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Mobile developers wave “goodbye” to metered minutes

Say Goodbye to Metered Minutes!!For the past 100 or so years, we have been paying for every minute spent on our phones. Metered minutes for voice have long been the standard for growth of telecoms the world over.

Early purveyors of VoIP (Voice over IP) promised great things and many have built respectable businesses. Still, we hang onto the networks of old (PSTN) which come with baggage and metered minutes remain.

We are in a “mobile first” world now, where mobile messenger applications reign supreme eg. WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat etc. For good or for bad, these new chat apps are forever changing the way we think of communications. The next generation expects a certain level of service that comes for free, and that will become the new norm.

This new “free mobile communication” mantra can come at a price for providers.

Traditional VoIP networks are primarily built using client-server methodologies, which means the calls (signalling at least) and text messages pass through a server. That server must be hosted somewhere and that data transfer cost must be accounted for, somehow. More and more chat apps are supporting Voice and Video calls, the overhead involved in providing for those features on the back end is not trivial.

If there were a way to provide these features without having the calls and messages go through a server, it should be much cheaper (or free) to deliver those features to the users. P2P (peer to peer) communication services allow providers to cut costs and deliver rich communication features more affordably. We know this to be true because we have built countless VoIP networks on traditional client-server technology and also with P2P technology, in this case Open Peer.

Keep in mind a P2P-centric network does not take into consideration interoperability with the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), so that I can call my mom and dad for instance.  From a smartphone users perspective, this is not much of a problem. Data / wifi networks are nearly boundless.  Just ask yourself “When was the last time you weren’t connected?” As a provider, the moment we bridge P2P with PSTN, we increase our costs enormously and lose all the rich features in the process.

Is there a way we get the benefits of P2P and still interoperate with the networks of yesterday?

If you want the real benefits that a Peer-to-Peer communications network will provide, you must get past the idea of interop with the PSTN. There are plenty of providers out there who refuse or simply cannot make the move to P2P due to their business model or the like and to you I say, “Very sorry for your troubles”.

The middle ground.

Leveraging P2P in your network where it makes sense (mobile) and using gateways to negotiate to the PSTN is certainly possible and we have helped network providers do just that. This helps them to prepare for an OTT (Over The Top) model that is more P2P centric and efficient while still servicing their customer of old.

When will metered minutes truly become a thing of the past? When the carriers wake up? God help us all.

If you are a modern mobile developer working on iOS or Android, you can say “goodbye” to metered minutes today.

Next Event: @RobinRaymond of Hookflash speaking @IIT_RTC_Conf #webrtc #ortc

IIT RTC Conference

This is hands down our favorite event of the year. IIT has produced a great “no bs” technical event. If you want to know what is happening inside the industry, you will want to attend this one. Excerpt from their website..

The IIT RTC Conference and Expo is a globally recognized collaborative event, where industry and academia connect. Leveraging its unique academic setting, this annual conference brings together technical professionals and business executives from the data and telecommunications industry, standards bodies, policy and regulatory institutions, and academic educators and researchers to promote an open exchange of ideas to lead future development in the rapidly changing field of real-time communications.

Robin Raymond will be speaking on a few topics:

  • Future of the Cloud with P2P (Peer-to-Peer) RTC (Real-Time Communication)
  • ORTC (Object Real-Time Communications) API Update
  • Delivering Real-Time Communications with Mobile

IIT RTC Conference Schedule: http://www.rtc-conference.com/conference-schedule-listings/

Hookflash, Google and Microsoft lead on ORTC / WebRTC 1.1 Public Draft

webrtc1.1_logo

The first ORTC Public Draft Specification has been published, authored by Hookflash, Microsoft, and Google. (http://ortc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/ortc.html ) This specification extends WebRTC 1.0 with new functionality to create a WebRTC 1.1 API with exceptional flexibility and no loss of compatibility.

Like WebRTC, ORTC (Object Real-time Communication) enables plugin-free real-time communications for mobile, web and cloud, but is specifically tailored to provide the direct control needed to enable advanced multimedia and conferencing features.

“We heard developers say that they wanted more direct control over the technologies available in WebRTC. At the same time, we didn’t want existing developers to have to start over with a new API. ORTC is our proposal for how we can accomplish both of these things – a new set of APIs for direct control, that builds off the existing WebRTC 1.0 API set. As an evolution of the existing API, we consider this WebRTC 1.1” comments Justin Uberti, Google Tech Lead, WebRTC. “We’re grateful to Hookflash for their work to get ORTC off the ground. They have been instrumental in making this cross-industry collaboration happen, and we look forward to continuing our work with them.”

