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Red5 Pro's Chris Allen Talks Real-Time Streaming

Tim Siglin: Welcome back to Streaming Media East 2022 after the three-year blip. And we've got Chris Allen here from Red5 Pro. So, Chris, what's happened in the last three years from your standpoint? Obviously, streaming as a whole took off.

Chris Allen: That was definitely a direct influence of the pandemic, right? Everybody and their mother and grandmother and what-not--

Tim Siglin: Learned how to Zoom.

Chris Allen: That's right. They learned about live video. And it became part of their everyday life. And I think, honestly, that helped us a lot because we're focused on this real-time streaming niche--which was especially niche at the time--that is now becoming way more mainstream, and people are realizing what latency is and why it matters. And they're finding out that in order to have a live chat, you need to have that video latency under 400 milliseconds to make it feel natural.

Tim Siglin: Well, and you know, it's interesting. I come out of the video conferencing background where if we're at 250, you just had to throw it away. But I think everybody gives a little bit of latitude, you know? Especially during the pandemic. So you were talking about decentralization yesterday on your panel. What do you mean by that?

Chris Allen: We've been quietly working on a version of our platform that doesn't rely on any single cloud vendor. Right now, you deploy our nodes on like an Oracle cloud or Google or AWS, what have you. But the next-gen thing that we're doing is, basically, those nodes can run anywhere in a trustless manner and we're actually using a blockchain to wire it up and pay people and compensate them for their bandwidth. We're doing kind of a proof-of-bandwidth thing.

Tim Siglin: Interesting. So kind of like what Comcast did years ago where they suddenly turned your home router into a free Comcast hotspot for paying customers.

Chris Allen: It's quite similar to that. I think the biggest difference is the incentive mechanisms are there with crypto, which is kind of an interesting aspect of it.

Tim Siglin: So when we talk about real time--whether you call it ultra-low latency at sub-500 milliseconds, or real time--we're doing a survey with Streaming Media called the business value of real-time streaming. And we're asking people essentially to say, if you had this capability, what would you do? So you all provide that capability. What are are you seeing customers or potential customers doing?

Tim Siglin: The real answer is interactivity, and that's a very broad kind of thing. But things like watch parties where people are hanging out together interacting. You mentioned video conferencing platforms. As a conference platform as-a-service provider, we kind of bridge that gap. We're like a CPaaS plus a CDN.

Tim Siglin: For the scale for the scalability piece of it.

Chris Allen: And so, because of that, you can build video conferences married with a live stream and then things like sports betting with your friends, other things like that where the latency really matters. Those are the experiences that we're starting to see, at least in the media and entertainment space. And then we can have this whole market of surveillance, drone streaming, body cameras,traffic monitoring, auctions. That's always been a use case. And it was always important to them. What we're finding now is the people that didn't used to care, now they start to care. They're looking to add this level of interactivity.

Tim Siglin: We had somebody from an auction house on probably about a year ago on one of the Streaming Media Connects. And he said, "Look, if the video doesn't get there in low latency, we just switch over to a phone call because ultimately what we need is the people who are bidding to know that what they're seeing or hearing is in real time.

Chris Allen: It's gotta be a level playing field. And we're seeing that a lot. I mean, Proxibid is one of our big customers who does this and they run thousands of auctions a day, and lots of really weird environments, too, like farm equipment. And they're really rural areas.

Tim Siglin: That was actually the example I was talking to the auction guy about, because during COVID I bought a farm. And so I know about the connectivity issues, and if I want to go buy a tractor somewhere, you may be off the grid when you get out there. So you're gonna have to go in person or figure out some solution that gets the connectivity back to to the proxy better.

Chris Allen: Most of these guys are using Wi-Fi hotspot with 4g. 5g will start rolling out in a bit, but it's not true coverage.

Tim Siglin: Absolutely. Especially not in farm country All right, Chris, thank you very much for your time. Always good to have you.

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