Despite the comeback of in-person events in 2022, online audience engagement remains important with a steady demand for interactivity in live streaming.
Interactive live streaming—live streaming with ultra-low latency—used to be a niche solution mostly for gaming, webcasts, auctions etc. It has now become an important ally for operators in general who need to create engaging experiences online. However, especially when it comes to connecting large crowds and having them interact with the presented content from any device no matter the location, it is not only a unique opportunity, but also a new area of expertise that comes with its own challenges.
Responding to the increased demand for ultra-low latency live streaming that allows audience interaction, nanocosmos delivers nanoStream Cloud to clients to combine the stream with applications that allow the audience to provide feedback. The key factor is to be able to instantly reply and interact with the presented content, and this means latency must be around 1 second at max. The potential lies in vital digital communication to a large number of attendees—up to tens of thousands of viewers—and it applies to many different applications, including music events, town hall meetings, auctions, or live casinos.
While viewers are looking for a great interactive experience, providers who would like to make this happen are asked to cover a complex workflow that needs to follow the requirements of the use case specifically. For townhall meetings and panel discussions with Q&A you want to enable users to just open the browser to follow an event and use interactive tools. Monetized content on the other hand is more about ad-hoc and instant streaming for 24/7 operations.
As the video communication market has grown to be more mature, social interaction is still far from an existence at a normal pace and extent. We can expect a continuous demand for interactivity in live streaming, but with even higher requirements in terms of Quality of Experience (QoE) and Quality of Service (QoS). However, beyond latency and as a consequence, interactive live streaming needs to be understood as a whole, including an increased need for data insights with the eventual goal to optimize the end user’s experience.
Seamless Interactive Live Streaming Experience
As mobile access will continue to dominate, operators will have to find ways to deliver seamless viewer experiences across different network conditions and bandwidths entirely browser-based. One challenge on the delivery side is adapting to the bitrate and the available network on the device. To reach the audience around the world, low bandwidth needs to be leveraged and the live streaming workflow must suit a powerful and reliable Content Delivery Network (CDN). With adaptive bitrate playback, the stream automatically adjusts to the best quality for the available network. A cloud-based live transcoder converts the original live stream from a high-quality input stream into the different lower-quality streams used depending on the bandwidth available. This is a critical step to ensure high quality of experience, especially for interactive live streaming scenarios where every second counts.
To have availability anywhere in the world and to have an application at a global scale, you need to have sufficient server coverage around the world to ensure successful interactive livestreaming without interruption. In addition, we see that the following is extremely important: A robust solution with 100% SLA that should never fail for 24/7/365 operations, including automatic failover and monitoring.
In 2022, nanocosmos expanded their live streaming platform’s network further to bring better quality of service to remote regions and hostile network environments. The new nanoStream Player enables sub-second latency, yet stability for even bad networks on all devices, anywhere in the world and access via any device and browser. nanocosmos delivers the white label interactive live streaming platform & API with an end-to-end and business-focused approach.
Data-Driven Streaming for Improved QoS and QoE
To deliver high quality of experience, operators require greater insights into live streaming data. Many operators still seem to be unaware of the need for data metrics and analytics. Yet an in-depth understanding of how users access live streams, from where and how live streams perform under which circumstances is needed to live stream interactive content successfully.
To provide business customers greater insight into their live streaming data and to allow them to make the right decisions quickly, nanocosmos launched extended nanoStream Analytics. Additional breakdowns enable stream providers to better understand changes of latency, playing time, or stream quality fluctuations and their cause based on respective parameters.
Stream Protection by All Means
There are topics regarding security and compliance regulations (e. g., European GDPR) that have become more important. Streams represent live content and this content has a value–and is subject to attacks and misuse. The other issue created by hijacking is that when streams are distributed illegally, it can create data traffic that ends up on the wrong bill.
To avoid hijacking of streams, security service has been added to nanoStream Cloud, which checks suspicious access and detects irregularities like usage and timing. nanoStream Cloud is created with security and encryption enabled by default. It supports REST APIs, content encryption, secure access with web hooks, and token-based access for certain application scenarios.
Interactive streaming with the edge
nanocosmos is a Berlin-based company with more than two decades of experience in the audio/video industry. Their flagship product nanoStream Cloud is an industry reference for B2B interactive live streaming. In 2022 nanocosmos announced the new generation of nanoStream Cloud with its focus on optimized Quality of Service and Quality of Experience. The new release upgrades its well-established combination of CDN, Player, and Analytics with innovations like stream protection, advanced analytics, and sub-second latency, besides 100% SLA and 24/7 operations.