iStreamPlanet brings live video to viewers faster with lower cost, using Google Cloud Platform

iStreamPlanet, which helps broadcasters, pay TV operators, and other content owners put their live video online, uses Google Cloud Platform for Aventus, its live video streaming SaaS. With help from Google Cloud Interconnect and Google Compute Engine, iStreamPlanet takes advantage of the geographic reach and ease-of-use of the cloud to make live video processing scalable and more reliable.

Challenge

As media and entertainment companies compete to deliver the best live video content to all viewer devices, they’re under pressure to maintain quality video streams across multiple formats. The ability to offer OTT (over the top) content, or video that’s streamed online, is an absolute must-have for these companies: According to Frost & Sullivan, pay TV operators lose $1 million for every month that they don’t offer online video.

For iStreamPlanet, the challenge is meeting content owner needs for live video streaming solutions, no matter where the live content is originating from, which can be anywhere in the world. “We need to acquire content from our customers, and then transform it into customer-friendly media that’s suitable for playing back on many different devices,” explains Mark VanAntwerp, iStreamPlanet’s vice president for software engineering. “It takes a lot of computational power to make this happen. We also need robust connections when we publish out the video to content delivery networks.”

Solution

To amass the computational power and network reliability needed for high-quality live video, iStreamPlanet chose Cloud Platform to support Aventus, its video streaming product. Launching Aventus in the cloud, says VanAntwerp, gives iStreamPlanet’s customers an easy way to offer live video without worrying about the quality of connections, and without investing heavily in encoding appliances in their own data centers.

“The biggest benefit of working with Google is the breadth of the network,” says VanAntwerp. “We can take advantage of more than 70 points of presence in 33 countries, so it’s easy for us to make high-quality connections into the Google network with our customers’ live video streams.”

iStreamPlanet can also rely on Cloud Platform’s commitment to the newest technologies for modern compute infrastructure. “We’re rolling out [Intel’s] Haswell processors aggressively, and Cloud Platform never lags,” says VanAntwerp. “We run very computationally intensive workloads, so we always need the latest and greatest innovations.”

iStreamPlanet’s customers are able to use Cloud Interconnect to directly connect its customers’ content streams to the Google network. The company uses Compute Engine for media processing workflows. “We take in video streams in the UDP protocol in real time, and we transform them into customer-ready media in the TCP protocol,” says VanAntwerp. “It’s one of those applications that really relies on the high bandwidth and quality of service of Google’s network.”

Results

With Aventus in the cloud and offered as a SaaS (software as a service) solution, iStreamPlanet’s customers can bring OTT video to their audiences faster and at lower cost. “In most cases, we can have a live channel up and running in Google’s data centers in 30 minutes or less,” says VanAntwerp. Without a cloud-based video solution, these companies would have to establish their own data centers at a much higher cost, and requiring more internal management. “We take that burden away from our customers, which means they can get to market with live video much faster.”

Aventus, built on Cloud Platform, can also lower the costs to enter the live video market. According to Frost & Sullivan, media companies typically spend as much as $1.5 million to set up on premises live video processing systems; using the Aventus SaaS there is no upfront capital expenditure.

By relying on Cloud Platform’s sophisticated infrastructure, iStreamPlanet can assure its customers that they’re always getting access to advanced live video streaming technology. “Google gives us the foundation to roll out new updates, like updated video compression technology for recently launched consumer devices,” says VanAntwerp. “As a hosted provider, that’s a big value we bring to our customers – they can spend time launching new services, not upgrading hardware.”

The global reach of the Google network helps iStreamPlanet customers reach viewers worldwide – so whether it’s a soccer game in South America or a concert in Chicago, quality and reliability remain high. “It’s now much easier to offer a SaaS solution over a wide geographic area,” says VanAntwerp. “We can make our products even stronger and broaden the reach of our services.”