Private Cloud: A brief introduction and why we need it

By now we have gained reputation from various types of clients, including education, K-12, clinical medicine, financial, real estate and transportation, serving tens of millions of audiences daily.

While most businesses and enterprises are satisfied with our typical video hosting and live streaming service based on general shared cloud computing, some large-scale enterprises have asked for building cloud video service on their own cloud network (or at least, their server groups), with almost the same functionalities in POLYV’s Video Cloud and Streaming Cloud.

That’s why we raise the idea of Private Cloud – deploy POLYV’s service on a private or internal network.

Usually when we use Video Cloud or Streaming Cloud, the data is stored in the servers of CDNs that not just serve POLYV. Generally speaking, the data in the shared CDNs is safe and stable enough, and the CDN service providers can resist common cyber-attacks (such as DDoS) or technical issues. What’s more, the cost of deploying the service on shared CDNs is less – from the leasing of CDN to the human resources to maintain the service – and is flexible to expand or contract the scale if needed.

Yet, there are some large enterprises requiring a higher level of security, demanding that the data should be stored within the network of their own server, or using specific CDNs that are fully owned or leased to the user and not shared with other users. And for the functionalities, they should be the same as the general video cloud services.

Hence we have the idea of Private Cloud – we can deploy Video Cloud or Streaming Cloud within their internal network, or on the CDN network that are designated only for the enterprises. They can either hire operation engineers, or apply one-on-one technical assistance from our VIP service.

And since the data is now stored in the private network, it is even more secure than in the shared network, taking the private version of Video Cloud and Streaming Cloud service to a new level, and no fear of leaking the data of employees or confidential papers.

That’s all for the brief introduction of our Private Cloud. If you are interested in this service, feel free to contact our customer service for more information, or check out our official website http://www.polyv.net/ for more information.

5 Tips for making your live streaming sessions better

Howdy! Nowadays live streaming is getting more and more popular, from online courses, Q&A/AMA to gigs and sketches, we can get in touch with it in different aspects in our daily life.

Now, if you decide to start your live streaming classroom, show or channel, and you have no idea how to make your sessions engaged to your audience, here are the 5 tips just for you.

1. Studies and preparations

If you are going to give a speech or giving classes to your audience, you should be clear to the topic or subject for each session; if you are giving sketches or gigs, the main idea of the whole session should be well planned as well. In other words, you should always know what you are talking about or doing all the time.

It’s always better if you are familiar or skilled in the topic, subject, or the way you present your ideas. If not, don’t panic – do some thorough researches on the subject, then summarize the knowledge and things you know. By this way you can get a better picture on what you’re about to put on the livestream, and gain confidence for yourself as well.

2. Rehearsal is key

Now your topic, subject or main idea is ready, and have planned for how to present it, it’s time to realize it by practicing and rehearsing it before it literally goes live.

You can make the rehearsal in front of a mirror by yourself, or with a few friends or colleagues whoever you’re comfortable with. With these rehearsals, you can know better for how long your speech is, and what or where the changes may need to be made.

Besides, practicing out loud a few times will help you feel familiar with your subjects or ideas, and keep it well organized.

3. Dress well and get comfortable

Before starting your live streaming session, you can put on your clothes you like – no matter a T-shirt, pajama, or dress shirt with a tie, it’s totally okay – as long as your dress code is appropriate for the situation, and you’re comfortable or confident with it.

Also, you should arrive early, which means you have time to familiarize the place, and make sure everything for the live streaming session is ready.

4. Engage with your audience

Now you begin your live streaming session. Besides focus on the subject or idea you present, don’t forget to interact with your audience. You know, while you have tons to offers your viewers, they will most likely want to offer something back. Having the ability to ask questions, make comments and interact with you, plus the other viewers, can have a profound impact on your live streaming session.

You can offer a live chat window next to your broadcast, or leave some time for the Q&A with your audience during or after the session. This will create engaging audience members and will have them coming back to your live streaming courses, shows or sketches again.

5. Be consistent

This is an important tip for not only veteran live streamers, but first-timers as well.

