Eric Dainton is the General Manager of Renaissance Rentals, a property management company based in Bloomington, Indiana. They own and manage around 750 apartments in the area, best known as home to one of the Big Ten schools, Indiana University.
One of Eric’s favorite roles within the company is marketing and finding ways to better reach prospective customers. Thanks to the company’s progressive and customer-focused nature they decided to launch a live video tour option. As many people viewing properties are unable to visit Bloomington before making a housing decision, it seemed the closest alternative to make prospective residents feel confident in their housing choice.
The search for an ideal video call solution took some time. Eric’s main consideration was that the application needed to be easy to use, something important for both staff and property viewers. Closely behind that was a universal solution, something that everyone could have access to. Eric said he considered many options including FaceTime, Google Hangouts and Skype, amongst others. However, in the end he found Gruveo to be the ideal solution for three key reasons:
Livetutor is the first company dedicated to offer online tutoring in Finland. Juha Ronkainen, Livetutor founder, came up with the idea while working in the UK as a teacher. Online tutoring is big business there and he saw a gap in the market for something similar in Finland.
Juha approached several existing firms with his idea. “Those who responded didn’t want to expand their service to Finland,” Juha says. “Finland is a relatively small market after all.” With encouragement from the co-founder of MyTutorWeb, one of the best British online tutoring companies, Juha decided to launch his own website.
I can’t think of an easier solution… I just embedded the code within our website.
One of the biggest challenges was choosing a video conferencing solution. Juha had very strict requirements and a tight budget. “Originally I was looking for a once-size-fits-all kind of a service, but none of the current solutions on the market satisfied me. Either the call quality was not good enough, or the platform was too limited,” remarked Juha.
Gruveo Pro is the world’s easiest video conferencing solution for connecting with staff no matter where they are located or how tech-savvy they are. To see what Gruveo Pro can do for your business, sign up for a free 14-day trial and see yourself.
Gruveo’s primary benefits are:
In the following case study, you’ll learn how Jason Woods, HR Director at Goodwin Company, and his team use Gruveo as a cost-effective and easy-to-use tool for intra-company communication.
Last week, we received an email from a doctor in Lisbon, Portugal on how Gruveo embeds quite literally saved his reputation with patients. The email just blew our mind, and we are publishing it here with the author’s permission.
Dear Gruveo team,
My name is Diogo Medina, I am a medical doctor from Lisbon, Portugal, and I run an online medical consultation service in my specialty of Travel Health (“Consulta do Viajante” in Portuguese).
I started my online practice in April 2015, using an online booking platform embedded into my www.consultadoviajante.com website. At the time the platform’s technical solutions promised to automatically handle bookings and payments for me, as well as to assign each appointment its own unique video chatroom, making it impossible for different patients to “walk into” each others’ consultations, or for them to contact me outside of previously scheduled appointments – as would happen in services that merely offered to give away Skype/Hangouts accounts.
However, yesterday I was shocked to find out that my platform had discontinued their proprietary private video chatroom feature, now only offering my clients either my Skype account or a link of my choosing. What is worse: I found out about this 30 minutes before my next scheduled video consultation with a patient!
First I panicked, immediately thinking about refunds and apologies – online services depend on reputation and word of mouth, and a single mishap such as this can ruin a business. However, I immediately googled “instant online video call” and came across your solution. I installed it on my website in a hurry (under https://www.consultadoviajante.com/consulta.html), and prayed to all available gods for this to solve my problem and to just work – and it did.
I have configured my website and the emails patients receive with instructions on how to join the video consultation to say they should use their national health system Personal Identification Number as the code (a number only they have access to, and that they provide me when booking appointments), thus solving the “unique” video room requirement. Also, the fact that Gruveo hosts the video chat through SSL and won’t let a 3rd person peek into the conversation makes this a perfect solution to my very specific health care business needs.
So, to sum up: Congratulations on your service, and just thank you for existing. You saved my life. I look forward to witnessing Gruveo’s growth and hope I can use it for a long time.
Dr. Diogo Medina
We are extremely proud to have helped Dr. Medina. You can add easy video calling to your site, too – all you have to do is request your embed code on this page and then add it to your page’s HTML. Try it right now!
Quick fact: This April, Gruveo monthly call minutes grew 644% year over year. Actually, we have been experiencing this 7X to 8X YoY growth every month since October last year when the iOS app was launched. (December 2014 was an exception where call minutes jumped a staggering 13X vs. December 2013.)
With this kind of growth rate, the question we began to ask ourselves was whether our infrastructure was up to the task of keeping up. An internal audit conducted in February showed that scaling Gruveo in its then-current state was problematic, so we rolled up our sleeves and got to work fixing that.
There are three main components to Gruveo (notwithstanding the iOS app), each of which would have experienced severe strain if another TechCrunch article about Gruveo came out:
The first thing we set out to address was the website. Instead of hosting it on a self-setup VPS, we refactored it into an Elastic Beanstalk app that is now hosted on AWS. With goodies such as Elastic Load Balancers and auto-scaling in place, we no longer worry about a sudden spike in traffic.
With our STUN/TURN servers, the problem that prevented us from scaling efficiently was the TURN credentials mechanism we had been using. Under the old scheme, referred to as the “Typical TURN Auth” in this presentation, the signaling server would generate TURN credentials for each connecting client and store those in a database accessible by the TURN servers. That worked, but increasing the number of TURN servers also meant having to scale the database while maintaining the signaling server – database – TURN server link.
To solve this issue, we ditched the old approach in favor of the TURN REST server API (described as “Stateless TURN Auth” at the link above). Frankly, that was like a breath of fresh air to us. No longer did we need to haul around a MySQL credentials database and worry about scaling it along; bumping up our TURN server capacity became as easy as spinning off new instances from a virtual machine image.
Having put the TURN scalability behind us, we were left with addressing one last component: the signaling server. The custom Node.js server we had in place could scale up pretty decently, but scaling out was an issue. How do we efficiently pass messages between distinct server instances?
Enter Redis and its Pub/Sub functionality where clients can subscribe to and publish messages in “channels”. By having all our Node.js server instances communicate through a Redis cluster, we solved the problem of scaling out the signaling, and also made it automated by making our signaling into just another Elastic Beanstalk app.
The result: Scalable, powerful Gruveo able to withstand whatever growth the future may bring. (And if past experience is any guide, there will be a lot.)