This newly published public draft has come a long way since the W3C ORTC Community Group was formed in mid-2013. As it has progressed from an initial set of ideas to a fleshed-out draft complete enough for implementations, several companies have gotten closely involved, with Microsoft and Google now joining Hookflash as authors of the emerging specification.

“We have been working hard to get the ORTC API to the point where it can be implemented. This would not have been possible without the initial and continuing work of Hookflash”, commented Bernard Aboba, Principal Architect, Skype, “We also are excited by the ORTC API’s support for advanced video features such as SVC (Scalable Video Coding) and simulcast. The Javascript Object API approach has made these advanced video technologies more accessible, which has been difficult in the past.”

The W3C ORTC Community Group now numbers more than 60 participants.

“We believe the contributions to WebRTC 1.1 / ORTC will allow web communications technology to become ubiquitous and transcend nearly all communications technologies that came before it” says Hookflash Co-founder, Erik Lagerway, “We are honored to be working with some of the brightest minds at Google, Microsoft, and the other contributing members in the ORTC CG to mature WebRTC into a universal go-to toolkit enabling communications across the globe.”

For more information on ORTC, see:
W3C ORTC Community Group
ORTC.org – History and FAQs
WebRTC.is – ORTC & WebRTC news

Hookflash enables real-time social, mobile, and web communications for integration of voice, video, messaging with federated identity into world leading software, enterprise, applications, networks, mobile and computing devices. Hookflash and Open Peer are trademarks of Hookflash Inc.

Developers can register at (http://fly.hookflash.me) to start using the Hookflash RTC service and toolkits today.

For more information on Hookflash RTC toolkits and White Labeling please visit Hookflash http://hookflash.com.

Come and work at one of the coolest companies in the space! We’re now hiring for these development positions: iOS, Android, Node.js & C++ send us your resume: jobs@hookflash.com.

Hookflash – Trent Johnsen

855-466-5352 Ext: 1

Hookflash for Android – Improved RTC Video Support

Nexus5_Hookflash_videocall_inbound

 

We are always working hard to improve the tools we build for our developer partners and customers. Today we are happy to announce improved support for RTC (Real-time Communications) Video.

We’ve had video for a couple of weeks now but we held off on releasing it due to some lingering issues, until today. We have knocked down a few larger bugs (video and other aspects) in the last week and there are plenty more to come.  The Hookflash android reference app now has video calling capabilities as does the Hookflash / Open Peer android SDK.

 

Android reference app can be found here
iOS reference app can be found here

Developers sign up here

Improved support for Push Notifications on iOS and Android

In this update, notifications become more fluid and work across conversations on both iOS and Android.

Nexus5_Hookflash_pushiphone5s_white_lrg_en

Real-time messaging on mobile requires “suspended application” support for notifying the user that a new message has arrived when the application is not in focus. Receiving a message as part of a conversation is not much good unless the user is aware the message exists. The push notification allows the user to understand that the message has been received when not looking at the application at the time the message arrives. This new release makes greater use of this functionality on both Android and iOS.

Android reference app can be found here.
iOS reference app can be found here.

Developers, add real-time messaging, voice and video to your app today! Sign up for free here: http://fly.hookflash.me/

Hookflash for Android

hookflash_android_video

 

Today we are shipping our android reference app, sdk and sdk sample app, now in alpha.

Our Hookflash SDK for Android is openly available on Github, today we are releasing a new sample app in code and a Hookflash reference app in the Play Store.

We have run preliminary tests between the iOS app in the iTunes App Store and Android app in the Play Store. Messaging & voice works well, video on iOS has been there for some time now. As you can see from the screenshot video still needs a bit of tweaking on android, as so it has been  temporarily disabled in the reference app.

We are looking forward to working with mobile developers on Android now in addition to iOS. Never has it been so easy to create a scalable mobile messenger with RTC (Real-time Communications) features that other messenger platforms would die for! So come and create something cool! Developers, join up and get started for free today!

Not a developer? No problem, we provide a white label service as well. Send us a note with your project ideas.

RTC (Real-time Communications) iOS SDK Update & Hookflash API Pricing

Open Peer - Mobile RTC ToolkitNew releases of Hookflash RTC (real-time communications) mobile toolkits for iOS and Android are now available.

