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Real Time Video Sharing Free!
Vimali Swamy
Monday, October 5, 2009
Sanpper is an ardent player of World of Worldcraft online. For days, he has been trying to complete the seventh level of the game, which happens to be one of the toughest levels. Today, he crossed the level and has joined the league of the very few who have managed to do so. Unable to contain his excitement, he wishes to share the details of the game to other players in the War of Warcraft gaming community so that the other gamers can see and learn the strategies to go to the next level. The gamers have no facility to broadcast live gaming to fellow gamers.

Things have changed, thanks to Dyyno, a Silicon Valley startup. With its instant sharing solution, Dyyno enabled the gamers to broadcast their games in real time at games.dyyno.com. With a single click, any number of gamers could now connect to watch and hear the player in realtime and chat with each other. Groups of friends could also now play together while watching each others’ screen. Moreover, viewers around the world could now watch the most successful champions broadcast their wins live. In addition to building and enhancing their personal brand, the gamers can also earn money on the ad share model with high viewership.

Founded in 2007 and headed by Raj Jaswa, Dyyno is just out of the stealth mode and is on a journey to revolutionize the way people share videos online. With its unique software-as-a-service (SaaS) video distribution platform, the Palo Alto based company allows everyone to instantly share live video and rich media with an audience ranging from one, ten, or ten thousand viewers. Individuals, small and medium businesses (SMBs), communities, and enterprises can now use Dyyno’s platform to share video and multimedia at realtime basis at just one-tenth of the cost of traditional solutions.

From Research to Functional Product

The genesis of Dyyno was set two years ago, when a team of researchers from Stanford Multimedia Labs decided to build a video platform from scratch, based on their research. The team recognized a huge market gap in the applications and platform for social and collaborative software. The idea was whether one could actually share what was happening on the screen, both audio and video, in realtime with other people across the Web, and take business, consumers, and social networking applications to newer standards. Their idea was based on two key facts (though the current client-server model was working well), the cost of video distribution was still very high compared to that of text; and large-scale, one-to-many streaming required multiple Web servers, while peer-to-peer (P2P) distribution model scaled better than centralized networks when it came to distributing video.

Popular video sharing platforms like YouTube or TV sites like Livestream.com use either Flash Media or Windows Media streaming server for video distribution. Based on the client server architecture, they work reliably and give a very consistent viewing. However, the cost involved for the bandwidth is high because every user takes up a lot of bandwidth. Also one has to pay technology vendors like Microsoft and Adobe for software license and server vendors for storage and distribution of video streams. In parallel, companies like Napster, an online music file sharing service, have been using P2P distribution that eliminates the need for central servers, allowing all computers to communicate and share resources as equals. Instant messaging and several other network applications also rely on this model. Though it allows realtime file sharing and is free and scalable, it is highly unreliable and lacks control. One does not know when he will receive the packets and since the file transfer is from one computer to the other, if the sender shuts his computer, then the file may either be broken or not downloaded at all.

“The solution the team came up with was to marry both the architectures - low cost and scalability of peer-to-peer video distribution with the control and reliability of client-server by basically back-filling from a central hub (in the cloud) whatever data packets, for some reason or another, couldn’t get through. This patent pending hybrid model is 98 percent peer-to-peer and two percent client-server based, bringing down the cost exponentially,” explains Jaswa, CEO, Dyyno. Where a normal server might serve 1,000 streams, Dyyno can bring 100,000 streams.

Dyyno’s platform enables broadcasting streams on a private or public basis. Its robust failover mechanism guarantees high quality video streaming (HD resolution of 20 frames per second) anytime anywhere. The platform adapts to different rendering technologies (DirectX, OpenGL, and more) for screen capture and has the ability to capture over 1,000 different applications and games.

Video Broadcasting for Free

Whether you are broadcasting live camcorder streams, videos, Flash Media, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, or any other rich media content, Dyyno platform offers one click broadcast and one click view depending on the user need. Once Dyyno is installed, users only need to ‘drag’ the ‘d’ (the Dyyno icon) onto the desktop application or stream they wish to broadcast, and then click ‘share’ to instantly share their visual experience with their community on a public or private basis. Dyyno viewers can become part of the community and instantly see everything the broadcaster chooses to share from his or her desktop by clicking on the Dyyno broadcaster’s unique URL.

In addition to the broadcasting and viewing capabilities, the Dyyno SaaS platform supports other key capabilities including realtime stream management and directory services to generate live, branded community channel guides and channels from millions of distinct streams; three distribution modes: live mode, scheduled replay, and video-on-demand (VOD); usage reports and a services control center that give the customer a view of who is using the platform at any given time; and the ability to control the streams.

With its simple drag and drop function, Dyyno today is nothing short of becoming the Twitter for videos, a more robust WebEx video conferencing service, and a realtime ultra personalized YouTube for businesses and enterprises.

