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January 6, 2022

The Future of Engagement: Videon’s Take on Low Latency Streaming and Live Video Interaction at the 2021 SVG Summit

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The sports broadcasting industry is on the brink of some major breakthroughs in live, interactive video experiences. At this year’s SVG Summit, Videon discussed the future of the industry and its content.

What is the SVG Summit?

The SVG Summit is an annual gathering of sports broadcasting professionals. It lasts for two days and consists of panels, exhibits, updates in the industry, and more.

Here are some of our key takeaways from this year’s discussions:

It’s all about the story.

SVG is an industry focused on highly impactful and engaged storytelling. Videon participates in that storytelling with our innovative video compute platform that augments the story from the moment it leaves the camera. With new content available in every corner of the industry, end-users are looking to see more, and platforms are looking to monetize all the available content. This inherently creates an industry where we start and end with the story.

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) platforms.

While live-linear streaming is still a large portion of the business, in upcoming years, more growth and technology investment will go into the DTC market. Our focus will be on personalizing content and giving clients more tools and data to increase engagement. This leads us to our next takeaway.

Creating fan engagement.

To  build community and create gamification for fans, low latency and companion streaming content are becoming industry requirements. Streaming needs to occur in more situations, from mid-week workouts to coaches’ interviews. The key lies in aggregating all of this content.

Videon case study presentation at the Summit

“Market-first: Embedding video origin timestamps in ultra-low latency live streams”

There are new leagues, tournaments, interviews, workouts, practices, and events added to the sports industry every day. Fans around the world want live access to this content, and platforms are trying to figure out ways to aggregate, produce, and monetize it. How do you bring together all of these camera endpoints? Our President and Founder, Todd Erdley, explains the current system and Videon’s invaluable edge computing solution. You can watch this case study on our resources page.

The Current Workflow

The industry has for many years relied upon sending video from the source to the cloud via the real-time messaging (RTMP) protocol. Once in the cloud, the video is produced before being distributed to the web player. While it is robust and executable, it creates many challenges for the industry. In this workflow, we cannot submit timecodes and piece together information from different sources. There needs to be a modernized protocol that cuts out the problem areas and moves the point of production closer to the source. Through edge computing and our partnership with Techex, we have found that solution.

Original workflow and the challenges that workflow creates.

Videon’s solution

At the core, we are far more than an encoder company. We are a video compute platform company. You might ask what a video compute platform is. We named our platform Edgecaster because we bring video computing to the edge of the edge. This means we bring computing to the point where the video originates. Instead of sending video to the cloud, video is sent directly from a camera or video source to EdgeCaster. Using this on-premise platform with Videon’s LiveEdge software, the solution has the ability to run custom python scripts, docker containers, and a full suite of encoding and packaging, enabling lower cloud processing costs while achieving significant latency reduction. All of this leads to a simplified workflow.

The new workflow that utilizes edge computing and putting custom python scripts on-premise and utilizing the KLV protocol.

Within this platform, we have developed computing services that also can attach key length value (KLV) timecodes through SRT files to the video. These timecodes are formatted in Network Time Protocol (NTP) and allow for standardized, accurate, stamping of video. This is where our partnership with Techex comes in. When we sidecar the files with KLV timestamps, Techex uses their management software—MWcore and MWedge—to synchronize hundreds of video endpoints with tremendous accuracy.

For all of this to be possible, our platforms need to be tied together. We do this through LiveEdge®. LiveEdge® is powered by Qualcomm and is built into EdgeCaster. It opens up our APIs so that 3rd parties can run custom python scripts and docker containers through our device. Techex uses this opportunity to run scripts for MWcore and MWedge natively and integrate with the platform.

Now that we are integrated into the cloud and are timestamped on a frame-based accurate point, users can make decisions based on the information. Decisions can range from sports betting windows to the alignment of feeds for gamification.

Our take on driving engagement with low latency streaming

Videon President and Founder Todd Erdley (far left) speaks with Sasson Pejhan of ATEME and Bill Wishon of Phenix Real-Time Solutions (far right).

In this panel, our President and Founder Todd Erdley spoke with Eamonn Armstrong of Mediakind, Sasson Pejhan of ATEME, and Bill Wishon of Phenix Real-Time Solutions about the importance of low latency streaming and the current solutions in the marketplace.

Latency defined.

We talked about what the standard for low latency is, and the truth is that it depends. What the industry does agree upon is traditional broadcast latency is about 5 seconds. While some applications do not need sub-5 second latency, other instances—such as in-game sports betting—require half-second delays.

What are the major interactive experiences achievable through low latency streaming?

In-game sports betting, synchronized watch parties, in-stadium multi-angle replays, integrated player statistics and data, and aggregated companion content all are on the horizon.

The 2021 SVG Summit was a great opportunity to meet with our friends and co-workers in the industry and talk about our leap into the future of cloud-based video streaming and production. The conversations we had there push us to continue to innovate and bolster our opinion that we are the most agile, reliable and cost-effective live video edge platform in the marketplace. Powered by Qualcomm and its transformative LiveEdge ecosystem, EdgeCaster gives live video cloud providers, integrators, and online video platforms complete control of their live feeds at video's origination at scale. Reliability, automation, orchestration and monitoring give live video operators the ability to be operationally ready and modernize their workflows for the next generation of live video content.

We have a lot of exciting new offerings coming up in the pipeline. Our partnership with Qualcomm alone gives us access to machine learning capabilities that are poised to transform the industry in support of even deeper levels of storytelling never thought possible. Stay tuned to hear our predictions for where Videon, and the industry at large, will go in 2022.

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