Interactive Live Streaming at Scale: What’s Next for Webinar Platforms

Today, 66% of all internet traffic is being driven by live-streaming video, and by 2020, that number will grow to 82%, according to research by Cisco. Rapidly-successful User Generated Content apps, like Facebook Live and Periscope, are among the driving forces behind this growth, as live video and interactive online broadcasting is being widely adopted across industries, including webinar platforms.

As a market that has been historically supported through Flash to reach large scale audiences, video conferencing tools have been seeking alternatives with the diminishing support for Flash and Google Hangouts. And, with the rapid shift to interactive video for large scale audiences, webinar platforms need to find a way to engage audiences at scale and meet the expectations of their growing customer base. So what’s the alternative?

Delivering real-time value, beginning with WebRTC

The technology that’s now widely supporting video conferencing platforms is WebRTC, which brings video-calling capabilities natively into the web or mobile browser, and doesn’t require downloading a plugin.  It includes building blocks for high-quality communications such as network, audio and video components used in video chat applications. As the global WebRTC market is projected to reach $4.8 billion by 2018 with over 2 billion users by 2019, WebRTC is sure to transform how interactive live-video is used across the world.    

Webinar developers can chose to DIY and build directly with WebRTC, but it will come at a cost. WebRTC off-the-shelf is designed for one-to-one calls, and doesn’t come with any backend infrastructure. With our OpenTok platform, developers can have the scale, support and infrastructure they need to build webinar apps for large audiences with WebRTC.

Pushing the limits of WebRTC with Interactive Broadcast

TokBox unlocks the power of WebRTC to enable true multi-party participation and flexibility for broadcasters with our Interactive Broadcast API, which we announced in March and has graduated out of beta today.

Interactive Broadcast is the first solution that combines the real-time capability of WebRTC with the scale of HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), enabling up to 3000 interactive viewers at minimal latency, and the reach of RTMP, which supports the ability to push content to social platforms, like Facebook Live and YouTube Live. Through these capabilities, broadcasters can now benefit from unmatched audience reach and create interactive experiences to engage millions of viewers at scale in real-time.

Leading webinar platform Crowdcast is using Interactive Broadcast to scale their technology and achieve their mission of helping people have meaningful live interactions with their audience. Combining a UX that customers love with powerful live video, the Crowdcast platform allows anyone to set up and run professional, high quality webinars, Q&A sessions, live courses and summits with a few easy steps and no downloads.

“Our partnership with TokBox allowed us to scale with our customers without having to manage a giant engineering team.”Cy Hossain, CEO, Crowdcast

How does Interactive Broadcast work?

Interactive Broadcast elevates live-video experiences through these core benefits:

  • Audience Reach & Scalability:
    • Reach up to 3000 viewers in real-time with minimal latency.
    • Stream to social networks, like Facebook Live, Periscope and YouTube Live to reach new audiences at scale.
  • Interactivity:
    • Unprecedented engagement and interactivity, with the ability for thousands of people to not only view, but also participate in the broadcast.
  • Quality & Control:
    • Enable a fully customizable + flexible environment, with complete control over UI
    • Leverage cross-platform compatibility with support for devices across web and mobile.
    • Access event recording and session management tools to manage your application.

It’s an exciting time to be building products that leverage WebRTC technology, as we aim to elevate real-time communication with our platform and enhance live video communication for webinar clients. Learn how customers like Kickstarter and Crowdcast are using Interactive Broadcast to reach millions through live video.  

Want to learn more? Contact us today for a quick demo and see what OpenTok can do for your business.  

Ready to start building? Head over to our Developer Center for documentation to get you started with Interactive Broadcast.

Lori Belton
Lori Belton

Lori is a Senior Product Marketer at Vonage with a passion for writing and the tech space.


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