Data Analytics

A (visual) space odyssey: How Theta Labs reached the outer limits of video streaming

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Theta Labs, a leading decentralized video streaming platform, revolutionized the livestream experience with their peer-to-peer bandwidth sharing distributed ledger technology. And thanks to database and analytics solutions from Google Cloud, Theta Labs has scaled to stay ahead of its growing active user base on their blockchain platform. 

It was this ability to reach more remote viewers and give larger audiences the opportunity to discover new things that caught the attention of NASA, which wanted to spread interest in science and technology to younger viewers. NASA chose Theta Labs as one of only a handful of video services with direct access to NASA’s source video feed for the SpaceX launch and other events. 

Below, take a visual joyride through Theta Labs’ interstellar streaming mission. See what they did, the technology they used to overcome the challenges, and the outcomes they were able to achieve.

Who

Theta Labs is a leading decentralized video streaming platform that is powered by users and decentralized on a new blockchain. Theta broadcasted NASA’s Women’s Equality Day and livestreamed the latest SpaceX rocket launch during COVID-19.

Industry

Live streaming experiences, with a twist: Theta Labs reaches viewers in areas with little or no access to high speed internet. Blockchain-based, peer-to-peer technology lets users share bandwidth using distributed ledger technology.

The challenge

Facilitating a livestream of a space launch with so many viewers requires a powerful infrastructure—one that’s scalable, reliable, and secure. Theta wanted to reach more users but needed to avoid hitting VM caps that previously caused issues with latency and the customer experience.

“With Google Cloud’s over 1600 nodes, we are able to get closer to our users than ever before.” - Wes Levitt, Head of Strategy, Theta Labs

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The solution

Google Cloud’s databases and analytics products such as BigQuery, Dataflow, Pub/Sub and Firestore brought Theta Labs unlimited scale and performance, allowing them to:

  • Analyze streaming viewership data for real-time for analytics

  • Forecast how many concurrent users to support during livestream events

  • Predict reputation scores for thousands of edge nodes and address bad actors or underperformance

  • Create the listener/subscriber for the topic the ETL pipeline publishes and ingest into BigQuery tables running fast queries

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The benefits

  • Replacing customized scripts for analysis with BigQuery saved hours or even days of engineering time, and saved costs while improving performance

  • Getting insights from data faster serves internal teams well and customers, too—Theta can now share engagement metrics with partners to help reach more audiences

  • Running faster queries led to brand-new findings on viewership, bandwidth donations, and impactful moments during a livestream

  • Theta’s migration took less than six months, with a return on investment almost immediately

Our partnership with Google Cloud has also let us reach viewers in regions that normally would have trouble accessing streaming video.Jieyi Long, Co-founder/CTO, Theta Labs
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Learn more about BigQuery here.