Top 8 R&D Partnership Cases in Video Streaming
During a recent meeting with a partner company, we had an engaging conversation. They expressed their surprise when we encouraged them to reach out with requests for missing features or to share specific challenges they encounter while serving their customers, even if there are no readily available solutions in the market. Their perspective was straightforward: they preferred seeing a list of existing features or a roadmap for upcoming ones. To them, developing new or unique features seemed like a task for custom development, not something a product-focused company should handle.
We can understand their viewpoint. Many businesses often resort to a “copy-paste” strategy, adopting off-the-shelf solutions and technologies from other companies to avoid the complexities of innovation. While this approach may yield short-term success, it ultimately keeps the company in the shadows of industry leaders who continuously forge ahead, creating revolutionary products. Following this well-worn path can eventually lead to a loss of relevance and customer interest, which can negatively impact the business.
Our philosophy differs from this approach. We firmly believe that by advancing hand in hand with our customers and co-developing solutions, we can bring unique products and solutions to life that haven’t yet graced the market. We are convinced that only through joint investments in development and fearless experimentation can we contribute to making the world a better place, not just for ourselves but for our valued customers as well.
We understand that our product may not always be the perfect fit for every customer or for addressing unique challenges. However, we also recognize that our partners possess a deeper understanding of the end-users who will utilize the service built upon our products. This is precisely where Flussonic R&D partnership steps in, providing a versatile avenue for innovation that harmoniously blends the advantages of a product-oriented approach with the capabilities of tailored development. The cornerstones of this process have been engineering expertise, transparency, close collaboration with customers, and the effective utilization of technical tools like OpenAPI and telemetry.
Table of Contents
Engineering and Customer Collaboration: Making it Simple
90% of Software Meets the Basics, the Other 10% is Special.
At Flussonic, we take a practical, hands-on approach to software development. About 90% of our software meets the fundamental customer requirements, and the remaining 10% is where things get exciting. This is where our customers become active participants in creating unique, market-critical features through close collaboration and experimentation.
Custom Development: Waiting for Results
When All You Have is a Statement of Work (SOW)
Custom development often involves the client handing us a set of instructions (SOW) and waiting for the final product. They’re focused on the end result, not the nitty-gritty of how it’s made. This approach can sometimes lead to a lack of transparency, making it hard to provide feedback at different stages of development.
R&D Partnership: Real Collaboration
Let’s Clear Up the Mystery
Unlike custom development, where everything can feel uncertain, R&D partnerships offer flexibility and reliability. Flussonic, with its expertise in video streaming, doesn’t just offer off-the-shelf solutions; we provide true collaboration between technical teams, making the process transparent and interactive. Say goodbye to the mystery of development!
From Project Plans to Task Descriptions: A Better Way Forward
In traditional custom development, clients hand over a Statement of Work (SOW) and simply expect a final product from the developers. This method often creates a divide between the client and the development team and doesn’t always meet the needs of both sides.
In contrast, when engaging in an R&D partnership, there’s a strong emphasis on close collaboration between the client and the developer.
Instead of rigid SOWs, the client provides a task description, explaining what they aim to achieve. What’s critical is that the client offers feedback in real time as the tools are being developed. This approach fosters a more flexible relationship between both parties and enables quicker responses to changes and customer requirements.
Collaboration and Openness: Our Guiding Principles
Embracing Customer Openness as a Core Value
In an R&D partnership, developers and clients are active collaborators in the development process. Instead of rigid Terms of Reference (TOR), clients provide task descriptions and articulate their real objectives. Why? So developers can fully grasp how the end product will be used.
Real-time Feedback: The Power of Active Communication
Openness in Action
In an R&D partnership, clients provide feedback directly as the product takes shape. This feedback loop operates in real time, enabling swift adjustments and improvements.
Transparency and Understanding: A Clearer Picture
A Deeper Understanding
R&D partnerships provide clients with transparency into the development process. They can witness the ongoing work, understand planned steps, and appreciate the reasoning behind chosen approaches. This eliminates the need to wait for sporadic updates and offers clients a project roadmap with more frequent progress updates.
Making Progress Visible with Telemetry
Technical tools like telemetry are pivotal in R&D partnerships. For instance, if a client wants a stream to play on 100 TVs, telemetry can easily confirm that it’s running successfully on 120 TVs. This not only enhances transparency but also assures clients that their requirements are being met.
OpenAPI: Ensuring Stability and Consistency
OpenAPIs serve as “contracts” that ensure the stability and consistency of functionality. These contracts not only secure ongoing support for specific features but also keep you informed about upcoming changes. This is valuable for technical directors, programmers, and administrators, offering transparency and predictability for customers.
Innovative R&D Partnerships: Sharing the Benefits
Collaboration That Opens Doors for Everyone
The outcomes of our collaborative efforts with customers become integral components of our ready-to-use product, accessible to the entire market. This serves as a prime example of how R&D partnerships drive innovation and yield advantages for all parties involved.
Here are the top 8 features that have emerged in our products, thanks to collaborative R&D projects and joint investments in development with our valued customers.
1. Multiplexer: A Game-Changer
Our R&D partnership and collaboration with a major broadcaster led to the development of a multiplexer within the Flussonic Media Server. In this scenario, the broadcaster faced the need to modernize its multiplexing equipment, and choosing a new supplier was a top priority.
Through our ongoing collaboration, we crafted a “software-defined” multiplexer solution. This innovation empowers the creation of multiprogram MPEG-TS streams (MPTS) that adhere to the requirements for satellite or cable network transmission. What’s noteworthy is that no specialized hardware is needed to utilize this multiplexer; a standard server will suffice.