Being on time is a huge aspect of streaming that sometimes goes unnoticed. Being on time doesn’t just mean starting right when the time slated is getting there 15 minutes early is always recommended. This prevents any viewers who are early from leaving because there is nothing to watch or do.

The other thing you want is to be consistent regarding what day and time you are going to stream. It will be hard to follow your broadcasts when you live stream on different times, like one on a Tuesday at 17:00 one week but another one on Friday at 10:00 the next. Keep consistent with the day and time you stream to keep your viewership consistent and informed.

 

And here’s our 5 tips for your live streaming sessions. Hopefully they’re useful for making your sessions better and attractive. Or if you have any ideas on this topic, feel free to leave your comments or advice down below. See you in the next article!

[POLYV Insight] What can we do with live streaming? (Part 2 – Consumer products)

In the first chapter of the insight, we talked about live streaming service for entertaining, and draws that it is hard to maintain a steady growth for the audience as well as the commercial value. Here from Part 2, we will start discussing live streaming service for various type of  business and other professional needs.

Consumer product is currently one of the major use for commercial purpose, especially in smart devices, household appliances, clothing and accessories. Millions of customers have learned about how to use the product or how it looks like with the product through the livestreams, and there are more things that live streaming can do.

We have come up with several ideas for using live streaming for now or in the near future.

1. Unboxing

Unboxing videos are currently widely used in product review channels or websites. The audience can learn a lot information – including the appearance, the features and how it works – from the videos.

And since live streaming is more timeliness-demanding, when unboxing events combine with live streaming, the audience can now learn about the new features of the product right at the press convention or first hands-on, with the help of the host or professional reviewers.

The bottom line, live streaming speeds up the way people learn about new products and features even at thousand miles away, and influences their impression on the products and the decision of buying them or not.

2. Product demonstration for training

Product demonstration is also a major use of videos. We’ve already seen a lot in both television and internet, but what if they are on live streaming?

If we put a product demonstration for livestreaming, it is more like a live tutorial for those who are new to the product, to train what it can do and how to use it. For this situation, the live streaming can be used for internal/corporate training and help freeing HR staff from the repetitive job.

3. VR/MR fitting and tailoring

Well, this is literally the “next big thing” in the near future. Even though the VR/MR fitting is still in development, there are some prototypes in progress surfacing to media, and even a few early products (such as FXGEAR) coming into reality.

However, the VR fitting gears currently still sit in big shopping malls and require a set of devices and softwares that are too expensive and complicated for general consumers. And for the VR devices like Oculus, HTC Vive VR and PlayStation VR, the fitting application is not yet developed.

But there’s still hope for the virtual fitting – some developers try to build applications that can scan and build the 3D model of your body using 1 to 3 cameras or even webcams that are easy to get, and the fitting result takes only seconds to send back to the customers. And with the help of MR using projectors, you can even see how the fitting and style is.

At this point, you can find and shop the clothes and accessories that match your style and size, without even going outside.

Another industry that will get benefits from VR/MR is the bespoke tailoring. Traditionally it requires a lot of precise measurements which should be done in the tailor shop, and another 1~3 fitting adjustments during the process. It takes a lot of time for both the tailors and the customers.

With the help of VR fitting, the tailors can instruct the customer how to pose and do the measurement, and obtain all accurate body measurements through a set of cameras or infrared measuring devices, then make a cast from these data using 3D printers. Now they can start the tailoring, and require only 1 or even no fitting adjustments during the process, which saves a lot of time and make the bespoke delivery from at least 3 weeks to only 12~14 days.

Of course, there are many more aspects live streaming can do in the field of consumer products that we don’t mention above due to limitations of the length. So what else aspects do you come up with that related to live streaming and consumer products? Let us know in the comment section down below, and we’ll see you in the next article!

POLYV Streaming Cloud Update (July 2017)

Hi everyone! Here we are thrilled to announce the latest features and updates of Streaming Cloud. Let’s get started!

111

1. Optimizations for Question & Inquiry function. We released the Question & Inquiry function in the 1st half of 2017, and received many feedback from our users and developers. And now, we’ve made this function more useful with the optimizations listed as following –

(1) Adding “Question & Inquiry” menu category in mobile interface;

(2) After adding a new question session and saving it, the audience can submit their questions and inquiries from different devices including PC, smartphones and tablets;

(3) The “Question & Inquiry” session will be closed immediately once you remove it.

