Uncategorized Archives - Page 2 of 3 - Gruveo

Category Archives for Uncategorized

Important Changes to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions

As Gruveo continues growing in popularity, it is inevitable that our core promise of secure and anonymous video calling may begin to attract some users with, let’s say, questionable intentions. With this in mind, we feel that it’s important for us to be even clearer on our privacy practices, as well as to state our stance on any illegal activities involving Gruveo.

It has long been stated in Article 6 of our Terms and Conditions that any illegal use of Gruveo will be investigated. Today, we are making it crystal clear by adding the language that reserves our right to cooperate with appropriate law enforcement agencies about any illegal activities conducted via Gruveo.

Our anonymity promise remains unaffected. In fact, we have updated our Privacy Policy to provide better details on our logging practices, as well as on our usage of analytics services, e.g. the employment of IP address anonymization in Google Analytics.

Our goal with Gruveo is a safe place for your communications that also respects your privacy. We feel that today’s changes bring us closer to that goal.

The new Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions are effective immediately. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Make Your Direct Code 10x More Useful with Call Notifications

Update October 14, 2016: Gruveo Instant Connect for Chrome now makes browser call notifications even more prominent by making them work in the background as well as adding a proper ringing sound to them.

Direct Gruveo codes are like phone numbers, just a whole lot better. With a direct code, you can receive incoming video and voice calls from anyone without them having to install software or create an account. Tell a customer to enter your @code on Gruveo or go to www.gruveo.com/@code, and there you are, receiving that as an incoming call.

For direct codes to be truly useful, you need to know when the other party is calling you without keeping the Gruveo tab (or the Gruveo app) open. That’s where our handy incoming call notifications come in. You can enable them in your browser on desktop and Android, or in our iOS app if you have an iPhone or an iPad.

Enabling Browser Notifications

Most modern browsers are capable of showing system notifications. Gruveo takes advantage of this to alert you of an incoming call on your direct code even if you don’t have the Gruveo tab open. Browser notifications work in the web version of Gruveo in Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari (limited functionality) on desktop – as well as in Chrome, Firefox and Opera on Android. Continue reading

What Are Direct Gruveo Codes?

Direct Gruveo Link
Last week, we announced something exciting coming to Gruveo, and the time has come to lift the curtain a little.

Next Monday, we will be launching direct Gruveo codes – a new way to use Gruveo for easy video and voice calling that is bound to make phone numbers a thing of the past.

What are the direct codes?

Unlike a traditional one-time code that anyone can use to establish a Gruveo call, a direct code – for example, @john – belongs only to you. Whenever somebody enters “@john” on Gruveo or follows your Gruveo link (www.gruveo.com/@john), you receive that as an incoming call which you can answer in the Gruveo app or on the Gruveo website.

Think of a direct Gruveo code as a supercharged toll-free phone number that your clients, customers or simply friends can use to instantly get connected to you without installs or accounts. Better yet, direct codes will be free to get and use, no strings attached.

Registration is opening on June 27th. Direct codes will be available on the first-come, first-served basis, so make sure to grab the perfect one for yourself or your business quickly! We are not holding anything back so even single-letter direct codes like @x will be available on day 1.

Learn more about direct Gruveo codes over here:

[button_1 text=”Direct%20Codes%20Explained%20›” text_size=”20″ text_color=”#ffffff” text_bold=”N” text_letter_spacing=”0″ subtext_panel=”N” text_shadow_panel=”Y” text_shadow_vertical=”1″ text_shadow_horizontal=”0″ text_shadow_color=”#000000″ text_shadow_blur=”0″ styling_width=”25″ styling_height=”15″ styling_border_color=”#dd7103″ styling_border_size=”1″ styling_border_radius=”15″ styling_border_opacity=”100″ styling_shine=”Y” styling_gradient_start_color=”#ffbe6b” styling_gradient_end_color=”#dd7103″ drop_shadow_panel=”Y” drop_shadow_vertical=”1″ drop_shadow_horizontal=”0″ drop_shadow_blur=”1″ drop_shadow_spread=”0″ drop_shadow_color=”#000000″ drop_shadow_opacity=”50″ inset_shadow_panel=”Y” inset_shadow_vertical=”0″ inset_shadow_horizontal=”0″ inset_shadow_blur=”0″ inset_shadow_spread=”1″ inset_shadow_color=”#fece94″ inset_shadow_opacity=”50″ align=”center” href=”https://about.gruveo.com/direct/”/]

