3 more projects and companies shaping video in 2021 – Part Two

Continuing the review of video trends in 2021, if you missed part one you can read it here, in part two the following topics will be covered:

  • Connected devices advertising
  • WebRTC
  • Live video streaming
  • Low latency
  • Secure Reliable Transport and RTMP and UDP
  • React Native
  • Video mobile development

The companies talked about will be:

  1. The Trade desk
  2. Agora.io
  3. Haivision

8. The Trade Desk

Connected devices advertising

The company has seen immense growth over the past couple of years and its continuing to grow. Its stock value has increased 1000x in less than 3 years. Internet (video) ads and the technology behind it is what makes this company ever increasing in value, due also to continued and booming digital video consumption and creation. Ads in, before or after videos are constituting the main stream of revenue for many companies and its increase is clear trend that will shape the next couple of years. The ads engineering tools range from a platform that can serve ads across Connected TVs, mobile, desktop, audio only (like in podcasts) to an analytics and planner tool that can track and strategize your KPIs. Trade Desk also has a data platform, which includes a marketplace to build audiences, audience lookalike and modeling tools. Also there is an interesting data quality scoring tool to highlight the best datasets to use for a specific ad campaign. There is also a TradeDesk API through which campaigns and stats can be managed and consumed at will. The TradeDesk has more than 250+ data partners spread across the world making it a very comprehensive database. Fun fact, Trade Desk reported a growth of 20% year on year for the Italian digital ads market for the past 10 years.

The TradeDesk: digital (video) advertising platform based on data

Link to the company: https://www.thetradedesk.com

9. Agora.io

Commercial WebRTC SDK

This Chinese-American company started in 2013 has seen its boom in the recent months because of its top notch, off the shelf available WebRTC SDK. WebRTC is the technology that allows live p2p and non, video (or really any kind of data) streaming at ultra low latencies. Even though the set up from scratch has a steep learning curve, Agora.io makes it easy to drag and drop its audio video streaming modules into any app, whether its web based, native or a React Native video app. Further to React Native, the Agora SDK and client supports an API, is written for also for the Flutter and Electron frameworks. They have raised to this date around 130M$ of funding and are an important player in the real time video streaming market in 2021.
With robust backend communication engineering tuned for low latency real time video/audio streaming, abundance of documentation and drop in functionality, the Agora.io SDK is a valid commercial solution for anyone who want to enter the video streaming world professionally.

Agora.io homepage for professional video streamers

Link to the company: https://www.agora.io/en/

10. Haivision

Secure Reliable Transport protocol for video streaming

SRT or Secure Reliable Transport is a protocol written by Haivision, that they have open sourced, which is designed to optimize low latency, resiliency and high throughput in video streaming scenarios. The protocol itself can be seen as a bridge between the reliable, yet with higher delay RTMP protocol (Real Time Messaging Protocol) and a send and forget, lower delay protocol UDP (User Datagram Protocol), so to generalize we can say that SRT = RTMP + UDP. RTMP is a well established protocol for transmitting live video and audio with a acknowledgment approach where the connection between the sender and the receiver is established (hence time to do handshakes) and every packet is acknowledged, meaning that if a packet is lost, or arrives late and needs to be dropped, the sender must know that and re transmit it. Also if the connection drops for whatever reason, even briefly, in RTMP it must be reestablished between the sender and the receiver, adding delay. Delay is also added when packets need to be retransmitted, making RTMP not really ideal for low latency streaming, like for example in a football match were getting the frames as quickly as possible as they are recorded on the pitch is essential for a great user experience. So RTMP over lossy links and unstable connections overall degrades the user experience and video playback due to its nature of having to acknowledge all the packets positively and keep the connection alive. On the other hand, the UDP protocol to transmit video is more suitable for low latency because with UDP the sender just sends the packets to an endpoint as they are put on the socket, it doesn’t know or care what is happening at the receiver endpoint. This feature of UDP means that if there is a connection drop, the receiver goes offline or the packets arrive out of order at the receiver, too bad. It also means that a UDP connection is in general faster because the sender doesn’t have to establish a connection with the receiver, keep it up in case it drops, or wait for the receiver to ask for dropped packets to be retransmitted. The receiver must open a binding socket and accept the packet bursts from the sender, it must know what packet size (usually 1316 bytes, which is 7 * 188bytes, which is the normal size for a Transport Stream packet) the sender is using so the data can be parsed correctly. So UDP can be faster than RTMP, but RTMP can create a smoother experience with its acknowledging feature. So in this scenario of pros and cons, enter SRT by Haivision.

The Secure Reliable Transport developed by Haivision is a bridge between RTMP and UDP because it uses the UDP protocol underneath but adds important retransmission and connection features, like NAKs or negative acknowledgements which are sent only is something is not received (unlike RTMP which also has positive acknowledgments) and has socket parameters to control delay, constant bandwidth, connection stats (like bandwidth speed), NAK settings and a point to point mode, called Rendzevous mode to establish connections between devices behind firewalls. Also SRT has encryption is needed. The SRT library is written in C++ and the Haivision people provide documentation on how to build (requires OpenSSL and LibCrypto) for mobile and desktop devices and a sample app to test the protocol out. It is a great protocol and its adoption is increasing further into broadcast and content providers as a reliable way to deliver premium live video streams and streaming to their distribution centers, production rooms and end users. Just at the end of 2020, Haivision went public as testimony of their increasing presence in the media landscape with the SRT protocol.

Haivision Secure Reliable Transport protocol for video streaming

Link to the company: https://www.haivision.com/

Video trends in 2021 Part Three