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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WebRTC and Signaling: What Two Years Has Taught Us

There’s a new digital version of an old analog joke that starts something like this: ”Two WebRTC engineers walk into a bar to have a beer while they talk about signaling.”  The problem is that it’s the hotel bar at the Hotel California, and the punchline is that the engineers never get to leave.

Hardly a day goes by without another blog post about signaling and WebRTC.

Some people think signaling should be standardized; others think we already have the answer in SIP or REST. Some think that the lack of a signaling specification (beyond the need to support SDP offer/answer) is a huge gap in the WebRTC standard.

We think that leaving signaling out was the smartest thing that the key drivers of the standard could have done, for three reasons:

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Announcing New Pricing for the OpenTok Platform

OpenTok verticalOn October 1st, 2013 we will be launching new pricing for the OpenTok platform.

We are updating our pricing to reflect the cost of operating the OpenTok Platform on WebRTC versus older versions of our platform.

Using WebRTC technology, live video streams are commonly delivered at several times the data rate of a Flash video chat stream. Simply put, WebRTC consumes a lot more bandwidth than Flash, which can affect our operating costs. While WebRTC is a free and open-sourced standard, it doesn’t include the back-end infrastructure required to operate a live video communications application in the real world.

That’s what we provide with OpenTok – a global platform that offers the advanced features, capabilities, and back-end infrastructure that make WebRTC viable for commercial applications.  We believe that our new pricing structure fairly reflects our underlying delivery costs while delivering terrific value for our customers and partners.

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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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