 

Gruveo for Android – What Are The Features?

There is not long to go until the official launch of the Gruveo Android app on June 7. So what’s in the package?

Look ma, no browser! Make video and voice calls with Gruveo without having to launch a browser on your Android device.

100% compatible. Call Gruveo users on desktop, iOS and Android.

Background mode. Easily switch to a different app while remaining on your Gruveo call.

Text chat. Send and receive text messages, complete with our cool smileys.

Switchable sound output. Make Gruveo use your phone speaker, headset, or the loudspeaker.

Push notifications. Receive a notification when the other person joins the call, so no waiting around!

Look out for more updates in the coming days 🙂

Is WebRTC the Future of Video Conferencing?

webrtc-logo-vert-retro-255x305WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communications) is an open source technology which allows two browsers to connect natively for peer-to-peer video and audio calls. Calling is possible without needing to download any additional software or install plugins…straight from your browser!

Where did WebRTC come from? In May 2011 an open source project was released by Google. With massive help from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) there was ongoing work to standardize protocols and improve browser APIs.                                               Progress is still being made today.

The fact that WebRTC offers JavaScript APIs means it can be fully integrated into web apps, enabling a variety of functionalities to be possible. WebRTC can also be used on mobile devices, either via an app or directly via the browser on Android phones.

So how does it work? WebRTC works peer-to-peer, meaning that it isn’t necessary for the signal to be relayed via a server. Call quality is often far superior to some previous solutions, where servers can be positioned in far-flung locations, leading to lag. WebRTC providers package this technology into easy-to-use systems which intelligently determine how to best stream (and relay, if necessary) the media from one user to the other, optimizing call quality and limiting latency.

There are several key benefits of using WebRTC over previous solutions for video conferencing:

Security

A rising concern in business, a high level of security is often top of the list when IT departments are considering new software. In WebRTC it is impossible to have an unencrypted call. Even if a TURN server is required to relay the media stream, calls still remain encrypted end-to-end.

If an even higher level of control is required it is also possible to have a system using WebRTC installed directly on the company servers, operating within your own firewall. This enables both security and ease of use within a company and is ideal if you operate from more than one site.

Improved Call Quality

As discussed before, you will probably find the call quality with a WebRTC-based platform superior, especially if you are calling a location not very geographically far away. This is because peer-to-peer technology operates directly from your computer or phone to the person you are calling. If there are any problems relaying the call, that’s when the TURN servers spring into action. Due to providers often having numerous servers in different locations around the world, call quality is generally well maintained.

Ease of Use

If you have ever used a WebRTC-based app, one thing you may notice is how surprisingly easy it is to use. You don’t need to install anything…you can use it straight out the box. And it can be as simple as pressing the call button and sending a link or code over to the other party for almost instant video conferencing.

This ease of use makes WebRTC perfect for the workplace, general calls with technophobic friends and family, or integrating into a website for easy use for customers or clients.

Versatility

Due to the benefits and ease of use, there are many situations where a WebRTC-based app is the perfect solution for a company:

Example 1: Intra-Company Video Conferencing

I’m sure you’re aware of the benefits of video conferencing. WebRTC is unlike many previous solutions as no installs are required. This makes video calling both easily accessible and universally available for your co-workers.

A WebRTC-based app can be installed on your company intranet. This allows instant calls within a company and is perfect for departments such as HR to easily chat to colleagues, especially those at different sites.

