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StreamRoot, Viblast, Pipe and Mera Showcase Data Channel Solution at WebRTC Paris

WebRTC is mainly viewed as a technology for voice and video. Many think highly of the opportunity the data channel presents but only a few use it for services that are not related with voice and video collaboration.

Given the capability of WebRTC to enable browser-to-browser communication it can be used for peer-assisted content delivery saving content owner bandwidth cost, increasing scalability and service quality.

StreamRoot, Viblast, Pipe and Mera will showcase their recent realizations during a start-up demo session at the WebRTC Paris conference.

Pipes at Pompidou Paris

Let’s look a bit into what these companies and demos comprise.

French start up StreamRoot was founded in 2013 At the edge of HTML5 adaptive streaming technology, StreamRoot created the first MPEG-DASH peer-assisted video player working for both Live and Video on Demand streaming, and have since expanded its expertise to other adaptive streaming formats and platforms.

Bulgarian start-up Viblast has added to its live video streaming platform a support for much requested adaptive bitrate streaming.

This functionality works in two ways:

– Automatic, where the platform offers the highest bitrate (stream quality) possible based on each viewer’s bandwidth (and adjusts it as it fluctuates during playback) and screen size,

– Manual, which allows viewers to select the bitrate themselves through a designated control in the Viblast player.

Pipe, a Berlin based startup brought the latest WebRTC technology to its peer-to-peer file transfer service on Facebook. The Pipe app allows people on Facebook to connect by sending and receiving files up to 1 GB in a way that is simple, fast, private and secure. No one else can access the file because it’s a transfer directly between two friends: just pick a friend and drop a file into the Pipe. Pipe is among the first to integrate WebRTC within a consumer app.

Mera engineers have done a pilot project leveraging the capabilities of data channel for MSRP-based transfer of text messages and files. With this practical knowledge and results MERA plan commercial outsourced development around WebRTC. Mera is a Russian company.

Visit the conference website for more information about the Data Channel training, lectures and demos.

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The non-Telecom Side of WebRTC Data Channel

Connected Data Peers in WebRTCGet rid off servers, save bandwidth! Easy to say, hard to realize. Swarmify, Viblast, Peer5, StreamRoot and Pipe focus their efforts on data transmission of video images and/or file transfer. These innovative start-ups have begun to launch their commercial products in 2014. Their forceful argument? WebRTC data channel uses peers to send data, creating opportunities for innovation and lower cost content distribution without the need for a browser plug-in.

Data channel gets ignored: Such a pity

There are more and more companies dealing with WebRTC but not many of them are looking at the data channel. Many of those who are using it are looking at it as an add-on to voice and video communications services. This is mainly because early adopters of WebRTC are coming mainly from the VoIP and telecom market. Many try to force it into their existing approaches instead of creating new services with it. Some have taken WebRTC to new domains and utilized only the benefits of its data channel part:

  • Peer-to-Peer communication
  • Zero download of plug-ins
  • Secured/encrypted communication

“WebRTC data channels has given developers new possibilities to interact on the web, and we think the biggest innovations will come from this area as WebRTC will become more mainstream” explains Nikolay Rodionov, co-founder of StreamRoot, a French startup providing peer-to-peer video distribution service. The start-up has three pilot customers (France Television, Orange, L’equipe) and claims to reduce bandwidth cost by 50% to 90% thanks to its video streaming technology and adaptive bitrate streaming tool. “Since video calling does not require a data channel to work, it gets largely ignored. Such a pity, since there are many interesting use cases of the data channel that would solve real world problems” says Peter Bojkov, COO of Viblast, a Bulgarian start-up providing scalable video streaming solutions.

Not only video streaming

Other startups are using the WebRTC data channel for a wider set of content distribution use cases. Swarmify recently launched their first commercially available service utilizing WebRTC to distribute website video and images. Pricing plans span from free to paid Enterprise grade options. “Free plans allow users to test Swarmify. It allows them to understand Simultaneous Connections and how this number can reduce their content distribution costs by using our service. Many customers are saving 50% to 75%“ stated Jesse Delia, Swarmify Partner. Peer5, a Palo Alto start-up, redesigned its platform so it would be useful for many use cases, not only video streaming, but also audio, games, image delivery and file transfer.
The new peer5 downloader is now out in beta. “Why are we doing all of this? Many developers had asked us to help them deliver their web apps, but unfortunately our solution was only for video.
Video is cool, but there are so many other varieties of media, and we wanted to provide a more inclusive and generic web peer-to-peer platform.
Our service is helpful in scenarios that require high bandwidth and great performance, and now it’s as encompassing as ever” explains Hadar Weiss, Peer5 Co-Founder and CTO. Pipe, a Berlin­based startup has brought the latest WebRTC technology to its peer­to­peer file transfer service on Facebook. The Pipe app allows people on Facebook to connect by sending and receiving files up to 1 GB in a way that is simple, fast, private and secure. According to Simon Hossell, Founder & CEO of Pipe. “This is ground­breaking technology, essentially re­wiring the Internet. WebRTC allows us to connect and communicate directly with each other through the computer browser ­ peer­to­peer ­ instead of exchanging data with remote third-party web servers.” Pipe was first made available on Facebook in June 2013, based on Adobe Flash. The new Pipe app has been completely rebuilt using JavaScript and integrating WebRTC, instead of Flash. This was also an opportunity to simplify the user experience and make the app more robust and reliable.

CDNs and content owners are moving to Peer-to-Peer

CDN service providers and content owners are bearing increasing cost as video becomes more and more pervasive. Some such as Netflix are already making their way towards this direction. WebRTC data channel can be a solution for this need; companies in this space create a network of peers that off-load the servers when possible and save significant cost. What is your experience with WebRTC data channel? Let us know in the comments below or contact us.

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