Remember the big launch of our Live Guided Tour feature? It turned out to be definitely one of our superstar features. As you know, it was our big goal to keep this a free tool for everybody. So that's how we developed it: Using tech that allowed us to offer it at no cost to you and your tour guests.
Nonetheless, there were some users whose networks kept them from being able to access the free Live Guided Tour technology. Especially corporate networks and users behind strict firewalls found themselves unable to use our Peer-to-Peer technology. While statistically, that was only about 10-15% of all users (guests and hosts combined), we wanted to find a solution for them too. That's why we have developed this new TURN service for Live Guided Tours, which is based on relay servers. Without getting too technical, it basically lets you connect that specific user who was having issues connecting through the free Peer-to-Peer based Live Guided Tour tech. That could have been any of your session's guests, or even you, the host, if you were behind a strict firewall.
This new service is using external relay servers and comes with a subscription model. Here's how it works: You subscribe to one of the TURN Live Guided Tour plans, which will give you a certain amount of monthly bandwidth (10GB, 20GB, 50GB, 100GB). When hopping on a Live Guided Tour with guests, the system will always call the free Live Guided Tour tech first. If nobody has issues connecting, it'll only use the free Peer-to-Peer tech on your 3DVista Live Guided Tours. As soon as the system detects that there's a user (you or any of your guests) struggling to connect through the free Peer-to-Peer connection, it will automatically connect them through the TURN server. Only then will it consume the bandwidth contracted by you and only for that user's video and/or audio signal. That's saving you bandwidth and having to contract unnecessarily big TURN plans.
Questions & Answers
Which data is affected by the TURN plans?
If I have a lot of videos in a tour, is this data also routed through the TURN server? Will this count against my TURN bandwidth?
No. Your TURN bandwidth will not be used by the virtual tour itself. Everyone will see your tour as usual (through your tour's hosting). The TURN bandwidth will only be used for the audio and/or little video squares (if used) of your session's guests (and only those that cannot get through with the free p2p version). So if you don't have problematic users at all, none of the bandwidth gets used at all.
So, which plan's the right one for me?
We know you're gonna want to know this: How much bandwidth does this all take? The answer is (as you may expect): It depends. It depends on whether your ("problematic") user connects with video or audio only or even none of them (silent mode). It depends on that user's camera settings, so if his or her camera settings are set to high quality and high frame rate, it will consume more bandwidth than with lower quality settings. Many parameters that are hard to control or anticipate.
As one little reference: In our tests, one hour of video bandwidth with a user consumed between 700Mb's and 1GB. But, again, take that with a pinch of salt.
Don’t worry if you’re dealing with big tours: The tour size is irrelevant when selecting a TURN plan as the TURN bandwidth only gets counts against the audio/camera signal of your "problematic" users.
To read more about the different plans and to get your TURN service, click here.
Where can I see how much of the contracted bandwidth I have used up already?
In cloud.3dvista.com (available as of July 31st 2020) there's an indicator bar showing you how much bandwidth you have left for the month and you can also directly upgrade to a bigger plan if you consider it necessary.
3DVista will also send you two notification emails: One as soon as you reach 50%, and a second as soon as you reach 80% of your monthly TURN bandwidth. This gives you the option to react and upgrade your plan if you expect to surpass your monthly total. Remember that 3DVista will not upgrade or charge you automatically.
Can I get several TURN plans? One for each customer?
Absolutely. You can either get one TURN plan for all of your tours and customers combined or you can separate them and purchase individual TURN plans for individual customers or tours. That way, you can monitor the usage of each customer in more detail and potentially upgrade (and charge) those who surpass their initial plan accordingly. If you get one TURN plan, you currently won't be able to see which tour consumed which amount of bandwidth - it's going to be one global bandwidth bar for all of your tours. When using several TURN plans, make sure you insert the respective account data in the TURN section of the publish window inside each tour.
Can I still host my tours on my own server?
Yes, absolutely. That does not change.
It doesn't matter where your virtual tour is hosted (whether on 3DVista hosting or any other external hosting service of your choice). You will be able to use both the free and the TURN Live Guided Tour features alike -wherever your tour "sits".
Still having trouble?
It's important to note that the possession of a TURN plan, does not mean that the technical requirements don't apply. TURN or no TURN, a user's camera won't turn on unless they give permission in their browser! So double check the trouble shooting if any of your guests (or you) encounter any problems.