2. Viewer registration update. We’ve added “Name” as a type of registration field, and now you can use it to register and authorize the audience along with the field.

What’s more, the names registered by the audience can be used for their nickname in the live chatroom.

3. Interface optimizations and other minor bug fixes.

The latest update of Streaming Cloud is now on. You can check out our develop center for detailed information, or troubleshoot the problems you encounter while testing the latest version of Streaming Cloud. And if you don’t have a Streaming Cloud account, visit http://my.polyv.net/v2/register first to sign up yours.

We will notify you if there’s any major updates for our services or clients, so stay tuned and see you soon!

[POLYV Insight] Video convention or Live streaming?

Video convention has been one of the most common ways to connect and interact with each other. It helps people to communicate face to face even they’re thousand miles apart, eliminating what we know as “deserted islands of information”.

However, with the rise of mobile internet, video convention gets old-schooled – especially when businesses and enterprises require online collaboration, cloud office workflows and many things else.

Besides, video convention has several critical flaws:

  • High expense – the whole set of video convention system costs at least tens of thousands of dollars; what’s more, installing it and training sessions afterwards costs another thousands of dollars as well as the time consumed;
  • Poor quality – the transmission of video convention system really depends on the quality of internet, and even with gigabit broadband and super-low latency, the graphic quality doesn’t go very well as expected; and if disconnected, it needs more time to reconnect;
  • Lack of collaboration – you can only hear what other colleagues talking and not able to anything else, or vice versa.

All in all, video convention is not an efficient choice.

 

Now, we have another choice – holding conventions with the help of live streaming.

It’s not a fully perfect plan — the latency of live streaming is within a few seconds, but still acceptable for group discussions or brainstorming.

And its advantages are obvious – you can attend the live streaming convention and continue your work at the same time without interrupting each other; or you can record the ideas together with other colleagues in cloud office applications, Evernote or mind mapping tools; with the help of big data and cloud analysis, you can draw accurate conclusions to the analysis and make improvements to your workflow.

What’s more, this new workflow can be applied to various situations and industries – from long-distance office collaborations to massive live events or exhibitions, from e-learning to financial analysis, you can find its way to the situation or field you are working in.

Still troubling with the old school video convention systems? Now it’s time to embrace the new technologies and switch your workflow to video live streaming!

Questions from You: How to troubleshoot the issues of my live streaming?

Question:

I’m now using Streaming Cloud for long, and it’s been working well. But recently my livestreams are getting sluggish and buffer a lot, and my audience often report about the lagging and poor watching experience. What can I do to troubleshoot the issue?


111

Honestly saying, our technical support team has received different types of complaints about the lagging or buffering during live streaming. Since the cause of lagging varies, we have to find out the right way to solve the issue.

We usually judge if the lagging is temporary or lasts longer first. If the lagging is temporary, it is more likely caused by the network condition – either by the network you use for pushing the livestream, or by the network of your audience.

At this situation, you need to check the network connection, and see if the issue is on your network device, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) or something else. We will not discuss this in detail since the possible cause varies.

If the lagging lasts long (like for tens of seconds or keeps lagging since your livestream started), you have to determine if the issue is caused by the Push side (who start the livestream and upload the streaming data) or the Pull side (who receive the livestream and download the streaming data).

You can check the livestream by the following steps –

1. Find out how many of the audience (Pull side) that encounter lagging.

2. If not all audience encounter lagging, that means the network condition of these audience is not good, and is required for further inspection.

3. If all audience encounter lagging, that means the streaming source from the livestream host (Push side) is not set properly. This can be caused by one of the following problems –

(1) The network condition of the Push side. Since it directly affects the transmission of the livestream, we recommend you check this first. And if it is the problem, you should fix it immediately.

(2) The firewall settings. Sometimes the livestream gets affected by the firewall settings of your operation system, which may block the live streaming client from transmitting the streaming data. You can add the live streaming client to the application white list to make it gain access needed for your livestream.

