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SME '19: RealEyes' David Hassoun Talks Troubleshooting Large-Scale Live Streams

Learn more about livestream monitoring at Streaming Media's next event.

Read the complete transcript of this interview:

Tim Siglin: Welcome back to Streaming Media East 2019. I'm Tim Siglin, Contributing Editor for Streaming Media magazine and the founding Executive Director of HelpMe! Stream. And today I've got with me David Hassoun, CEO of RealEyes Media. Tell me about RealEyes.

David Hassoun: We've been in business going on 16 years, so we've been around for a while. We went through the wonderful Flash days.

Tim Siglin: We were talking last night about what terms should be deprecated And SWF was one of them.

David Hassoun: Yep, yep. It's time to let it go. You know, it was a great technology and we were heavily involved there for quite some time and now it's time to let it go.

Tim Siglin: So, post-Flash, what have you done?

David Hassoun: Post-Flash we've worked a while within the video space both on the video application, video player development, as well as media workflow and delivery as well. So we've kind of got a good spectrum of use cases and customers that we've worked with over the years.

Tim Siglin: Tell me, where does the RealEyes name come from? It's an interesting name because when I was first introduced to the company it was the concept around machine learning. And I assumed the RealEyes aspect, that you were like a brand new company in the last two years or so, but you've been around 16 years.

David Hassoun: Yeah. You know, it actually originally started out as just a tagline that I liked was "Realize your vision." When I first started off the company I was really focused on interactive and motion media. And that's what really drew my attention and drew my passion. And I started with that and "Oh, I kind of like that." And I kind of liked the word play and it turned into the name. I've always been in the video space and it just kind of ended up applying well to it.

Tim Siglin: So Jun, who's obviously with your company and I were talking last night and he mentioned that one of the aspects that you all have done over the years and it makes a little more sense now that you've been around for 16 years is to create tools that you use to sort of assess things that may not be part of sort of the standard API or base platform. So what kind of tooling are you all doing?

David Hassoun: So we've had to work on some major events, things on a Super Bowl scale, Olympic scale, all these type of really major things. And we've been involved in 24/7 support for our customers, whether it's helping them with enterprise CDN stuff or these massive worldwide livestreaming events and being able to very quickly identify and troubleshoot issues is critical, right? We can understand we might have built the player but we have to understand the whole stack and we got to analyze that quickly and come up with solutions. And with that we find out where there's gaps, things that we would be beneficial to have in ourselves or how we can empower our customers. So we've built out tools in that space around monitoring streams, manifests, so forth, being able to utilize those to identify quickly so that our customers can react without having to call us. It's great when it's two in the morning. Or that when we're on the phone that we can also help identify, illustrate and go from there. And we also found that, this is a really interesting byproduct in building out some of these tools. They also turn into amazing solutions for training when we have to bring on new people or working within the industry when we have events and so forth, that if we can help visualize what's really happening with streams, what's going on behind the scenes, or have better tools for troubleshooting and that we can collaborate, whether we're remote and working in whatever system we need to really adds a lot of value to us. We built manifest viewing monitoring. We built out network monitoring software that we can do remotely and a number of other tools over the years that have just been really key to allowing us to better serve our customers very quickly.

Tim Siglin: And are those tools sort of visually based as well as command line, in other words.

David Hassoun: Absolutely.

Tim Siglin: Does the average customer understand?

David Hassoun: So we build both. We usually kind of start with stuff that's kind of like a core barebone and then we say does this really meet the need we got? And then, if it's something that's actually valuable and useful, let's build this up so an operational person can use it that doesn't have to be deep video engineer. And we'll have it where we're okay, great, just put it in your stream, there you go and if there's a problem, it's going to blare an alarm at you and tell you hey this is what steps you should go and look at.

Tim Siglin: Interesting, okay, got it. So it'll throw the anomalies. And what about sort of dashboard-type tools that assess visual health of the stream?

David Hassoun: We've helped a number of customers in need of building out solutions within their coding workflows for doing monitoring and checking visualizes stuff into dashboards' top level and then being able to expand on those and we've built that into some of our own stuff as well for when we want to, hey, we need to be able to break this out and look at things a bit more holistically. It becomes very valuable to have that high-level view, and then be able to drill down

Tim Siglin: So do you see the tools as being sort of a separate product line as they mature? Or they'll always sort of be integral to somebody using your other services.

David Hassoun: You know we're really open and we've been looking at that quite a bit. What we've always done as our initial step is what do we need? What do our customers need? And then is there a greater need within the community? Within the industry? And that's where like we come to these wonderful events and we start sharing them. So like right now we're offering like hey great if you want to start utilizing this, try it out. And then down the road we're looking for feedback. Is this something we really want to productize and potentially sell then we can but either way we want to continue to keep the industry moving forward and see how we can also be better parts of it. And also it comes in our arsenal, our toolbox and we come to our customers and we have that added value. Why come to us? Because we have the experience and we have a few things that are going to help give us an edge.

Tim Siglin: And do you have tools that kind of work all the way across the supply chain from encoding to initial distribution to final-mile quality of experience?

David Hassoun: We've worked on tools that usually start after encoding downward, right? We don't do, we've done tools for actually doing coding and we've built out advanced custom packagers and we've had solution stuff within there as well but when it comes to the tooling side for monitoring other stuff it's usually, usually we'll start after encoding but where we might doing things like advanced kind of QC check and other types of things that we want to be able to do that are very specific to our customer that we know can cause problems with other solutions. And then carry that down to the distribution and then that last mile obviously is a real critical one.

Tim Siglin: Well, thank you again for your time.

David Hassoun: Thank you, I appreciate it.

Tim Siglin: And we'll be right back with our next guest.

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