For leading mobile developers, customers and partners; Hookflash mobile toolkits provide an easy, cost effective way to integrate a choice of real-time Text Messaging, High-Quality Voice and Video Chat directly into mobile applications, adding scalable, private, valuable communications functionality for customers and user communities.

“The Hookflash iOS Software Development Kit and accompanying sample app is a stable beta release ready for early customers to integrate into their own apps or to white label.” says Erik Lagerway, Co-founder at Hookflash. “Hookflash Cloud Service beta release is home to more than 275 developers from all across the globe, building interesting and exciting apps ranging from enterprise mobile to banking, gaming and medical applications. I am always excited to hear about how our technology is being leveraged in new ways, it’s what gets me out of bed in the morning!”

Hookflash Mobile Software Development Kits and the Hookflash Cloud Service API are available free of charge (see commercial pricing below) for development, testing and non-commercial purposes (no Credit Card required on signup). If you are a non-profit enterprise organization or recognized charity, contact us, we’d like to help you communicate better for free.

Commercial pricing for the Hookflash Cloud Service API is now also available. See Pricing for details.

Hookflash is setting a new standard in the world of telecommunications; offering API transactional pricing for Voice and Video traffic. Traditionally, until now, Voice and Video calls have been charged on a metered, per minute basis. The Hookflash pricing model provides what leading developers, service providers and enterprise customers expect and require from modern APIs.

At $0 .001 (1/10 of 1 cent) per API call Hookflash enables integrated high quality messaging, voice and video chat for developers and enterprise customers in a way that has not been available until now.

“Hookflash is doing for real-time communications what Amazon Web Services (AWS) has done for Cloud Services, metered minutes are a thing of the past, the future of Real-time Communications is in API services and pricing models that scale” explained Trent Johnsen, CEO.

A Hookflash reference app built on the Hookflash Mobile SDK, “Hookflash Messenger” integrated with Facebook as an example of directory and identity is available in the  iTunes App store here.

A Hookflash Android reference app will follow soon. The Hookflash Android RTC SDK is available now in early beta, with limited documentation.

The previous reference application, “Hookflash for iPad” with LinkedIn directory and identity features has been removed from the iTunes app store to make way for the latest iOS reference application.

Developer sign up: http://fly.hookflash.me
Open Peer RTC iOS toolkit: https://github.com/openpeer/opios
Open Peer RTC Android toolkit (early beta): https://github.com/openpeer/opandroid
Developer documentation: http://docs.hookflash.com

About: Hookflash powers a new generation of integrated, Open, Over-the-Top, Internet messaging, voice and video chat for Mobile and the Web with the new standard for secure signalling and identity; Open Peer.

For additional information please visit Hookflash.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Hookflash.

1-855-Hookflash (466-5352)  or “info@hookflash.com”.

Hookflash Advances Enterprise Real-time Communications for Web and Mobile with ORTC

Vancouver BC, Canada (PRWEB) November 01, 2013

Hookflash joins over 20 technology companies and thought leaders from around the globe this Sunday, November 3, 2013, to review “ORTC” the new Object RTC API (Object Real-Time Communications Application Programming Interface). Hookflash Chief Architect Robin Raymond will provide an introduction and overview of the new ORTC API, as well as demos and sample application reviews. This event will be streamed live: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ortc-live.

“The work that Hookflash is doing on the Object Real-time Communications API (ORTC) positions them at the forefront of WebRTC,” comments Microsoft executive Albert Kooiman, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Lync. “ORTC is a very appealing approach for developers looking to produce interoperable WebRTC applications quickly, by presenting a simpler and more familiar Javascript Object model that leverages the skills of mainstream web developers, instead of the more complex Offer/Answer approach. To see open source code that enables this is real progress. We believe that ORTC (and the establishment of the W3C ORCA Community Group to evolve it) is a major step forward and we support Hookflash in their efforts.”

The W3C Object RTC (ORCA) Community Grouphttp://www.w3.org/community/orca/ was formed in July 2013 to develop an alternative JavaScript API for real-time communications by a group of people looking for alternatives to SDP Offer/Answer in WebRTC. The Community Group published its first draft specification on October 11, 2013.