Example 2: Talk to Customers via Your Webpage

A WebRTC app can also be used directly from your company website. This is a great customer service solution and more personable than a phone call. If you need to talk to external clients it’s also a professional way to host a video call, especially if the app can be company branded.

Example 3: Video Conferencing On the Go

As more and more companies operate with staff in the field or based at home, video conferencing is a great way for teams to keep in touch. WebRTC-based apps can be used via 3G networks on tablets and smartphones for access wherever you go.

So is WebRTC the future of video conferencing? With all the benefits of this technology it certainly seems that way. It is predicted that it will be available on 6 billion devices by the end of 2019, so chances are you are going to be hearing a lot about WebRTC over the next few years. With the variety of ways this technology can be utilized it is quite certain that video conferencing will be used even more extensively in companies all over the world.

Gruveo Business uses WebRTC technology to deliver the ideal solution for video conferencing. Want to find out more? Visit our Business site here.

3 Video Conferencing Nightmares for an IT Department…(And How to Fix Them)

VC Nightmares

You get a new app or system for the company, you go through the installation and user training. It’s ready to be used by everyone.

And you know – you just KNOW with absolute certainty, that this new tech is going to unleash a flood of daily support ticket requests. They will range from the most basic questions about how to turn it on to more complex ones.

That is exactly the case with video conferencing.

Today, video conferencing is a fact of business life. It is a must-have strategic tool that is quickly finding its way into every conference room and office.

Of course that means more support requests. Many more.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

We have prepared a free “10 Point Video Conferencing User Guide Checklist” that you can download and distribute to all users, no matter what solution you use. It will definitely help minimize the flow of tickets you have to deal with.

Type your email below to get instant access:

[optin_box style=”10″ alignment=”center” disable_name=”Y” email_field=”email” email_default=”Enter your email address” integration_type=”activecampaign” double_optin=”Y” signup_form_id=”17″ thank_you_page=”https://about.gruveo.com/business/gruveo-demo-it/” list=”1″ name_field=”first_name” name_default=”Enter your first name” name_required=”Y” opm_packages=””][optin_box_field name=”headline”]Here’s The Headline For The Box[/optin_box_field][optin_box_field name=”paragraph”]PHA+TG9yZW0gaXBzdW0gZG9sb3Igc2l0IGFtZXQsIGNvbnNlY3RldHVyIGFkaXBpc2NpbmcgZWxpdC4gRG9uZWMgdmVsIG51bmMgbm9uIGxhY3VzIHZlbmVuYXRpcyBjb21tb2RvLjwvcD4K[/optin_box_field][optin_box_field name=”top_color”]undefined[/optin_box_field][optin_box_button type=”0″ button_below=”Y”]Get Instant Access[/optin_box_button] [/optin_box]

The following is a list of some of the most common problems we hear about and what you can do about them in your organization.

  1. “Murphy’s Glitch” – You’ve heard of Murphy’s law? If something CAN go wrong it probably WILL go wrong? Well, Murphy’s Glitch states that if something can glitch during your video conferencing session, it likely will glitch.

The list of potential glitches is long. It includes connectivity issues, setup problems, and audio and visual breakdowns.

Solution: Recommend that users spend 5-10 minutes before their scheduled video conference to fire up the system, check its performance and ensure they know their way around.

Additionally, they should schedule an extra 5 minutes into the beginning of their live session to work out any problems they may experience once the session begins. That way, if glitches do arise and time is spent fixing them, the time won’t feel wasted.

  1. What came first? The Non-intuitive User Interface or the Clueless Users?

Too many video conferencing solutions are counterintuitive and deliver aggravatingly complicated user experiences.

It is not uncommon for many video conferencing users to not even know how to start a video session. And when they do, they often become overwhelmed by all of the (unnecessary secondary) features.

