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Flink OTT Frequently Asked Questions

Technology

What benefits do you promise?

By integrating connected devices into your video delivery process, Flink OTT can help you to reduce up to 90% of your live video CDN cost at peak times and 70% on average. The Flink OTT client SDK turns every data consumer into a data provider. Thus, users who watch the same content at the same time can share this content and offload your server infrastructure. By providing multiple data sources for each viewer, Flink also shortens the distance between your users and your content. The shortened distance improves the average bitrate and reduces rebuffering on the client-side.

How does your technology work?

A broadcaster has to install a small piece of software (the β€œFlink SDK”) on their website or native streaming app to make use of Flink OTT. When users consume live video traffic through this application, the Flink SDK will connect to our backend servers and transmit information about the user (location and bandwidth statistics). Based on this information, our backend servers calculate which users could help with the distribution of content. The servers then instruct the Flink SDK to connect with other end devices via WebRTC directly. Now, these users start sharing their content, offloading the broadcaster's CDN infrastructure.

Do I have to change anything in my video streaming infrastructure?

Almost no. Strive requires a piece of software to be installed in your web or native application (the "Strive Client SDK"). Integrating the Strive Client SDK is very easy and requires only a small number of steps. Furthermore, the Strive Client SDK will not interfere with any existing software like your video player, ad service, DRM protection, or analytics software. You can integrate the Client SDK in your application without touching any pre-installed software.

Flink OTT Infrastructure

After a successful Client SDK integration, users will still connect to your CDN infrastructure. However, the data requested will be much less than before, as users will share content within their cluster. The traffic reduction is achieved by so-called HTTP range requests. Range requests enable clients to request only a fraction of a file (for example the first half of an existing video segment). There might be some minor additional configuration to be done on the CDN side to support range requests. For a detailed description of how to configure your CDN correctly, check out our list of supported software and services πŸ”— for Fink OTT.

Flink OTT connects up to 10 end devices with each other to form a cluster in which data can be shared. From a CDN perspective, each cluster behaves like a single user.

A cluster of 4 devices can take care of 3/4 (75%) of required bandwidth; 5 devices can save 4/5 (80%). In the best-case scenario, a cluster contains ten devices, saving 9/10 (90%) of the required bandwidth on the CDN side.

Flink OTT Clusters

As more and more users consume data, more and more clusters emerge. The resulting total saving ratio is equal to the average of all clusters' saving ratio. One of Flink OTT's main components is a collection of algorithms that decide how to cluster end devices to achieve the highest saving ratio possible.

Flink OTT Multiple Clusters

While the final result always depends on a lot of external factors like geographical density, network capacity, and session length of devices, we typically see the following results:

Number Of Concurrent Users Average Saving Ratio
<10 (Lab Test) 50% - 90%
<50 ~65%
<500 ~75%
<5.000 ~80%
50.000+ ~85%

Do you add additional latency to my stream, or are there other potential problems?

No, Flink OTT does not add additional latency to your stream. However, low latency environments can cause a drop in saving ratio when using Flink OTT. We recommend the following setup for your HLS / Dash streaming playlist:

Configuration Value
Segment length at least 2 sec
Playlist length at least 4 segments

Flink OTT comes with an intelligent fallback system. Each end device keeps an open connection to the original content source (the CDN). The Flink OTT Client SDK measures local bandwidth capacities and decides in real-time whether or not to use a WebRTC connection for content delivery. That means if viewers do not have enough bandwidth capacities to share content, they simply won't.

With this approach, Flink OTT guarantees the optimal ratio between regular CDN traffic and WebRTC traffic between users. Furthermore, as Flink OTT adapts to bandwidth changes in real-time, the network will always converge to this optimal state.

Where do you host your technology?

Flink OTT is hosted in the Google Cloud Platform (GCE), Amazon Webservices (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. However, for large scale projects, Flink OTT can run on-premise within any containerized environment.

Does your technology work with DRM?

Yes, Flink OTT is 100% DRM compatible and does not interfere with the security layers added by a DRM system. Additionally, all information that is exchanged between end devices or between end devices and our servers is 100% protected and TLS encrypted.

Flink OTT DRM Support

Flink OTT works in a network layer to optimize the way segments are distributed between end devices. While doing this, all segments remain decrypted. As each segment is encrypted the same way for each user, there is no problem in exchanging those segments. Once a segment reaches an end device, the DRM service, that runs in a local application layer starts decrypting the segment.

Which streaming servers, CDNs, and protocols do you support?

