With video increasingly become a major element of almost every application, developers clearly need to find ways to access a back-end service to deliver video to enhance the overall communications experience within any given application.
To make that easier, Twilio today unfurled a private beta of Twilio Video, a software development kit (SDK) that enables developers to stream video via a peer-to-peer connection between devices or alternatively the closest Twilio data center into any WebRTC browser.
The infrastructure services are delivered via 28 data centers distributed across seven regions around the world. Al Cook, director of product management, told ProgrammableWeb that employing a few snippets of code inside an application will enable developers to embed video without ever having to master the intricacies of real-time communications.
In addition to making video more accessible, Twilio is also making it possible to offload much of the overhead associated with delivering those video services to a cloud service. In fact, during the private beta Twilio Video is free, and Twilio says it will always make available a free tier of service after Twilio Video is generally available.
Functions being exposed by the SDK that can be deployed on Apple iOS and Google Android platforms include support for up to four-way video calls and the ability to bidirectionally switch back and forth between voice and video. Cook says the SDK itself gives developers control over the camera on the device, the microphone, and all the video and audio codecs embedded within it.
Although Cook declined to speculate on how much video traffic versus audio only traffic would be moving through the Twilio cloud service, a recent report from ACG Research that was commissioned by Ciena Networks says that demand for network bandwidth will increase fivefold through 2018 largely because of the rise of video. Most of that video will be consumed on tablets and smartphone applications, a large percentage of which Twilio is betting that developers will find simpler to make available using Twilio Video.
Of course, support for WebRTC is not as widespread as most developers would probably like at this point. But as WebRTC becomes more widely implemented across multiple browsers, communications of all types will increasingly become an exercise in invoking APIs. In the meantime, developers can start getting familiar with the nuances of embedding video inside applications today in the expectation of the simple fact that by this time next year most end users are going to expect to be able to take those capabilities for granted in almost any application they use.