2. WebRTC: Revolutionizing Real-Time Communication
Our journey with WebRTC began in 2014. Starting in 2016, in collaboration with a company specializing in adult streaming, we embarked on the development of UGC (User-Generated Content) solutions that enable seamless real-time interactions between creators (models) and viewers, regardless of their communication channels.
The outcome of this partnership resulted in a comprehensive WebRTC stack within the Flussonic Media Server. This stack encompasses adaptive bitrate capabilities, a ready-to-use player, the ability to utilize canvas for customizing the visual presentation of streams, WHIP/WHEP protocols, load balancing, and a multitude of other features. Now, the WebRTC stack is accessible to all our clients and finds applications in various fields, from live event streaming to remote education and telemedicine. It opens up vast opportunities for innovation and project development.
3. Corporate Broadcasting: Capturing H.323 Signals
A prominent bank faced a challenge: they needed a web-based videoconferencing solution to complement their costly Polycom and Cisco-based VCS system. Traditionally, they installed cameras and screens in their offices, an expensive approach that couldn’t guarantee participation from all employees.
Our client’s vision was to connect all 700 bank branches nationwide through a versatile video portal for storing video management messages, training resources, and events. Through our collaborative R&D partnership, we introduced call and video capture capabilities over the H.323 VoIP protocol to the Flussonic Media Server, ensuring compatibility with Polycom devices. This transformation made corporate broadcasting more efficient, enabled widespread access to critical information for employees, and resulted in substantial savings, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars in reduced hardware costs.
4. Embracing MSS Protocol for Enhanced TV Services
Our customer specializes in crafting video platforms for operators, broadcasters, and media companies, empowering them to swiftly introduce interactive TV services across Europe. These services offer a complete content experience, encompassing live TV, time-shifted TV, video on demand, and the ability to catch up on missed programs.
Crucially, our customer needed to ensure compatibility with LG’s WebOS-enabled TVs to play MSS content. To address this challenge and replace their existing media server, they turned to us for a solution.
Through close collaboration, we successfully integrated MSS protocol support into the Flussonic Media Server. Our customers can now enjoy video playback using this protocol, select specific audio and video tracks, utilize DVR catch-up functionalities, and have control over the time window for rewinding MSS streams. Flussonic goes the extra mile by delivering TTML-formatted subtitles to MSS output streams, covering subtitles, closed captions, and teletext. Most importantly, Flussonic Media Server supports playing live, DVR, and VOD content over the MSS protocol with DRM protection, ensuring a secure and versatile viewing experience.
5. OCR Subtitle Recognition: Enhancing Accessibility
Our collaboration with a partner, an IT company that develops platforms for TV and OTT services in regions where subtitling is legally mandated, led us to introduce OCR subtitle recognition in the Flussonic Media Server. This feature allows for the recognition of DVB subtitles and their conversion into the WebVTT format, making them accessible on browsers and various devices.
6. Advertising Insertion: Making Broadcasts Profitable
In partnership with a TV channel client, we’ve innovated the capability to seamlessly insert ads into live broadcasts through the OTT platform. We’ve effectively addressed the challenge of replacing unpaid spots with program announcements and personalized ad insertions based on user profiles. This collaboration has significantly expanded Flussonic’s functionality for server-side ad insertion (SSAI), encompassing ad preparation, ad insertion tag interpretation, integration with personalization systems, and scheduled or SCTE-tagged ad insertion. Flussonic Media Server supports tagging standards such as SCTE-35, SCTE-104, DTMF, and maintains compatibility with various protocols, making advertising integration a breeze.
7. NVR for ATM Surveillance: Protecting Assets and Customers
In partnership with a major bank, we successfully addressed the challenge of establishing a distributed video surveillance system for ATMs. This solution offers real-time monitoring and access to archived recordings through users’ personal accounts. To achieve this, we enhanced the capabilities of the Flussonic Watcher network video recorder (NVR), enabling video stream recording directly at the ATM sites, resulting in substantial internet traffic savings.
Our improvements also included archive replication and upload, user management, camera additions, real-time monitoring, screenshot capture, and statistics uploads. These enhancements enabled the bank to efficiently carry out video surveillance, ensuring the security of both its ATMs and customers.
Today, the Watcher NVR functionality is readily available to other companies with a distributed structure seeking a centralized and cost-effective solution. This includes telecom operators, large geographically dispersed enterprises, gas station chains, retailers, and many others who can benefit from this innovative surveillance solution.
8. Camera Firmware Updates via Flussonic Watcher: A Collaborative Achievement
Our fruitful collaboration with a leading intercom systems company has yielded a noteworthy accomplishment - the ability to update camera firmware via Flussonic Watcher. Together, we seamlessly integrated firmware update functionality for cameras sourced from various manufacturers.
This milestone was made possible through our R&D partnership, which led to the creation of a robust system for managing agent and firmware versions on intercom cameras. This system simplifies firmware version control, facilitates firmware distribution to client devices via Flussonic Watcher, and offers agent version monitoring with automatic and semi-automatic update capabilities. These enhancements have significantly elevated the relevance and security of client video surveillance systems.
Conclusion: Through close R&D partnerships and the openness of our customers, we’ve channeled our resources into developing new product capabilities. These capabilities are now not only accessible to our partners but are also integrated into the Flussonic Media Server and Flussonic Watcher series products, benefiting the entire market right out of the box.
Chief Commercial Officer
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