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Integrating Skype like video

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  • Integrating Skype like video

    Given the virus/social distancing situation, I have been asked if I could include video conferencing functionality. In short, this would be for courts so defendants and attorneys can appear from home. I know it may be a long shot, but it would be great if this could work.

  • #2
    Re: Integrating Skype like video

    How would that be better than two people simply using Skype or some other conferencing program as is?

    If it is a webbased conference feature, then you could probably stick it into an iframe on a page. You might also look for any conferencing programs that have an API you can use to integrate.

    But that seems like a long way to go for very little benefit.


    • #3
      Re: Integrating Skype like video

      Is this for court reporting?

      Consider gotomeeting or any other existing system that can record the session. Most do.
      Al Buchholz
      Bookwood Systems, LTD
      Weekly QReportBuilder Webinars Thursday 1 pm CST

      Occam's Razor - KISS
      Normalize till it hurts - De-normalize till it works.
      Advice offered and questions asked in the spirit of learning how to fish is better than someone giving you a fish.
      When we triage a problem it is much easier to read sample systems than to read a mind.
      "Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler."
      Albert Einstein


      • #4
        Re: Integrating Skype like video

        Thanks for the replies Larry and Al. I believe you are both correct, if time were not a factor, I suspect API programmers better than I could tweak or integrate existing conferencing solutions to accomplish what is needed. Similar court appearance (not just reporting) software/apps/devices are out there but none address completely the unique issues presented by Corona and prison courts specifically. Here is a very rough outline of the app:

        - The participants are prosecutors, defense attorneys, Inmates, judge, reporter and clerk .

        - each login will create a record in a session table

        - each participant type will have different controls to select a session to "chat" with, eg.,

        - Judge selects sessions for a hearing
        - defense attorney can select inmate for confidential chat or DA for negotiation. (Unique to prison courts, there are just a few DAs and defense attorneys handle all the cases).
        - reporters and clerks just observe
        - Inmates will have no controls except a guard will enter the name - just sit them in front of an iPad.

        I have built a Facebook video "browsing" app in Alpha previously and am confident I could accomplish the above in Alpha in a few days. (Alpha is wickedly RAD). But, the last one I suspect is either undoable or beyond my skill set even with forum input.

        - Include a field in the session table that will allow for the display of the participants cam when their session is selected. (The actual connection code is "constructed" in java or mysql as was done with the FB app). I am looking at webRTC but I have no experience with that kind of programming.

        If it were not for the quick onset of the nationwide "shutdown", I would not be trying this. But, my court is struggling right now trying to reconcile constitutional rights with public health. I would like to help.


        • #5
          Re: Integrating Skype like video

          You could create a unique GoToMeeting link and save that in each session record. Then each participant could click on that link to meet.

          Creating the link would likely be a manual process - though there may be an API for it, but even manually it should only take a moment for each one and you could keep the participants to just those with the right access.


          • #6
            Re: Integrating Skype like video

            Thanks for the advice Larry. However, the integration of GoToMeeting is not feasible given that the participants are not tech savvy at all and have never used it before. Managing their accounts and attempts sounds a nightmare. I have only sporadically used it myself. So, learning it and figuring the API, if there is one, is more than I can undertake in the short time window.

            I think this is one I am going to walk away from. If there was a way to (relatively) simply address and inject the cam output, I would take a swing as the rest seems a straightforward fun build.


            • #7
              Re: Integrating Skype like video

              I've tested this and works fine, you may need to speak to them about your pricing needs. Anyhow worth a look.
              Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
              Albert Einstein, (attributed)
              US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)


              • #8
                Re: Integrating Skype like video

                Thanks Pete. I took a look. Tokbox uses webRTC (realTimeCommunication) and I am sure this could be made to work with their APIs and servers handling the streams. If only I was a more well rounded programmer.....


                • #9
                  Re: Integrating Skype like video

                  After getting into TokBox and starting an app, I update because this is extremely simple and potentially useful to others in this social distancing environment. TokBox was easy once I saw that the custom feature APIs with server token calls (whatever that is) was one of two options. The other is a simple embed with one line of HTML code built by TokBox. It does need to be "concated" to accomplish room naming on the fly. e.g. I am using "court name" + "Department" for unique room names.

                  Almost any app could integrate ad hoc meetings among employees and customers with no 3rd party friction in a few days of development in most cases.

                  It is just so simple, I am already about 50% done with a working app with no bells of course. We shall see how it works in practice.

                  I have not completely figured what the pricing from TokBox will be for hearings but it's got to be a small fraction of the cost saving.

                  Thank you Pete for pointing me in the right direction! It is very much appreciated.


                  • #10
                    Re: Integrating Skype like video

                    Yep I'm using for a Multidimensional health Video conferencing app, provider, specialist, translator, nurse concurrent and database. Very cool. Glad it helped.
                    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
                    Albert Einstein, (attributed)
                    US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)


                    • #11
                      Is there anything new to report on the use of TokBox? It looks like they have been taken over by Vonnage. I am very interested in being able to used a video feed in a field app to connect with someone monitoring the process back in the office.


                      • #12
                        It's coming as a UX control in Alpha, looks great.
                        Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
                        Albert Einstein, (attributed)
                        US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)


                        • #13
                          Very cool Pete. Will the streaming be handled by the Alpha server or a third party?


                          • #14
                            3rd Party it in the latest Official Release now.
                            Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
                            Albert Einstein, (attributed)
                            US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)


                            • #15
                              Here it is ...
                              Alpha Anywhere v12. Build 8000-5628 IIS v10.0 on Windows Server 2019 Std in Hyper-V