Next Gen CVR with auto re-connection, detailed call logs and much more..
We are super excited to inform that next generation of Centedge Video Rooms(CVR) is now live. Though this has been a minor release( v2.1), it has many important features like auto re-connection in case of a network outage at the user end, availability of detailed call logs for the meeting host in his / her dashboard and efficient video bandwidth optimisation to name a few. Apart from these important features, overall stability and usability of the video rooms have been improved greatly.
In this post, we are going to discuss the top 3 important improvements of this minor release and why we consider them important.
Network outage resiliency and Auto re-connection
In a private forum while discussing with some global experts in the WebRTC and Audio Video domain, our founder came to know that network condition in a country like India is not comparatively good like other developed countries with frequent to very frequent network outages during ongoing meetings. He also got a similar feedback from our regular users that many time the users need to rejoin a meeting due to network outage. Though the network outage only happens in the range of 2 - 30 seconds, the users audio video freezes inside the meeting. Then the user has to leave and rejoin the meeting in order to resume conversation.
A participant leaving and rejoining the meeting usually breaks the flow of the conversation while a meeting is going on and usually a recap is needed once the user rejoins the meeting. If each participant rejoin extends the meeting time by 5 -10 mins and if there are 2-3 rejoins happen in each meeting, then the meeting time is getting extended by 10 - 30 mins overall. In case a user joins 5 such meetings a day and 15 mins of additional meeting time needed for rejoin recap (which could have been avoided!) in every meeting, a total 75 mins(15% - 20%) is wasted in a 6-8 hours work day.
This made us implement the auto reconnect feature with a sense of urgency. Once implemented, it not only detects the network changes in the mobile devices(WiFi to LTE and vice versa), but also complete network outages like switching off the wifi / pulling out the Ethernet cable in the desktop computers. Once it detects a network outage, it informs all others in the meeting about a possible network outage of a participant and patiently waits for the network to comeback in the participants side. Once the network is back, it effortlessly auto reconnects the participant to the meeting and informs all others in the meeting that the participant is now back again.
The best way to test this feature for yourself is to join the demo room with a friend, switch off your wifi / pull out the Ethernet cable after a minute or 2 into the meeting, wait for 10 -30 seconds so that network will be completely dead and then switch on your wifi / reconnect your Ethernet cable to see if it can effortlessly reconnect you to the meeting again. Keep in mind that if you are not reconnecting your cable / switching on your wifi for 5 minutes, then the user will be considered permanently disconnected, no further re-connection attempt will be made and garbage collector will mark the participant as stale ready for garbage collection. The participant needs to rejoin the meeting anytime after 5 mins once his/ her network is back. The link to the demo room is here.
Detailed Call logs in the dashboard
A very important thing for the room owner is to know the detailed of past conversations that have happened. We consider details like start and end time, number of participants joined, total conversation time etc. are important for the room owner. Apart from this, there are a host of other information about each individual participant which may be of interest to the room owner. Individual participant details like name, room join time, room leave time, browser from which the participant has joined, the browser version, the operating system and network outage status. This will help the room owner understand more things about the participants in case the room is being used for small events or training sessions. A detailed rating and feedback system is in active consideration as an extension to call logs in the upcoming minor releases. There are no call logs for the demo room! Therefore if you wish to see call logs in your dashboard, you need to use your personal room or a metered room after signing up.
Efficient Video bandwidth optimisation
Efficient bandwidth optimisation is important in order to bring stability into any video conference. Every Kb of data counts when the network connection quality degrades. This is specially valid for video as video transmission is expensive on the network and encoding/decoding is heavy on the CPU of the participant device. Therefore, we have deployed a few techniques to effectively optimise bandwidth.
First we start the camera only after the participant intends to / allowed to share his / her video camera in side the meeting. Else it is a audio only conversation. Previously we used to acquire the camera at the start of the meeting if the user has camera but don't share the camera stream with other participants until the participant intends to / allowed to share his / her video camera. This technique used to consume 50Kbps to 80Kbps of extra bandwidth from the participant side to send the blank video frames to server through out the meeting. In a ideal network condition, this technique has no problem but when network condition degrades, this extra 50 Kbps of data become a burden on the already choked network.Therefore we now only acquire the camera when it is really necessary and start the video transmission.
Once the video transmission is started, we have used a second technique called simulcast to send 3 video qualities to the server from the sender and decide at the server to select the video quality to send to the receiver based on the network quality of the receiver. This helps in efficient upgrade / downgrade of the video quality of the receiver with a goal to keep the receiver connected to the meeting at least with audio.
The 3rd technique we have used is to develop a small algorithm to calculate the real time bit-rate every participant is sending and receiving and then attaching a colour code to it. It informs everybody inside a meeting about everybody's network capacity in real time. Anytime a participant's colour turns red, everybody else inside meeting recognises about the possibility of a network outage for that participant.
We are not able to write details about all the other improvements due to limitation on time and resources currently available with us. If you have visited the CVR some time ago, then it is a good time to visit again.
Link to CVR is here.
We are reachable on email at email@example.com if you wish to know more about CVR or Centedge. If you are interested in running a dedicated version of CVR for your enterprise use, in a custom Centedge subdomain like meet or you want to run it on your own domain like www.xyz.com, feel free to let us know. Also feel free to get in touch with us If you are looking for similar or new feature implementations in your existing services using WebRTC for video conferencing or live streaming.
You also can chat with us using the chat widget on this website. We typically respond within 5 minutes or sooner for chat and 1 day (max.) for email. Here is our LinkedIn page to stay connected.
Happy to help.