One of the most successful deployments of Dyyno was by Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC) that organizes video games tournaments and develops technologies linked to networked games. Present in over 50 countries in the form of a national license, it runs over 3,000 live events every year. Once a year, the events culminate in a grand final international championship that is open to public and attracts a live audience of 30,000 spectators. In the initial few years, ESWC generated revenue through a 3-tier model - sponsorships of live events, ticket sales, and franchises to local chapters. Although the online community of users was growing by the day, ESWC was not benefiting from the potential upside of new revenue streams from advertising. In order to truly grow brand awareness and take advantage of this new advertising revenue stream, ESWC had to give their league members around the world the opportunity to watch their games ‘live’. Since the traditional broadcasting channels would not give ESWC the air time they needed, the decision was made to broadcast the competitions directly from the ESWC website using a simple and cost effective solution.

Dyyno approached ESWC and the gaming federation saw the potential solution for their live broadcasting needs. Dyyno and ESWC launched their first pilot during their World Competition in early July in Paris, France. With just one laptop and a click, the games were broadcast live on the big screen at the event site and streamed on the ESWC website simultaneously. Viewers around the world, who could not make it to Paris for the event, were able to view not only the image of the game, but also critical information about the score, the players, and the profiles of the players in addition to hearing voice commentary about the game. They also heard the sounds of the game and of the audience, and could split their screen between the players and the game. It was as good as being present at the venue.

Even without advertising the functionality broadly beyond a select number of users, the pilot was a tremendous success. The peak audience for the event broadcast was almost 2,000 viewers and the number of unique viewers during the course of the event was almost 15,000. Using the results of the pilot to refine its features, Dyyno and ESWC are now gearing up for the next event for a broader outreach.

The brief customer engagement also allowed Dyyno to observe several technical snags and shortcomings when the product was deployed in the real world. A real challenge for the team was to address the problems over Internet connectivity. “Internet is a very complicated environment as its dynamics change from country to country and PC to PC. From bandwidth to network equipment, Internet protocols, firewall security, operating systems, browsers, and more the user environments are not the same everywhere,” says Jaswa. Hence, the real challenge has been to develop and deploy a universal video distribution solution that supports a heterogeneous broadcasting and viewing environment. Though Dyyno currently is available only for Windows based PCs, a Mac version is due for release in a few weeks.

Myriad of Solutions

Recently out from its stealth mode, now the real challenge for Jaswa is finding new market opportunities and customers, but he is not perturbed. With complete confidence in his company he explains, “A few years back, YouTube found a market for itself because there was no market for user generated video. Once it launched its services suddenly, all kinds of people started uploading very interesting clips and set off the market for user generated multimedia content. Now, we say that YouTube is nothing but a video-on-demand service and we can further accelerate this market by making the content available in realtime at that too at one tenth of the cost of other players.” All that the company has to do is finding out what kind of users will benefit from this new low cost solution.

For Dyyno, user communities are a prime target, who will emerge to take advantage of its broadcast solution over time. Gaming communities (portal or publisher) can broadcast their game play live on their websites; simultaneously creating viral community and reaching out to large audience that wants to see the games the gamers show. An internal company survey reveals that over 80 percent gamers want to broadcast themselves when they play. Dyyno’s solution helps increase game sales, revenue by gamers showing off new games, and traffic on the publisher’s website, while helping to organize massive events for all to participate and advertise new products before release. “Dyyno’s breakthrough technology allows players across the Outspark virtual playground broadcast their gaming sessions live to the world. It also allows users to watch friends and rivals play in realtime, without disrupting their game experience,” says Susan Choe, Chairman of Outspark. “Within minutes, Outspark gamers can install Dyyno and with one click of a hot key broadcast and show off their skills to anyone online. This capability will accelerate the growth of our community, which is now approaching five million members.”

Similarly, educational institutions and religious communities with widespread member base and audience stream videos for its members. Several organizations such as TiE Global and Chinmaya Mission signed up with Dyyno to broadcast their events to members worldwide. The India based Chinmaya Mission is one of the early adopters of Dyyno’s broadcasting solutions. With 250 chapters across the globe, they have several disciples who broadcast from all these different places and connect to each other.

The second market the company has identified is of small and medium businesses (SMB), distance and e-learning, and professional groups. Businesses can also use Dyyno for training purposes. For example, a video can be streamed to 25 people learning a new application, and the trainer can watch each person to see how they’re performing and give advice as the training is taking place. Small groups of professionals such as sports trainers, doctors, or even students can make use of it to learn and share their knowledge with each other over live videos.

Keeping this in mind, Dyyno lets users build a channel of whatever they want to broadcast - live video, recorded video, presentations on their laptops, photo slideshows, or game-playing and then stream it live to many concurrent users. The content is also archived for later use. While the Dyyno Personal Channel costs $10 a month for one user, who may use it to capture and share live video with up to 10 people, the Business Channel is available for SMBs at $100 a month for 10 users who can share it with up to 100 concurrent viewers. In the corporate world, WebEx controls close to 60-70 percent of all the enterprise collaboration market. For Dyyno, WebEx is a wonderful application that allows sharing of static content such as desktop images and text during meetings. Dyyno has integrated video sharing solution with WebEx in order to provide seamless video distribution during online meetings. Its Web conferencing solution is one of its kind product that lets user stream videos seamlessly and up to HD resolution, without any choppiness, distortions, or audio-video sync problems, thereby targeting the enterprise market. It has an opportunity to become a Youtube for enterprises because its synchronous video allows not only realtime video, but also realtime instruction and collaboration. In a time when companies have slashed travel budgets, the realtime focus is more important than ever.

