IBC Q&A: iStreamPlanet’s Jennifer Baisch Details New Aventus Cloud-Based Streaming Platform

After first demoing its Aventus platform at last year’s IBC and then at NAB in April, iStreamPlanet has officially launched the new cloud-based live video delivery solution in Amsterdam this year. In addition, the company revealed a pair of big-name Aventus customers in Microsoft Azure and NBC Sports Digital, which will utilize the cloud-delivery platform to live stream the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, as well as the NHL, Notre Dame football, and the Premier League, and other major properties.

With Aventus, iStreamPlanet will look to eliminate the costly hardware and endless stacks of encoders typically required to stream major events like the Olympics by utilizing the cloud’s virtualized environment to reduce costs and improve efficiency. By using a cloud-based, virtualized environment, Aventus can dynamically scale its infrastructure depending on the resource needs. It is designed and priced to work for one channel to hundreds in both public and private clouds, via SaaS or on-premises software license deployments.

SVG sat down with Jennifer Baisch, senior director of product marketing, iStreamPlanet, to chat about Aventus and why a move to the cloud makes sense for sports-video streamers. 

What is the advantage of Aventus over more traditional streaming platforms for sports-content owners?
We are moving the live-video workflow into the cloud using software rather than hardware. The reason we created Aventus is to simplify the live-video workflow. IT is becoming more comfortable with the cloud and the cloud is perfect for a live event scenario like that Olympics because in past Olympics NBC has had to buy a massive number of encoders and equipment to get this done. So from that perspective it totally makes sense.

This will also give us the flexibility to take advantage of whatever new devices end up coming about and what [formats] they are going to support. A great example is HEVC, which everyone is talking about here at the show. No one has seen broad device support for HEVC yet, so you have to wonder how much you want to invest immediately. But with Aventus used as a service, we take that issue on. When our customers need that support, we can roll that out through our service and they don’t have to buy a whole new rack of hardware for HEVC and 4K streaming.

In addition to high-profile events like the Olympics, why does Aventus make sense for lower-end sports-content providers looking to stream their content?
A lot of our sports customers want to get more of their sports online. And in order to be able to do that they had to bring costs down so they could monetize second-tier sports with smaller viewing audiences. Notre Dame as a [lucrative] football deal with NBC for television, but they also wanted to get their hockey and smaller [Olympic sports] online because they know they have an audience out there for that content but they needed to stream it in a cost effective way so they could monetize it. We hear that from the college conferences and schools a lot.

Aventus marks a departure from the more hardware-based live-streaming business iStreamPlanet was known for in the past. Why does the move to cloud make sense for the company?
We built Aventus because we needed Aventus. If you think about the business that we are in – live events – our business is capped by the number of encoders that were able to get online and stay running. So it was always [CEO Mio Babic’s] vision that we could do what we do with less equipment and more flexibility. That’s why we are shifting behind Aventus. We think that the SasS is a lower-cost way to deliver our services and we think that that is where people are going to migrate to over the next few years.

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