(3) The settings for the livestream. Sometimes improper parameters cause the lagging, such as using streaming bitrate that is too high for the network, or enabling too much features that the network is unable to process in time (especially the interactive functions in a jammed network). For this situation, you can try disabling some of them to see if the lagging issue is solved.

4. If you can’t find any problem with the inspections in Step 3, and you are using our live streaming client (PC/iOS/Android), you can submit the log file to our technical support to diagnose and pinpoint the issue.

If you are using OBS or other streaming client, you can try to find the log file if there is one, and submit to our technical support with the streaming client you use and its version if available, as errors may occur in some versions of the third-party streaming clients.

Besides, our technical support will contact the provider of our CDN, to see if there are anomalies appearing during the time of the livestream, and will have further contact to solve them.

OK, that’s a wrap for this Q&A session. It may take some time to find out the cause of lagging, but this process can help you understand live streaming better and adjust the settings for better livestreams. And of course, we strongly recommend you giving a test or rehearsal before starting the livestream to fix the problems early.

Or, if you want to learn more about troubleshooting the issues during livestream beforehand, check out the develop center for manuals or detailed information. And if you encounter any problems during testing or livestream, feel free to contact our technical support in time. We are always here to listen.

Hope you like this article and find it useful. We’ll see you soon!

[POLYV Insight] Virtual Reality or Mixed Reality?

2016 is the year of Virtual Reality – with headset devices like Oculus, HTC Vive or Sony PlaySatation VR, and VR resources like Resident Evil 7, Rick And Morty VR and Google Earth VR, and even some interactive VR commercials, the technology of VR is rapidly changing the way we feel the world – you can now concentrate to the context of the story, and make yourself more involved into it.

YouTube gamer Sean McLoughlin (a.k.a. Jacksepticeye) demonstrating VR game

YouTube gamer Sean McLoughlin (a.k.a. Jacksepticeye) demonstrating VR game

The issues? You have to wear a heavy headset connected with cables to your computers, and interact in the game with some specially-designed controllers; your vision is “limited within the headset”, and not able to see the surroundings or environment, which causes you to knock things, other people or even yourself down.

Then, some researchers and developers begin to build what we know as “Mixed Reality” (MR).

The users don’t need to isolate themselves from the reality – instead, what they see is the combination of reality and the computer-generated graphics that are projected in the environment. The users can react to or interact with both reality and the CG graphics in real time, without them interfering each other.

Currently the most-mentioned solution of MR is the HoloLens by Microsoft. It seems to be similar with the project of Google Glass, but with stronger computing to generate holograms and other CG graphics, making it able to use in practical needs and demands, such as architecture design, clinical research, product demonstration & experience, K-12 education and more.

Microsoft HoloLens in various productive scenarios

Microsoft HoloLens in various productive scenarios

And for France-based THEORIZ, it has a different perspective for MR.

Their solution doesn’t require user to wear a headset or use controllers. It uses multiple projectors to simulate a virtual environment within a specific space like a room or a hall, and cameras or sensors to locate the user and capture his motions or movements. When the user interacts with the virtual environment, the system simultaneously generates graphic that respond the user’s behavior.

The solution makes it simple and intuitive for user to understand and start interacting with the virtual environment, and is very ideal for solo or even group interaction in some specific scenarios like trying on clothes, psychological experiments and zoology study simulations. And with this breakthrough, THEORIZ rises fast and gains much attention around the world.

Demonstration of THEORIZ MR solution (screenshot from Vimeo)

Demonstration of THEORIZ MR solution (screenshot from Vimeo)

The development of MR shares a lot of things in common with VR, but has higher criteria and needs more work on the environment buildup and motion capture. Therefore many MR solutions are still in small test currently and not yet ready for public test.

And there’re chances for VR to evolve while MR is not widely ready – Intel has announced that a technology of fast wireless transmission, specifically designed for VR devices, is under development. It helps the VR devices go wireless, making users can move and interact freely without the restriction of cables and wires between the devices and the computer. Besides, Oculus, HTC and Sony are improving their VR devices based on the feedback and advice from the users, and upgrade devices will be ready in months.

To draw the conclusion, the fight between VR and MR is still on. It’s hard to tell which is better for now, but we can see that both are changing the way we sense, interact and learn about the world.