Low operating cost, scalability, and control over user content is the uniqueness in Dyyno’s business model. Since, Dyyno’s platform is a hybrid model using both P2P and client-server model, the cost of operation comes down to almost one tenth of that of the traditional players in the market.

Deploying Dyyno to broadcast its event live to its alumni, Piyush Agarwal, Marketing and Media Relations Chair, PanIIT says, “PanIIT is the largest conference by any Indian university. While this year’s event will take place in Schaumburg, Illinois, IIT alumni across the world and the current students can watch the conference live with Dyyno. We selected Dyyno live webcasting for its scalability and low cost.”

In destination portals such as YouTube, once a user uploads video content he loses his ownership over it. YouTube also limits video size to 2 gigabytes and reserves the right to place advertisements and monetizes on it. With Dyyno, the user’s ownership over content remains intact as it does not make any claims over it. “The business models out there for video distribution need to change. People will want to have control on the content they put out on the Web with respect to whom, where, how, and for how long they want to share it. Dyyno gives them that platform, and once they realize the value in free distribution of content our marketshare would increase simultaneously,” says Jaswa.

“We believe that Dyyno’s functionality makes sense for everybody and we have the potential to reach out to every Internet user for user generated video content for either business or entertainment purposes,” says Jaswa. With one click to broadcast and one click to view, the Dyyno platform enables anyone to instantly share anything on their computer - from a live, online video game such as World of Warcraft to a multimedia presentation during a Cisco WebEx conference. “Video on the Web is something a bunch of new startups are doing, but all of those companies are using the ten-year-old client-server technology to do it. They get the reliable streaming, but it’s so expensive that the more successful they become, the worse their business model becomes,” he adds.

The Road Ahead

Based on the SaaS model, the company will monetize both on the subscription model and an advertisement model by inserting an advertising pre-roll as the video loads on a user’s computer. While in WebEx based offerings, the company will charge a monthly subscriber fee, in community broadcasting, advertising model will come into play. From gaming companies and portals Dyyno will charge a small license fee for the initial installation, and once the revenue crosses $10,000 both the parties will split the revenue by 50 percent. “The ad model for gaming communities is huge, because it’s such a well-defined demographic,” Jaswa says.

Having just become commercial, Jaswa and team plan to take things slowly. “Our primary focus for the next 12 months is to extend the platform so that it becomes a truly universal product that is ready, robust, reliable, and concurrent to all geographies, devices, and software environment. With the convergence of communication devices, we want to develop a mobile version of Dyyno too,” he says. From the marketing and sales standpoint, the company hopes to continue to validate the use of its platform with different market segments like the religious segment, educational, gaming, and the enterprise market segment. Even in the short period since its launch the company has been successful in acquiring 20 paid customers, some of which are TiE Detroit, Artiman, SCV, Chinmaya, Outspark, Project Livestream, Machinima, MMOLife, and iLogon.

“At Artiman, we invest in outstanding teams pursuing white spaces in big markets. With its roots in Stanford Multimedia Labs and its revolutionary technology, Dyyno’s solution will be a game changer in how people interact and share live, rich multimedia information with each other. The results so far from early customers have been very gratifying,” says Saurabh Srivastava, General Partner at Artiman Ventures and board member at Dyyno. The venture firm has invested $5.5 million in the 25 people company till date.

Dyyyno is also eyeing the vast television market that has not capitalized on the online video broadcasting market. Due to the high cost of the existing video distribution solutions, television based media companies have been hesitant to step into the market and have lost a very good opportunity in terms of revenue. But Dyyno is betting high on changing the scenario very soon. “We first need to make the early adopters of Dyyno successful and once we have achieved that in a year from now, the company will focus on scaling up in terms of technology and customers,” Srivastava says. Currently supporting 5,000 or 10,000 streams, the challenge is to scale up and simultaneously support 100,000 streams and from having 100,000 viewers at any given point of time over multiple streams going up to 10 million or 50 million viewers.

According to Whit Andrews, Vice President and Analyst at the global research firm Gartner, the interest in video streaming technology has taken off, propelled in part by the public’s endless fascination with YouTube. “There are not many people generating detailed business processes with annotations happening in a live stream. When you see the gaming as a demo it makes you wonder how you can use it for yourself. It’s that compelling. Dyyno has the potential to disrupt any number of markets, from remote education, training, and corporate travel to television news and entertainment,” says Andrews.

In the coming days, a very positive market opportunity beckons Jaswa, who with the company’s innovative low cost live video sharing solutions for all, is set to script a new revolution in the World Wide Web with Dyyno.

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