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What I learned from the Kranky Geek Event

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

Cjf3xERyThe 2nd Kranky Geek WebRTC Event was held at Google San Francisco a week ago and I’m still recovering. Many thanks to the sponsors Google/Twilio/IBM/Atlassian and to the 230 folks who showed up (including those who patiently waited for space to open up) and as well speakers who we annoyed with questions as we honed the agenda. We had another 100 or so who attended the YouTube livecast and you can watch the YouTube segments here and see the presentations on SlideShare.

But what did we learn?

The browser vendors sans Apple, are all working to incorporate real time communications in their products. It’s a messy business, lots of little details, worries and internal fighting (that you and I don’t see). The goal though is to make it easier for a developer to incorporate communications into their application. The current focus is on heading off security concerns, doing things faster and doing it all with less CPU and power requirements (think mobile).

While the technical audience shifted in their seats and got slightly annoyed, we had a handful of sprints with businesses explaining how they’re using WebRTC today. Real businesses with real paying customers where they’ve inserted WebRTC into their application for a real purpose. Links for freshdesk, and skedans.

Let me summarize the speakers and provides direct links to the video.

Arin Sime – webrtc ventures – we purposely left off a WebRTC tutorial for this event so Arin dove right into the API to WebRTC and a focus on impact to the user depending on the decisions you made. This is a good starting point for a fast intro to WebRTC.

Jeff Sloyer – IBM Bluemix – did a demonstration of how you could capture audio and easily create automatic transcriptions of a conversation. OK since IBM was sponsor, you could write this off as a vendor pitch, but Jeff got one of the highest audience grades for his talk. Searching recorded voice has always been difficult and expensive and I continue to think there are numerous applications if we could break these barriers. Bluemix is certainly on the right path.

Nils Ohlmeier – Mozilla – another well received talk, Nils walked thru some interesting demos (you can watch as well on the video) about overlaying video with some interesting effects. This was a typical wow that was a neat talk and I can’t wait to see how a developer could take these further.

Amitha Pulijala – Oracle – Oracle was not a sponsor of the event so we weren’t under pressure to put them on stage, however I had seen some of their talks on customer experience management and felt wow these folks have a much deeper understanding  on the finer points in experience management and wanted you to hear them as well. Well done!

Emil Ivov – Atlassian – you can’t talk for long about WebRTC video without Emil’s name coming up. Emil has the scars from years of working with video and continues to play a major role in the evolution of standards and contributor on open source initiatives. Emil is also a lively and interesting speaker and presents information that even I can follow along.

Philipp Hancke – &yet – fippo (as all know him) is omnipresent in the WebRTC world and is well known for his articles on where he methodologically dismantles a WebRTC application. I only understand about 15% of what fippo talks to me about, which means you’ll find great value in his talk (and blog articles as well).

Rob Braizer – Twilio – Twilio’s name was mentioned often during the day to the point we all felt like we were covered in those little red dots, however the reality is Twilio has quietly become a hub for many WebRTC services that are in full production. With that Twilio has had to contend with scale. Rob shared some internal factoids on their scale (impressive on their own), issues they’ve had to confront and how they had to resolve. Quite interesting.

Google WebRTC Team – Kranky Geek is where Justin Uberti uses his entire spoken allotment for the year and thus the room falls silent as the Google team talks. You have to appreciate the energy from the Google WebRTC team to do this right and be impacting to a global change in communications.

Trent Johnsen – Hookflash + Bernard Aboba via video (Microsoft) – since Day 1 of WebRTC, the default question has been “Where is Microsoft?”, well wait no longer, Microsoft is coming on board with their contributions on ORTC (now officially WebRTC NV) which has wide industry support. This is all about expanding WebRTC with thing like object level access and enhanced mobile access. While too early for Kranky Geek, Microsoft announced yesterday their support in Microsoft Edge.

Tim Panton – WestHawk Consulting – we closed again with Tim Panton. Tim’s talk always begins with you wondering whether “outpatient care” is really working as he weaves a very complex story of random bits n’ bobs. But stay with the story, he brings it all back together in a flashy finish that had the audience on the edge. A nice way for the day to end.