TokBox Launches OpenTok For Customer Service And New Tools For Managing WebRTC Calls

TokBox today launched OpenTok for Customer Service and a number of new WebRTC-based services for OpenTok that will bring advanced audio and video chat capabilities to developers that aren’t natively supported by the increasingly popular real-time file sharing and audio and video chat protocol.

TokBox’s OpenTok can now, for example, dynamically shape audio and video traffic to maximize the experience of everybody on the call. WebRTC has some of these capabilities by defaults, but as TokBox CEO Ian Small told me, OpenTok now keeps an eye on network conditions for every stream that’s going out and when a connection gets too bad, it will automatically drop the video from the call and switch to audio-only. This is surprisingly hard to do for developers, Small noted, but because OpenTok handles all of this in the cloud, the developers don’t have to do anything to support this.

With today’s update, Tokbox is also introducing its Cloud Raptor SDK. Essentially, this gives developers the ability to get a real-time feed of events when people join calls, signals change or when connections are interrupted. Developers can then take this stream of information and use it to manage the business logic of their apps or enforce certain policies. Right now, for example, you can’t easily track how long a WebRTC call actually was unless you do it all on the client side, which is not exactly secure and prone to errors. With Cloud Raptor, however, developers can get a clear picture of all of this data.

It’s important to note that this is just about event data. Developers can’t listen in to calls or see what’s happening in a video chat.

OpenTok For Customer Service

The third piece of today’s update – and one that’s different from most of TobBox’s recent updates – is the launch of OpenTok For Customer Service. This service bundles together a number of pre-configured WebRTC-based tools that allow developers to quickly implement face-to-face video chats for customer service applications.

This, Small told me, could be integrated into existing call center solutions, especially because OpenTok allows developers to create solutions for adding additional parties to a call when you need to bring an expert into a sales call, for example. Small believes this solution will be especially interesting for call centers, but also for schedule booking systems and similar services. Developers, of course, could also take this solution and use it to start building their own small call center themselves.

Now that Firefox 22 – the first version of Mozilla’s browser with built-in WebRTC support – is available, Small believes, we’ll see another uptick in interest from developers. With the addition of Firefox and Chrome’s support for WebRTC, after all, there are now a number of countries where 50% to 70% of the install base can natively run WebRTC apps.