P2P CDN and Enterprise Video Delivery
StriveCast is the P2P eCDN provider for Ramp. In this interview, StriveCast’s founders talk about P2P CDN and the enterprise video streaming market.
Through our partnership with StriveCast, Ramp now provides a P2P (peer-to-peer) eCDN option alongside our multicast and video caching solutions. This creates a complete video distribution solution that fits the specific needs of every location in your enterprise.
We interviewed the founders of StriveCast—Alexander Schäfer and Christopher Probst-Ranly—to talk about the importance of video streaming in the enterprise market and how StriveCast’s P2P technology helps companies handle the increased demand for live video within their network.
Please give us a short description of StriveCast’s solution.
ALEX: Our mission is to make video streaming accessible to everyone. StriveCast provides a 100% WebRTC-based P2P CDN solution that runs directly inside the browser of any end device. StriveCast can be applied to large-scale enterprise video infrastructures. On top of that, we offer a real-time analytics tool to gather and visualize user data during a webcast and provide our customers with a holistic, data-driven live event report.
Can you explain in more detail what is P2P, and how does it work?
CHRIS: In a P2P (peer-to-peer) network, end devices connect to each other directly instead of connecting to a central server. This distributed network can then be used to share data between these end devices (peers) instead of retrieving data from an external server. As a result, if applied within a corporate network, we see a reduction of up to 95% of external requests through a corporate breakout or firewall. Content enters the corporate network once and is then redistributed within the P2P network.
StriveCast’s P2P network works by using WebRTC as the primary connection method between end devices. WebRTC is a widely adopted standard and is pre-integrated into all modern browsers, devices and operating systems. Therefore, StriveCast can be used without a plugin or additional software on the end device.
What are the benefits of using a P2P CDN network?
ALEX: Well, there are many advantages of using a P2P CDN network, but let’s break it down to three key benefits:
- Reliability: First of all, the ultimate benefit of a P2P CDN network is that it allows organizations to set up a high-quality video live stream in a reliable and stable manner. Especially when it comes to live video collaboration, a lot of companies are struggling to ensure a high-quality experience for their employees. StriveCast solves this problem by the introduction of its P2P approach.
- Scalability: Second, a P2P network is flexible and scales based on the use case and device availability. In fact, our P2P CDN solution works even better the more users join the stream, resulting in unlimited scalability.
- Flexibility: Especially in modern days, it is hard to plan and allocate resources as the use of video can quickly change. With a P2P CDN working in the background, you use existing resources more efficiently, so it’s possible to catch up traffic peaks during live events without any hassle.
What is StriveCast’s strategic approach concerning video delivery?
CHRIS: A key phrase that I use almost always when talking to customers and partners is this: eCDN is not a complex product.
It has always been important to us that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to implement our technology. Our P2P CDN solutions are 100% browser-based and don’t require any further software installation.
At the same time, we are aware that especially large organizations do have strict security standards. To fulfill the security requirements of every customer, we offer full compliance with GDPR and DRM mechanisms like content encryption. On top of that, you can host our solution in the cloud or on-premise within the organization’s own network—leaving full control to the client.
ALEX: A crucial element of our strategic approach to the market is forming partnerships with companies that share the same mission: making live video streaming accessible for everyone. Ramp is the ideal partner for us, as Ramp has always been focused on reducing bandwidth requirements for online video via caching and multicast. StriveCast’s P2P network is a natural completion of this offer.
How do you see the future of media delivery, and which role does P2P play in your opinion?
ALEX: We can no longer imagine a life without live or on-demand streaming in our private lives. The same now applies to business purposes. As the COVID-19 regulations and work from home arose in the second quarter of this year, so did video as a useful collaboration tool.
Nowadays, people expect a certain level of video quality and are not content with low-quality videos and long buffering. These standards not only apply for private matters but also in business scenarios. This leaves companies obligated to provide a stable and reliable infrastructure that manages all the extra traffic happening within their network.
P2P CDNs allow companies to deliver smooth and high-quality webcasts or live streams accessible to many people. Therefore, peer-to-peer will play a role for all organizations that struggle with professional media delivery.
Speaking for ourselves, the increased number of requests and calls that came up since the beginning of 2020 indicates the strongly growing need for easy-to-use video delivery solutions in the market—and business is not slowing down.
What are the typical applications of your P2P eCDN solution?
CHRIS: Organizations mostly use our P2P eCDN technology for reliable live streaming to a large audience. These events include company town hall meetings and external business events.
For example, we’re regularly streaming events for Siemens Healthineers, which move around 1,000 to 5,000 viewers per stream. Another well-known customer of ours is Henkel. They are using our P2P eCDN technology for their internal, digital company meetings. Building up the P2P network for these meetings is especially interesting, as many employees are joining remotely via VPN.
We are also often asked to support one-time events. A recent example of this is the live streaming of a country-wide graduation party for high schoolers. Due to COVID-19 regulations, people can no longer gather for in-person parties. So, the graduates organized the first country-wide digital graduation party with DJs, comedians and influencers for about 5,000 viewers.
ALEX: Of course, customers not only use our peer-to-peer technology in the enterprise market but also in the OTT sector. The biggest broadcaster in Argentina, for example, uses our P2P network. They deliver high-quality video streams to more than 100,000 weekly users, saving up to 85% bandwidth.
What are your thoughts on the development of the market?
ALEX: The next 12-18 months will be crucial for the long-term development of the online video market. We are currently experiencing a wild-west-like landscape where everybody has to opt-in for a video solution as people work 100% remotely. Companies go through a process that would typically take several years. Only now, they go through it in a matter of weeks, maybe months.
2020 is the year of hyper-awareness for online collaboration tools. 2021 will be the year of consolidation. Companies will have evaluated several solutions and want to build a long-term strategy for their corporate communication and collaboration strategy. This will be the key turning point for any eCDN provider. Factors like reliability, stability and scalability will play an essential role during the decision-making process of those companies.
How would you rate the importance of video streaming in the future?
ALEX: Clearly, the demand for video as a communication tool and the digitalization of events has never been as high as it was in the first half of 2020.
One can say that the pandemic caused a remote revolution. It changed the way we work, communicate and interact with each other. It equally affected our personal and business lives. Whether it’s about organizing an industry event or hosting company-wide meetings, you have to offer a digital alternative such as a live video stream next to the on-site event.
Besides, we learned a number of lessons from the lockdown. One is that working from home is possible. In addition, we should question business travel and think about having a video meet-up instead—a side effect that is also positive in climate change.
We’re living in times where every aspect of living changes very fast, be it in communications, working, technology or entertainment. We do see live video streaming as a fundamental factor in all these areas. And we do our best to make it as easy to use as possible :-).
StriveCast is a leading technology provider for eCDN solutions. Our WebRTC-based P2P mesh network is used by large companies like Swisscom, Siemens, Gazprom, and NEP group to solve network congestion during live events. Based in Germany, we are continually improving and adapting our cutting-edge P2P technology to provide the next generation of enterprise video delivery. Today, StriveCast connects over 150,000 users worldwide on a daily basis, saving customers up to 95% of CDN traffic with a unique server-side-managed Peer-To-Peer network.