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How to Build Out Video Capabilities for Your App in the Age of APIs

Written by:
June 27th, 2018
Kieran Farr is an experienced technical founder and senior executive with over a decade of experience working with online video infrastructure. He now works as a product marketer and developer evangelist at Bitmovin, the market leader in providing online video infrastructure for complex workflows involving video encoding, playback and analytics. Kieran is also a community advocate for web-based standards to deliver 360º video, VR, and AR experiences and advises startup founders working in video, crypto and XR at 500 Startups and the European Innovation Academy.

Bitmovin API for video platforms

Snapchat. Instagram stories. LinkedIn autoplay. Video, the next wave of communication. Consumer communication trends often have an impact on product development, as app creators cater to the ways users expect to interact both with their products and each other. Developers have to accommodate these requests and it’s not a problem we can ignore.

Here’s why:

But unlike when social media hit its apex, integrating video into your app is not as easy as installing a “share this” button. Adding video to your SaaS product, or making it an integral publishing offer for your users, can be a headache. Most product teams don’t have the video development resources to match those of Facebook or Netflix.

Stefan and Chris at Y Combinator

We’ve believed in online video since the beginning. Our founders, Stefan Lederer and Christopher Mueller, studied computer science, specializing in multimedia streaming and video compression. As their knowledge grew, one question persisted: how can we stream video better?

Bitmovin was built on this passion and the pursuit to make video better by solving complex streaming problems. Ever since then we’ve been innovating – building and deploying the first commercial HTML5 player, achieving 100x realtime encoding speeds in the cloud, and constructing the first containerized video encoding solution. You read about Netflix and YouTube’s dominance above; we co-created MPEG-DASH, a universal standard utilized by the streaming giants. Now, our team is several times bigger, which means that we can tackle more complex video problems and enable more use cases for our users, the developers.

We also doubled our commitment to research, and the list of firsts continues – last year we deployed the first end-to-end AV1 livestream (winning Best of NAB Streaming Media). This year we saw the introduction of artificial intelligence in video workflows, starting with the first commercially available AI-powered Per-Title Encoding solution, using machine learning to determine optimal encoding settings for each type of content. Of course, the research and development is only the start, the real reward and motivation are seeing these innovations implemented by the customer’s dev teams.

Why We Believe Component Solutions Make Developers Better Developers

The open web means all things are possible. For developers, the open web can be a source of inspiration and lead to exciting collaborations with tech giants. It’s also a lot of pressure. DIY starts to get in the way of GSD. This challenge can become a lethal businesses problem.

Video is a highly engaging addition to apps, or sometimes core to the app offering, but developers with deep knowledge in video are in short supply. Developers need the ability to improve their product without having to take the time and resources to educate themselves on an entirely new skill set. APIs and component solutions are the best option. The reasoning? Web development is becoming standardized. Component solutions allow for quick development and lightning fast POCs because they function like an assembly line; plug and play. Because of this, you can adopt new technologies, like advanced codecs, quickly while using the SaaS model to reduce the overheads of maintenance and feature upgrades.

Using a video encoding API, like Bitmovin, and the hands-on developer resources and support that comes with it, Developers can successfully achieve their goals at scale, while still focusing on their core value proposition. This is why Bitmovin exists. We’re here to simplify video and help you get “un-stuck.”

How Video Encoding APIs Simplify Workflow Problems

Whether you’re utilizing the open web or a paid service, you’re looking to overcome challenges quickly and prove the value of a solution. The developers that find and try Bitmovin are searching for component parts already. Among the top 10 queries are: dash player, av1 encoder, cmaf and hls player.

Finalizing your list of options, you have to test, and it needs to be easy. But then, what happens when it’s not? We’ve all been there- evaluating an open source tool and dedicating more time to investigating the API documentation and sifting through the community forums. This is why we support our APIs not just with robust documentation and tutorials, but also demos and direct dev-to-dev communication channels (like Slack).

Bitmovin demonstration area

We’re obsessed with our customers, asking, what are the steps we can take to make them successful as quickly as possible? After all, we are a solutions-oriented business, which means we’re eager to help. The support team is essential to this, but our focus on making your solution work starts early. Even in the sale process, we want to avoid the disconnect that can happen when a sales rep is paired with a developer. We bring on support engineers to solve the issue early on.

What Developers Can Do to Add and Test Video Capabilities Quickly

The open web has trained developers that they should see results first before deciding to pay for a tool. So we have created numerous video solutions demos that developers can integrate with to see options personalized for their product and business. Below are a few of the most popular,

5 Types of Video-Specific Integrations and APIs for SaaS Platforms

  1. Stream Test for DASH, HLS, and Progressive: Test your video files in the Bitmovin Player, simply by pasting the location of your manifest file and selecting the file type. You’ll see firsthand just how good your videos look in any browser and on any device, no plugins- with a super-fast startup.
  2. DRM Stream Test: Try a protected DRM stream live and get immediate insights into which DRM system and codecs are supported by your browser. Integrating DRM into your video workflow is much easier than you think.
  3. Native Player SDKs: Bitmovin’s Native SDKs give you everything you need to get your video playing anywhere, any device, any platform. The unified configuration, UI and API gives you a single point of control  across all the different platforms that you support, creating a consistent experience for your users, whichever device they use.
  4. UI Styling: A unified UI config ensures that your player will look the same, regardless of which device or platform it is rendered on. This demo includes some simple interactive color controls to change the user interface along with code examples showing you how to take your branding to the next level.
  5. Ad Scheduling: Generate more advertising revenue using quick, seamless ad insertion within platforms and apps. Try our player and see how it can integrate with different advertising standards, namely VAST, VPAID, IMA, and VMAP. Just connect to your ad server for testing.

Want more options? 25 New and Improved Online Video Delivery Demos

We solve complex video problems. The Bitmovin API offers the support to scale quickly and know it will work. Video component solutions are the best option for developers who want to power their apps and Saas products with video, but don’t have video development skills in their “developer toolbox.” In the Age of APIs it’s no longer necessary! Implement, test, and make it a success. We’ll be here when you need us.

Should We Work Together? Let’s Find Out.