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Tuesday September 16, 2014

#NYVM: Livecasting, Streaming and Raw Video — Plus a Bonded Backpack

By Lauren Keyson

Ankur Oberoi of TokBox (Photo credit: Maxime Keyson)

The innovative, social and fast moving new video startups featured at the NY Video Meetup Thursday were built on an emerging ecosystem that event organizer Steve Rosenbaum calls ‘The Cloud Economy.”

Rosenbaum said before the critical infrastructure services that are now in place were developed, “A web video startup would have to raise significant capital and invest in engineering and infrastructure before they could even think about building a product. Today, with services ready to be spun up with the click of a mouse, companies can go from idea to proof of concept without needing to lay any of the underlying technology.”

CrowdSurf.tv stood out among the rest. It’s the only video company that aggregates live video from around the world and ranks it in real-time. It pulls in content from sources like Justin.tv, UStream.tv, CNN and ESPN and publishes it live. Then it’s categorized and rated. The search site follows Twitter to see if links are being watched. It also has the ability to let viewers vote thumbs up or thumbs down.

“We rank it in several ways,” said CTO Bob Visnov. “The source will publish a number of people watching at that moment, so a clue comes from the source about how many people are viewing it. It’s so current; I couldn’t even prepare a demo because I don’t know what will be there when I stand in front of the screen.”

Ankur Oberoi, developer evangelist for Tokbox.com, demoed OpenTok. It’s an API for streaming real-time video, enabling the addition of live group video conversations into any web or mobile property. “The API makes video streaming super simple, and, for any app developer, a feasible task,” he said. “There are tons of complexities involved in video streaming — everything from Codex to encoding and support on different devices and browsers. Sure — the challenges have been coming on, but we just knocked them down.”

LiveU created a bonded transmission backpack that aggregates cell phone connections. The creator of portable video-over-cellular solutions, it uses multiple cellular or other links simultaneously to provide seamless broadband channel optimization for live, high definition video transmission from the field. Director Ken Zamkow demonstrated the pack and showed smaller devices, such as the LU4 unit that can be clipped on a belt or mounted on a professional video camera.  “Essentially, these do the same thing as the backpack,” he said. “They bond a number of cell phone connections to get high quality video uplink.”

Also of note:  Pond 5, a marketplace for royalty-free stock video, sound effects, music, after effects, photos and illustrations; and  Rawporter.com, a provider of inexpensive source of raw video and photos.  CEO Kevin Davis explained that, “Rawporters are everyday people, ready to use their smartphones and our apps to get video and photos. It’s like having an army of cameras on-location and on-demand.”

Rosenbaum said the NY Video Meetup has evolved. “NY has grown in technological significance and as video has moved to the lead in the evolution of the web, it’s a pleasure to see NY coming into its own – and to continue to be wowed by just how quickly new video innovations are springing to life.”

[Editor's Note: LiveU is a client of Trylon SMR, owned by Trylon Communications, Inc., the parent company of NY Convergence]