TokBox SDK Brings Video Chat To iOS Apps

Just over a year ago, video chat startup TokBox shuttered its consumer application and began focusing exclusively on its platform strategy — using its technology to enable video chat on other websites. Today, it’s expanding that effort into mobile.

Specifically, TokBox is announcing a software development kit allowing iOS developers to add face-to-face video chat to their apps. There are other video chat apps, of course, such as Skype and Apple’s FaceTime. But the point here is to incorporate these features into broad swath of apps. CEO Ian Small says that rather than building their own video chat technology, developers can now add TokBox’s in the space of “a weekend hackathon.”

The company has been testing the SDK with more than 20 developers. small estimates that 70 percent of them are adding TokBox features to existing apps, while 30 percent of them are launching new apps where video chat is integral. There has been interest from people making everything from dating apps to games to medical services, Small says. TokBox has also released its own iOS app, TokShow, where brands and celebrities can host video chats.

For now, TokBox’s video chat features are only available on WiFi, but Small says the company already has tests running on 3G and 4G networks, and that it should be adding those capabilities in the next few months. The SDK is part of the company’s existing pricing model — the basic plan is free, then you pay for features like archiving, large-scale calls, and a service agreement with TokBox.

Stepping back from mobile, Small says that 40,000 websites and partners have used TokBox’s platform, and that he’s particularly excited to be signing up partners like American Idol and Universal Music.

“The demand for integrating face-to-face video into an online digital experience isn’t just something that cool people in the Bay or in New York City are interested in,” he says. “It’s starting to penetrate everyday applications.”