Flink OTT is a highly adaptable software that generally adapts to every server infrastructure, CDN, protocols, or players. If you want to make sure Flink OTT supports your setup, you can check out our list of supported software and services πŸ”— for Fink OTT.

How can I use your technology?

The easiest way to get started with Strive's services is to follow our Get Started Guide πŸ”—, followed by the Flink OTT Integration Guide πŸ”—.

Product

What is your business model?

Flink OTT offers a daily, monthly, or yearly license model. Along with service and set-up fees (if applicable), your license is priced based on the number of concurrent users in your network. Based on this number, we calculate a fixed license fee for your license period (day, month, year).

If you exceed the number of concurrent users, overage fees might apply.

Please note: Your license will never be priced based on traffic. Once you agree to a certain number of maximum concurrent users, you can generate an arbitrary amount of traffic with these users - pricing will not change.

Can I test your software?

After your platform account has been set up πŸ”—, you are ready to use Strive in a sandbox-environment without additional payment data or any other commitment. We do not limit trial phases. Therefore, you will have to get in contact with us if you want to go from trial mode to production mode.

By default, each platform account is hosted inside our test cloud environment. This infrastructure provides you with all the available features of Strive. However, the available resources (CPU, RAM, processing time, concurrent users) are limited. While this setup works great for demonstration and testing purposes, it will not hold up to the requirements of a large scale production environment.

Whenever you feel comfortable enough to move from trial to production mode, contact us via email or give us a call. We are happy to provide you with an in-depth offer that perfectly fits your requirements.

I only want to test your technology for a percentage of my audience. Is this possible?

Yes. You can configure your swarms so that they become active based on a set of rules (random, client device information, geoinformation).

How can I verify that my infrastructure works with Strive?

You can check out the Flink OTT integration guide πŸ”— for all necessary integration steps. Steps 1 - 4 cover the verification of your infrastructure configuration. If you pass step 4, you are ready to integrate the Flink OTT Client SDK into your web or native application.

You can either do a lab test with our partner's demo page πŸ”— or, after completing the Flink OTT integration guide πŸ”—, you can check the reporting guide πŸ”— to get a better understanding of the data collected by the Flink OTT Client SDK.

Yes. Flink OTT's swarm & configuration concept πŸ”— allows optimizing multiple streams and applications in a multi-CDN environment.

Isn't this P2P technology?

Yes and no. Flink OTT is a new generation of peer to peer network software. The main difference lies in the control and communication of the system. Older technologies like BitTorrent come with a decentralized approach.

Flink OTT Client Side VS Server Side Management

Client-side-managed networks offer stronger decentralization and the prevention of shutting down the entire network. On the other hand, server-side-managed networks trade this feature for higher network control, less overhead inside the network, and more security.

The following table shows the pros and cons of both sides from the perspective of a live broadcasting company. The evaluation of both sides features assumes that the broadcaster wants to optimize video streaming infrastructure for large scale OTT video streaming events.

Client-Side-Managed P2P Networks Server-Side-Managed P2P Networks
Highly decentralized (no central component available) Central management component with control of the entire Peer-To-Peer network
❌ No control over the network. Once users have connected, the entire network management is up to their peers. βœ… Fully controllable network. Peers act according to the server's instructions. Since the server has information about every single peer, network management can be done based on complete information.
❌ Inefficient communication. As there is no central management unit, peers have to manage their network topology by themselves. Managing a network only on a peer-base often includes long delays due to pings and health checks within a peer-to-peer network. βœ… Optimal network management. As a management server has a full overview of the entire P2P network, along with geo and bandwidth information of each peer, network management becomes very easy. The server can send "connect" and "disconnect" events to shape the peer-to-peer network in the most efficient way.
❌ Insecure data exchange. Without a central point of trust, peers are unable to detect if the content from other peers is compromised or not, causing a big security breach. βœ… Full security via signatures. A peer-to-peer management server sends instructions to each peer whose data should be shared and received. Thus, the server knows what content each peer should receives. Thus, the server can add hash values to each peer's received command. If the peer receives content that doesn't match the server's hash, it can report the peer and re-fetch the compromised data from the fallback CDN.

Integration

In order to integrate Flink OTT into your web or native application, check out the Flink OTT integration guide πŸ”—.

Yes. In order to integrate Flink OTT into your native iOS or Android application, check out the Flink OTT integration guide πŸ”—.

Yes. In order to integrate Flink OTT into your TV application or Set-Top-Box, check out the Flink OTT integration guide πŸ”—.