Hookflash Co-founder, Erik Lagerway explains “Microsoft has expressed concerns regarding the current WebRTC specification. If the current WebRTC specification isn’t included in Internet Explorer, it creates a massive gap in the Enterprise and global marketplace. Hookflash is providing both ORTC, WebRTC and mobile compatibility in Hookflash toolkits to deliver Voice, Video and Messaging without plugins to Internet Explorer (assuming integration of ORTC), Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, iOS and android. This makes Hookflash the first company to fill that gap for Enterprise, developers and consumers. But it doesn’t end there,” says Lagerway, “The optimal solution for web developers and customers will be to have all the browser vendors integrate support for ORTC directly. Since ORTC supports both Object and SDP Offer/Answer models, everyone wins.”

Hookflash will be making another announcement on Sunday during the ORTC Walkthroughhttp://blog.webrtc.is/2013/10/28/ortc-walk-through-ietf-88/, regarding the availability of source code for ORTC/WebRTC implementations. This event will be streamed live: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ortc-live.

Hookflash enables real-time social, mobile, and web communications with “Open Peer” for integration of voice, video, messaging with federated identity into world leading software, enterprise, applications, networks, mobile and computing devices. Hookflash and Open Peer are trademarks of Hookflash Inc.

Developers can register at (http://fly.hookflash.me) to start using the Open Peer SDKs today.

For more information and an Open Peer/WebRTC White Paper please visit Hookflash http://hookflash.com.

Press Contact: Trent Johnsen
Hookflash
Press(at)hookflash(dot)com
855-HOOKFLASH (466-5352) ext 1

When will WebRTC be ready for prime time?

No matter what camp you are in, pro-SDP or Object API, WebRTC feels like it’s here to stay. The fact that there is so much push-back on an Object-centric API in the WebRTC working groups tells us that there are many who are concerned about delaying v1 any longer than is necessary, there is a feeling of urgency, which seems like a good thing.

As an application developer, one looks at the current state of WebRTC as a proposed standard and it soon becomes apparent that it is not trivial. Building a commercially viable application or service will take much more than a few JavaScript APIs leveraging the WebRTC stack in Chrome and Firefox.

WebRTC is in its early infancy, building a commercial service using WebRTC in the browser today is not only unlikely it might even be a little silly. That’s not to say that the work being done in and around WebRTC today isn’t valid, far from it. It’s just that WebRTC “in browsers” is far from being ready for any service to deploy commercially and scale.

Where are we most likely to see traction early on?

What WebRTC, or specifically Google, has given us is a great media stack that we can leverage in apps.

Mobile is where WebRTC can be put to work easily and quickly. Any iOS, android or even BB10 application developer can now make use of new mobile developer toolkits that include the WebRTC media stack plus other features like social identity federation, p2p signaling and the like. Mobile is where WebRTC technology shines today.

Building for mobile first is not just convenient it’s smart. By building on mobile ahead of the browsers the developer somewhat “future proofs” the life cycle of the product being developed. When WebRTC is ready for prime time, those mobile developers will be in a perfect position to deploy to the browser, potentially edging out their competition.

When will the browsers be ready?

It’s going to be the better part of a year (some say years) before some of the hard problems are solved in the respective WebRTC working groups and even then the v1 features supported will be somewhat minimal. Even I thought this would have been done by now, but we are a long way from done.

Questions remain unanswered:  Where is Apple? What will Microsoft do with CU-RTC-Web?  What video codec will be chosen as MTI?

Regardless of how much work there is left to do, the bureaucracy and politics inherent in the standards bodies will ensure that we will not see this in production across all major browsers anytime soon.

As an example, let’s take a look at XMPP. Before it became a standard XMPP was the Jabber protocol, an open technology used primarily for instant messaging and presence. Since Jabber was already defined and deployed heavily all across the globe you would think the standardization would go rather quickly, right? Nope. That process took more than 2 years in the IETF and very little was changed.

If you are a mobile developer looking to leverage WebRTC for a mobile project, you’re in luck! There are some good mobile SDKs available today.  You might want to hold off on deployment plans for all the major browsers anytime soon, especially not if you are focusing your efforts in the Enterprise markets where MS Windows and Internet Explorer still rule the roost.

Now Hiring: Mid-Senior NodeJS / JavaScript Developer

We are looking for an experienced JavaScript developer to join our distributed team working on our open and closed source projects.

The successful candidate has proven experience working with NodeJS and networking multiple NodeJS servers to work together as a whole.  You will live somewhere in North America.

This position will require someone who can actively participate in implementing version 2 of our stack and become a core member of the team.  If building a system that will auto-scale to millions of users and be completely fault tolerant peek your interest, this position is for you.