What is Video Platform as a Service (VPaaS)?
To start with a short definition, the main purpose of a video platform as a service (VPaaS) solution is to provide a quick and easy integration option that enable building video experiences into new and existing software.
These VPaaS solutions provide APIs for developing video-based applications like video chat tools, live streaming platforms, video hosting sites, TikTok-like micro video capabilities and so on. They are mainly development platforms where customers can tailor and set up their own video solutions for their applications to their liking, taking advantage of the tools provided right out of the box.
VPaaS products can vary in terms of the secondary features they provide and they might be better suited for a specific use case but nearly all of them provide foundational features like encoding, content delivery network (CDN) access, and media players.
To put this into perspective, let’s talk a bit about the video revolution that is happening around us. There is an ever-growing explosion of video content being created every day (AR, VR, Body cameras, Drones.. etc.) and video content is the driving factor behind 85% of search traffic in the US. Marketing purpose videos are still leading the game, but if we look around a bit more we can see many exciting and new use cases utilizing the power of the new video options. For example, collecting and systemizing mobile content for production companies, using video to simplify demanding documentation processes, image recognition to identify objects or organize content just to name a few. All these use cases require a really solid infrastructure that can serve the ever-growing and challenging demand.
What are the main advantages of VPaaS?
- Development Speed: creating a custom video system is not an easy task, it demands expertise and resources so a ready-to-use solution that enables rapid deployment can save both precious time and money all at the same time. Organizations and developers can quickly add video capabilities and easily integrate video as a native solution, either in existing workflows or while creating new ones.
- Ease of use: VPaaS offerings enable us to develop or test a new application idea and quickly add video functionalities without any previous experience in the field. It can be as easy as using a web browser and configuring the desired functionality which makes development possible for everyone.
- Flexibility: clients of any VPaaS have control over all the tools available in their platform so they can customize a feature set that suits their specific requirements. Essentially, they can easily select features they feel the most necessary.
- Integrations: continuing the previous thoughts, having easy-to-connect plugins and further pre-built combination options allows you to add extra, non-video-specific features as well without significant coding required.
- Adaptability: as mentioned, video is a really hot topic and as such, it is changing and developing at a rapid pace. VPaaS makes sure your video solution is up to date and keeps up with all the newly invented technologies. Functionalities such as machine learning, transcribing audio to text, or image recognition are just a few services that could enrich your offering.
What are some real-life examples?
The last two projects where we decided to utilize VPaaS solutions could not be more different but they both benefited equally and could use different aspects of the same core setup.
The first one was a fintech solution that needed a secure & safe video chat option that not only enables a two-way video communication but also stores and catalogs the recordings of the sessions (with user consent). To spice it up even further, due to the really privacy-sensitive nature of the topic we also needed 3rd party integrations that allow user identification with face recognition. The first milestone of the project was to create a proof of concept that can be tested and used for validation so speed was a definitive deciding factor. Also, building some of the more advanced technologies like face recognition in-house would have been really resource-consuming which would not sit right with our POC goals.
The other digital product is a social app where UGC (user-generated content) is a really important part of the concept and our client also has some really ambitious long-term plans later down the road. However, the top priority on the roadmap was to complete a pre-defined V1 feature set that can be officially released and can reliably serve the needs of their 1 – 200 000 concurrent users and provide a more streamlined mobile video recording, editing, and also photo uploading feature set at first, that can also be easily extended in further versions. We needed to consider 4K video, HDR options, custom video filters, multiple user platforms (android, iOS, web), and a potential multinational expansion so server locations also came into the picture. The current resource restrictions and the strong need for further adaptability and expandability made it a no-brainer for us to recommend our VPaaS of choice.
Our VPaaS of choice – Viero
All the factors listed above came into play when settling with Viero and we are using it with really consistent results ever since then. However, there are some additional features it provides that we use frequently:
- Transcoding media which allows format conversions and creates a device-independent common format, enabling the different Apple HLS or Google MPEG-DASH.. etc. players to handle the same content equally well.
- It provides an ABR (adaptive bitrate) ladder helping in creating different quality versions of the same content (720p, 1080p.. etc.). This is extremely important when users have changing network speeds, they use their phones on the metro with 4G connection or switch to their home WiFi..etc. The adaptive playing quality avoids unnecessary video stopping and buffering.
- It gives us a default caching option for video thumbnails and previews that helps in improving response speeds.
- Stores a safe copy of the original files for potential further improvements and use.
- Viero has a really high level of security, it uses DRM (MS PlayReady, Apple FairPlay and Google Widevine) so all the video fragments are stored encrypted. Even if a potential breach happens the fragments are scrambled and can’t be decrypted.
- There are servers available at multiple key locations by default and custom locations can be also ordered.
Video integrations were always a somewhat popular choice, but since the unmatched growth and popularity of TikTok, short videos are now part of the mainstream of content consumption and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down anytime soon.
If you have a new idea that requires integrated video, building TikTok-like experiences or just want to have a friendly chat about some of the latest technologies, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.