Looking Back Is Looking Forward
Can you look back on a time in your life, maybe a span of five years, when you could say you made a meaningful impact to your industry, or the world in general? Was it from 20 to 25? 35 to 40? For most of us, identifying those times in our life when we were making the most impact is not an easy task. Our achievements are often spread out over a lifetime. From education to family to work, we often create meaningful impact to our lives and sometimes the world around us, in fits and starts. Think about the great artists, writers, musicians, industrial tycoons, leaders, and more. Their achievements are usually lumped together in clusters, often influenced through their experience in life. As these people gather more wisdom and knowledge, they can burst upon the scene and then just as quickly fade away only to be back again five or 10 years later.
It’s in this vein that we look back on the first five years of the Streaming Video Alliance.
The organization began in 2014 with a single project called Open Caching. This project was very revolutionary, promising a framework and architecture to tie together various network providers and create a seamless way to deliver video content. That project carried the Alliance through its first couple of years, marshaling the required forces beyond those 14 initial member companies to enable their vision of transparently sharing data across the video delivery value chain. CDNs, ISPs, and content owners would all have insight into the same delivery data because their caches would be connected seamlessly through a framework of APIs. But it was also clear that there were other challenges within the streaming video ecosystem to tackle. For example, there was (and still is) considerable disagreement around how delivery QoE metrics are defined. Everyone seems to have their own definition. So the Alliance took on the prospect of creating a standard set of metrics and defining them. These were the “must measure” elements to be able to adequately track and analyze end-user viewing experience. The resulting document was eventually adopted by the CTA Wave group in their project to create a QoE measurement standard based upon the Alliance’s definitions. What originally drove the Alliance into the heart of the streaming video industry, Open Caching, became just one of the many projects on which the organization rode. From advertising to scaling to security, new working groups popped up and began to address the challenges which hindered video distributors, OTT service providers, and others from delivering streaming video viewers a “broadcast-like” experience.
As the Alliance began to tackle more projects, the organization matured as well. What may have seemed to some in the industry as a single-purpose agenda (Open Caching) driven by just a couple of companies within the Alliance, became just a catalyst to transformation. The Alliance soon honed its purpose to three core objectives: education, collaboration, and definition. And, in doing so, it took its place in the arena alongside such organizations as IETF, SMPTE, CTA, and W3C working together to guide a chaotic, fledgling streaming industry (where fights about technologies are common and new approaches appear almost daily) with best practices, guidelines, specifications, and even standards, to ensure that the path of QAM to IP, from broadcast to streaming, would provide users with an experience similar to what they have become comfortable with sitting on their couches.
Looking back on these past five years, it is truly amazing to see what the Alliance has accomplished, not only in the 13 published documents, but in how the organization has established itself as a major force to help guide the streaming video industry as it grows and transforms over the next 50 years. Formed around a cadre of amazing companies and engineers, the Alliance isn’t producing in fits and starts. It’s not going to disappear after it’s finished with Open Caching and then reappear years later with the “next big thing.” It is ramping up, the engine cylinders warming to the uphill climb ahead, the pistons firing, the torque gathering. New working groups, more members, incredible projects, and POCs are already planned, capable of carrying the Alliance through the years ahead and ensuring its place within the pantheon of groups that really matter to the technology of video. Below are a few highlights of what the Alliance has accomplished over the past five years:
- Over 300% member growth
- 13 publications across 5 working groups
- 18 member meetings held both domestically and internationally
- Over 20 instructional webinars on streaming video
- Presentations at dozens of conferences around the globe
These past five years have been a testament to what people can do when they come together and collaborate to solve critical technical challenges. We’ll leave it to your imagination what the Alliance may accomplish over the next two years, let alone five.
All engines full ahead, number one.