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Streaming Video Alliance's Jason Thibeault Talks State of the SVA

Tim Siglin: Welcome back to Streaming Media East 2022, after a three-year hiatus,. I'm here with Jason Tebow--or JT, as most people call him--who's with the Streaming Video Alliance (SVA). So Jason, tell us a little bit about the Alliance over the last couple years, what what progress has been made.

Jason Thibeault: Actually, we have grown tremendously, and unfortunately it was the pandemic, where people started to realize, "We need to be involved in more of these things. We have more time personally, so let's go join." And so we saw a significant increase in membership and I think we're now topping well over a hundred companies that are participating in some fashion. So that of course has led to more people, more working groups, and more production. Over the past couple of years, we continued to see uptick. So the first year of the pandemic, I think we did six documents, and the next year we did eight. And then this year, we're on track to publish 12 or 15 documents. Now we have this whole coding arm of it. SVA Labs. We have so many people now participating in our GitHub group. I think we have like 70 seats, nice people that are actively contributing to either open caching, API development, or our distributed request tracing program. So the past couple years have been really fantastic for us.

Tim Siglin: And if I remember correctly from one of your presentations the other day, you're also working with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), plugging things into CDNI. So, essentially, not only just doing things within SVA, but going to the broader internet engineering problems that we have in the industry.

Jason Thibeault: So, part of my vision has always been not just about being the place in the streaming industry that is developing all of this stuff through collaborative efforts. It's also about connecting all of the organizations that are doing similar things. And so, yes, we have a really strong connection to IETF. So Sanjay Mishra, who's active in our open caching group, he is a co-chair of the CDNI working group. Glenn Goldstein at Lumen has been pushing a lot of RFCs into CDNI. Because for all intents and purposes, CDNI kind of stopped. Okay. The IETF folks realized, "Okay, we've taken it as far as it can go, and from a streaming perspective, we're extending it. Like we're building all those components in that need to address streaming."

Tim Siglin: And another one of those sort of interconnects is your sustainability focus, which is now becoming a big deal tying into Greening of Streaming, which Dom Robinson started.

Jason Thibeault: Again, another liaison that we're forming with an organization. Right now, I think we have about 15 liaisons. So, on the sustainability side, a couple years ago after you and Dom wrote your article for Streaming Media Magazine, I thought, "We need to address this." Then I got busy with other stuff, and we kept pushing it off and then along comes Greening of Streaming and I kind of went, "Oh, somebody's doing it, we don't have to do that now." And so we're getting ready to launch a sustainability microsite just for our members, and companies to talk about what needs to be and what done, what are they doing? And then, of course, having some greening of streaming content produced for us maybe on a monthly basis. So, that obviously is important to us and it should be involved at every point in the decision-making process when it comes to technology development.

Tim Siglin: So, do you feel like the industry's grown up at this point? That we're suddenly creating all these organizations--and obviously SVA has been around for a while--but I guess I look back 22, 24 years ago, and the idea of having consortiums when everybody was trying to kill everybody else is and win the web is a maturation that seems to have come around in the last couple of years.

Jason Thibeault: No, I think that's a great way to describe it. We are seeing that. IETF again--they founded a group just for video. So I was helpful in getting that set up. CTA WAVE. So CTA forms the WAVE group--another industry organization focused on, "How do we make streaming video better? We are doing joint projects with them. So the idea is, again, connecting all of these pieces, and we're talking about doing an event at IBC with Greening of Streaming and Women of Streaming Media and the CDN Alliance. Let's let's all get together and share.

Tim Siglin: Women in Streaming Media is a really important thing that all of us are looking at. How do we, how do we grow a portion of the industry to not just be good old boys like us--or old boys, even if we're good, who knows. At the end of the day, that's critical, that diversity piece.

Jason Thibeault: Yeah. Diversity is for me a personal mission. So you know, we are trying to diversify the Streaming Video Alliance board. We are trying to find women in the streaming video industry who can come in and be leaders in our working groups, who can come and participate. So we launched a diversity microsite with some commitments to when we run our first public-facing conference next year, just to be a day-long conference called Segments. We will commit to at least 50% of our speakers being, honestly, non-white male. So let's get folks in, we want them to have voices. And so our diversity microsite is, again, just a couple of blog series that allow not only our member companies, but women, people of color, marginalized voices, LGBTQ, to have a nice place to post something about their experiences with diversity and how they feel things need to change to improve. So, right. So again,

Tim Siglin: And then to help lead that change.

Jason Thibeault: That's right.

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