Additionally, the average user is typically uninformed about important “under-the-hood” technology issues, including bandwidth and CPU, which directly impact session quality.

Solution: Train people on the core elements of the system.

But one-time is not enough.

The training needs to be ongoing. Not everyone uses video conferencing all of the time. So if there is a lag between the time someone is trained and the time they actually use the system, he or she will likely forget how to use it and may then avoid using it altogether (leading to another common problem – adoptability).

It is helpful to have ongoing training in the form of webinars, videos, and an easy-to-follow 1-page cheat sheet, which should all be saved in one shared location.

  1. Lagging or Dropped Audio – one of the biggest annoyances during a videoconferencing session is glitchy, delayed or dropped audio.

It is a session breaker.

Unbeknownst to many, a prime culprit of this is their computer’s system resources such as CPU, RAM and bandwidth. Your average employee has no idea what that even is.

But if the system resources begin to get consumed – say by a bloated antivirus suite – a smooth video session can suddenly break down and turn into a ni…g..h……t..ma…..re.

Solution: Choose an antivirus suite for your company that’s easier on the machine’s resources. If you can’t, at least let your users know that the antivirus software can impede the connection. Additionally, tell them to close all unnecessary applications and browser tabs to free up as much CPU and RAM as possible.

Those are just 3 common problems that can end up building up in your support ticket queue.

As you can see, primary antidote to these problems is education. Provide your users with lots of video tutorials, recorded webinars, FAQs, and cheat sheets all stored in a single location such as your company’s Google Drive.

We have prepared a free “10 Point Video Conferencing User Guide Checklist” that you can download and distribute to all users, no matter what solution you use. It will definitely help minimize the flow of tickets you have to deal with.

Type your email below to get instant access:

[optin_box style=”10″ alignment=”center” disable_name=”Y” email_field=”email” email_default=”Enter your email address” integration_type=”activecampaign” double_optin=”Y” signup_form_id=”17″ thank_you_page=”https://about.gruveo.com/business/gruveo-demo-it/” list=”1″ name_field=”first_name” name_default=”Enter your first name” name_required=”Y” opm_packages=””][optin_box_field name=”headline”]Here’s The Headline For The Box[/optin_box_field][optin_box_field name=”paragraph”]PHA+TG9yZW0gaXBzdW0gZG9sb3Igc2l0IGFtZXQsIGNvbnNlY3RldHVyIGFkaXBpc2NpbmcgZWxpdC4gRG9uZWMgdmVsIG51bmMgbm9uIGxhY3VzIHZlbmVuYXRpcyBjb21tb2RvLjwvcD4K[/optin_box_field][optin_box_field name=”top_color”]undefined[/optin_box_field][optin_box_button type=”0″ button_below=”Y”]Get Instant Access[/optin_box_button] [/optin_box]

Scale or Die: How We Made Gruveo Scalable

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.)

Chart of Gruveo monthly call minutes

Gruveo monthly call minutes since Aug. 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 web server serving the Gruveo web app, as well as the blog and static pages such as the FAQ
  • The signaling server used for matching WebRTC endpoints and forwarding messages between them
  • The STUN/TURN servers that help in NAT traversal and relay encrypted media traffic when a P2P connection between clients cannot be established.

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.)

Off to a Great Start

The Gruveo iOS app was launched just two days ago, and we already have so many news to share.

First, the story about Gruveo hitting iOS was published by TechCrunch, which immediately sent ripples all over the Internet. Thank you guys!

Next, since its release, the Gruveo app has been downloaded in 70 countries all over the world. People from 51 countries have already used Gruveo to make calls on their iOS device.

Over the past day, 32% of all calls on Gruveo were made using the iOS app, and we expect the growth of the app’s share to continue.

And finally, a great many people have discovered Gruveo for the first time over these days. Here is what some of them had to say:

 

We are humbled and honored by this feedback and are super charged to continue bringing our easy, secure video calls to people across the globe.

Thank you for being a part of it!