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November 19, 2013

TokBox Keynote Focuses on Best-of-Breed Components of WebRTC: Mobile, Groups and Archiving

In a WebRTC-appropriate fashion, TokBox CEO Ian Small’s keynote started with a real-time video connection a la Double Robotics. You may recognize one of these robots from a scene in The Good Wife or, if you frequently visit San Francisco, from wandering the streets and coffee shops in California. TokBox powers the real-time communications functionality for Double Robotics, and is working on even more to further the development of WebRTC.

Small highlighted three best-of-breed components that are critical to WebRTC: mobile, groups and posterity.


TokBox offers OpenTok, a platform for developers that enables integration of live, real-time video into mobile and Web apps. Small explains that through OpenTok, the company has been able to witness the ideas, execution and growth of WebRTC in the real world. WebRTC is no different from the rest of the world, he said. “There’s more than Web in WebRTC,” he explained, listing numerous places where WebRTC will show up, including on TVs, across industries – including healthcare – and in native apps on mobile.

Mobile is an important part of the picture – 40 percent of enterprise customers are deploying apps that have a mobile component. With TokBox’s capabilities, developers can create cross-platform apps for iOS and Android devices.


One of the benefits of video conferencing is group collaboration. “We are social creatures,” Small said. “Many more of us are productive when we collaborate.”

However, there are challenges when it comes to working on deployments for multipoint video. As the number of streams goes up, you realize how bandwidth and CPU become very precious resources. But there aren’t many situations when every member of the group is an equal opportunity citizen, he said. In a typical group conference, you devote bandwidth to people who matter.

At the browser level today, users can statically allocate bandwidth to a stream out of the box – but you have to decide upfront. Once you start streaming, you can’t change this setting for different users without restarting the video windows.

To overcome this challenge, TokBox is introducing dynamic frame rate control, which enables different streams to be determined as high or low priority in a multipoint call. This feature enables users to change settings while streaming, which is a huge step forward for WebRTC. 


In a world of social media, online photo sharing and Internet footprints, it’s no secret that a basic human desire is wanting to be remembered. TokBox added a new feature to enable users to relive their WebRTC moments again with cloud-based archiving and playback. The capability goes beyond just personal use, though. Small demonstrated a use case with a financial advisor, in which a customer can schedule appointments for real-time video with a consultant to go over accounts, data and plans while sharing documents and screens and adding other people into a conference, like a specialist. After the call is over, the functionality can integrate with calendars to set new appointments, and there is an archive to have all of that information easily accessible.

The archiving and playback feature serves up to nine streams and uses a H.264/AAC MP4 container. The feature is available in beta.

“This stuff isn’t new for video, but it’s really hard to do in WebRTC,” Small said. Many people understand that WebRTC enables real-time communication over a browser, and are dreaming of new, extreme use cases for the technology. “That’s what TokBox want to do – make those big ideas come true.”

Small will also be speaking in a session tomorrow, Nov. 20, on “Business Impact and Directions Roundtable,” and TokBox is exhibiting its platform capabilities at booth #300 and #302 at the WebRTC Conference & Expo.

Learn more about TokBox at www.tokbox.com



Edited by Cassandra Tucker




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