving. In medical, it is about making sure there is a clear record of medical consultations.”

Lomond said that the new features were developed in direct response to existing OpenTok customers’ feedback. “It is the same with our Android SDK launch, we have been working on it for awhile now. Many mobile developers want to work with Android and not just iOS.”

OpenTok Archiving & Playback will currently be provided free during the beta period, with no download or playback limits. The Android SDK for WebRTC is currently in open beta. Developers can learn more about the new release at the TokBox platform pages.

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