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Now Is the Time for Cloud Graphics

Learn more about cloud video at Streaming Media's next event.

Watch the complete presentation from Streaming Media West, T102. Everything You Need to Know About Cloud Graphics and Digital Overlays, in the Streaming Media Conference Video Portal.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Brian Ring: Cloud graphics are basically graphics that are using HTML to render dynamic things on a screen in a browser and then writing those frames to video. Many players over the years that are experienced in graphics have used at one time or another a laptop with a browser, with an SDI out or an HDMI out into their workflows. So this is quite a simple and easy thing to do to integrate high-quality graphics into your production.

If this has been around for so long and these waves of tech do come and go, why did I decide now is the time?

Number one--and I wouldn't say these are really in order, but in some sense they probably are--you're all aware of Twitch; there's a Twitch economy that's growing and exploding. It's changing the way that people interact. What kinds of content they watch and also, how they interact with that content. Chat and emojis and tips are a real part of this environment, so it's a real conversational kind of environment. And that ecosystem has spawned companies, both of which are listed in my ecosystem slide that you'll see in a bit.

One of them was called Stream Labs. Stream Labs was just acquired by Logitech for 90 million dollars. Another one's called Stream Elements, and essentially what both of these companies have done is said hey we can create a lot of interesting graphics and text and interactivity on the screen by simply creating these overlays in HTML and bringing them into the OBS software. OBS software is Open Broadcast Software, people hopefully are familiar with. How many are familiar with OBS, cause this is kind of key? So I talked about Wirecast and vMix. This is the open source tool of such. A type of software and essentially Twitch along with Logitech and NVIDIA, amongst other companies, have just poured a lot of money into this ecosystem.

So you have these startups that are basically, like I say, Stream Elements, which we'll talk about later creating these overlays and they're sort of embedded into the Twitch platform. So if you're a Twitch streamer and you want people in your chat, you want to take those chat messages and put them into your screen. That ecosystem has really has had a lot of money poured into it. That's really important.

Second, in general, not just Twitch but live streaming and the influencer economy is another big driver for this. Again for the same reasons, you have these number three legal and cultural changes. I'll point to a couple things, we all know that gambling, sports gambling, sports betting is now gonna be legal state by state across the nation. In addition recently, very recently there was a ruling by the NCAA that college athletes could not be prevented from making money on their names and likenesses. That's gonna be a huge piece of fuel, this is an influencer economy, it's about live streaming, it's about the interactivity. I personally predict that the NCAA ruling will have very big impact.

You also have, like I mentioned, the rise and importance of social media interactivity in chat. I'm gonna share a demo, I call it IRL chat. And what I want to just say is emojis are something that we have laughed about for many years. Right now, you have to make jokes about hey, we're losing language, we're gonna go back to the time of hieroglyphics. Which I never have been able to pronounce very well. And the truth is that's happening in real time, like even my Outlook app now, not only emojis but GIFs.

So there's just a tremendous uptick I think in this whole idea of incorporating these things into our visual language. I'm not making a value judgment on that by the way, whether it's good or bad, but I will say that Slack has been a force there bringing more emojis in. To the point I'm trying to make, there was literally a Wall Street Journal article last month that essentially said, you know what? In the office it's okay to use emojis here and there along these rules. So the idea is like we're becoming, adding more visual language into our communications. I do think that's an important part of this. We have globalization, so more screens and more content in many more places. If you're distributing content globally and you want to have different languages on that screen, that's one of the major trends I would say.

Number six, I'm gonna talk about this more specifically, but there's a game called Kahoot. I don't know if you've ever seen it, but I'm gonna go through this in the demo so I won't spend a lot of time on it right now. But a lot of folks know that the app is everything and a lot of major companies going after major businesses, the app is everything.

So for all these years, essentially, mobile web browsing has been forgotten, and it's a really bad experience for the most part. There is a company called Kahoot, another company called Crowdpurr that's also on my list. Another company called Quizlet. What are these companies doing? Well they're starting at the educational level, on back to school night was when I discovered Kahoot, and a teacher in the class asked everyone to pick up their phones. I'm gonna do this in a bit, so you don't have to do this right now.

But the point is, if you try to get people to download an app, in a game, let's say, at a venue, you'll fail. Nobody wants to do that; it never quite works. If you can give them a dead simple clean webpage, no registration required. Maybe they would log on to that tool.

The success of Kahoot and Quizlet and this new category of interactive tool kind of was some of the inspiration for me of like well, maybe there is something else here in this kind of two-screen environment as long as we don't put up all these barriers to people and using the platform.

We've all seen these patterns come and go, but when they don't work quite right I always remember in the interactive TV days. Dish very early on was heavy in the interactive TV games and I remember being bullish on it and very exciting, when in Colorado, a big summit, and Charlie Ergen came to the stage for about 10 minutes. He's gonna give a good presentation. Very dynamic, charismatic guy. He basically told the entire room that we were gonna fail until the loading time for the app would be less than 15 seconds. At that time it was like, you press a button and then you sit and wait. So if stuff doesn't work then you can't really tell whether there will be uptake in the use cases or not.

Then we have cloud, I just put that word there in the beginning in the ellipses, just because I think you all know It's on demand, it's global, new ways of configuring where resources are and how they're used. And then finally open source which kind of is fueling a tremendous amount of innovation in every direction. I would say even here you literally have, because of Twitch and the Twitch streamers and OBS you have companies selling OBS on GPU clouds. These are very disruptive trends that I think are going to bring in 2020 a renewed interest in some of the activity we're talking about here today.

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