Try ‘platform first’ video services to scale the heck out of your products

By Jamie Finn (@finnstr) Director of Communications Product Design at Telefonica Digital

The first time I came across a company called Tokbox was in June 2011 when Nick Mullen (@nickmullenOTT) returned from a trip to California gushing about some amazing technology he had seen and an even more impressive team that had been building it.

Instead of just talking about it, Nick had actually built something. That something was an instant video conferencing session with nothing more than a web browser required. It worked brilliantly and so we ran around the business demoing internally but failed to find a “buyer” to use the technology – people did not think it was the right time.

Flash forward to July 2012. We – the TU Product team – started to look at technologies in the video space as we saw this as an obvious gap in our communications platform strategy. In this search we looked at a number of companies and approaches… everything from mobile only, one-to-one video comms and codecs like Eyeball Networks or Tango, to video messaging services like Six3. We considered group video comms products like ooVoo or Airtime (remember them?) and even had a chat with the guys over at BlueJeans to talk about interoperability.

We were searching not only for an answer to the video gap but also for a more comprehensive video strategy that could encompass mobile and PC and both current and future technologies.

Any of these companies could satisfy any one or even two of the areas we identified, but none had the comprehensive coverage nor the ability to scale until we sat down again with Tokbox.

Ian Small and Badri gave us an overview of their products and demoed some really cool technology working on iPads, iPhones, Androids.

What really piqued our interest though was something that no one else was showing  – HTML5 / WebRTC video in the browser as Telefonica is making a huge push in HTML5 with the Firefox OS.

Zuckerberg said Facebook’s big mistake was trying to go HTML5 in mobile but I think they were just trying to go HTML5 on the wrong platforms.

A valuable lesson I learned from the past is that we needed a platform and not a product in the video space. So the Tokbox approach of platform first was exactly spot on to where we needed to be in our businesses so we could scale the heck out of the products.

So one thing led to another and we recently acquired Tokbox. We’re incorporating it into our over-the-top comms platform that we offer to market – TU Core. Check out how Tokbox works here.

TU Core now has the the most comprehensive set of API’s for calling, texting and now video calling in the world. Can’t wait to expose them all to developers and see what can be built with them!