Chip and Todd attended HaiSchool 101, a one-day training session led by Haivision in RTP on June 11. The training was attended by about 25 or so area video professionals, including representatives from NC State as well as A/V integrators like Kontek and IVCI.
Haivision has a long history and solid track record as a developer and manufacturer of hardware encoders and has particularly big footprints in the medical and worship spaces where low latency and secure streaming is critical, as well as sports, enterprise, federal and higher education. Haivision has an extensive product line, and there is a lot of complexity involved in determining which product or combination of products can work for a particular application. So it is in the company’s interest to offer training such as today’s session, and for them to develop partnerships with local integrators.
In addition to providing a great primer of technical concepts such as compression and encapsulation, unicast vs. multicast, latency, jitter, LAN vs. WAN, and QOS, the session focused on the following Haivision products:
Makito Classic & Makito X
The Makito encoder line is the self-stated centerpiece and foundation of the Haivision product line and integrates into nearly every platform they offer. This line was recently updated to the new Makito X encoder with SRT (Secure Reliable Transport) for distributing high quality video over “dirty,” public Internet. This is essentially Haivision’s take on forward error correction (FEC) and competes head on with third party services like LTN and Zixi. SRT looked interesting in that the player conveys information back to the server about what packets were lost so that corrections can be made. There is some latency (delay) cost for this, but the results demoed at the session were impressive in terms of quality. Another important note for SRT, as with other FEC services, is that it is a point-to-point solution. The receiving end is required to have a matching decoder to pick up the streams–it cannot be decoded with a third party decoder or software at this point. Haivision reps did say software decoding was coming and the SRT / FEC concept will blend into the rest of their product line very soon.
The original Makito encoder remains with a large price reduction–$8995 MSRP to $2995 in the 720P/1080I model, $4995 in the 1080P model. It has been retroactively rebranded as the Makito Classic.
Makito Classic Specs:
- SDI or DVI 720p/ 1080i version for $3,000
- 1080p Makito classic version previously was $8,995 — now $4,995, so the company is moving aggressively to compete better moving forward on price
- Airborne and harsh environment versions for military and other applications
Makito X Specs:
- Includes the Makito Classic Spec and builds upon them
- Adds multibitrate streaming up to 25mbps total and the SRT functionality above.
- Adds AES 256 Encryption
- Adds support for High Profile encoding
- Adds four cores of processing power and multiple streaming outputs
The Kraken is a true transcoder. Where the Makitos occupy the encoder space, the purpose of the Kraken is to process video that has already been encoded. This puts its location in a workflow closer to middleware, where it can re-purpose the video to meet automated or client requests.
If the Kraken and Makito had a baby, it would be the Kulabyte. It’s basically a hybrid product functioning as a software encoder that offers density and flexibility for spaces and projects where hardware encoders just aren’t practical. As with the hardware encoders, this system acts as the beginning of the workflow and feeds video data to downstream middleware and clients. Like the Kraken, the KulaByte is also a transcoder and add the ability to reprocess video that has already been encoded.
In addition to their encoders, Haivision offers a new way to manage the encoded streams they output. The Haivision Video Cloud (HVC) is an online video platform to manage and publish video content to desktop and mobile devices. This is a new venture for the company and puts them in competition with Kaltura. They currently have Moodle and Blackboard integrations and use a licensing model based on bandwidth similar to Kaltura’s.
Calypso is a video recording and distribution platform. Skills assessment and training is one potential application in higher ed, while news offices and other media-centric staff departments could make great use of this as a multipurpose recorder. Some of the features of this platform include:
- End to end AES encryption
- Detailed reporting–who, what, where, when video assets are consumed
- User authentication for viewing and access to channels
- Command and control–ensures, for example, that at 2:00 all your players are watching a certain video channel
The Viper can best be explained as Calypso’s kid brother. It’s an appliance form factor than can be placed in a small conference room or classroom. As an appliance it offers many push button conveniences.
CoolSign & CoolStream
Other products discussed included HaiVision’s Digital Signage Platform called CoolSign and the InStream family of video players, with web and mobile versions. InStream is browser-independent and requires no installation. These players integrate with various Haivision command and control systems that govern precise access to content and configuration of the players. This is much more expensive system than Duke’s current digital signage system and wouldn’t have much value considering our current requirements.
Haivision @ Duke: Haivision could be
- Haivision could be used for applications at Duke Medicine or other areas where secure or low latency delivery of video is needed. Given it’s encryption capabilities, it could be a key link in developing a HIPAA-compliant video delivery system for applications such as the OR.
- Video overflow applications streaming from point to point with very low latency
- Haivision’s new interest in the video content management space is interesting as we continue to evaluate the need for publishing media behind the Duke firewall into systems such as Sakai and WordPress.
General Use Cases for Haivision products:
- Contribution level live broadcast and overflow applications.
- You need to send media back and forth securely. The company mentioned HBO as a current client where footage shot on location for Game of Thrones is sent almost immediately back to the studio in LA for instant feedback. Security (encryption and extensive watermarking) are critical for this application.
- IPTV – Haivision offers multiple possibilities for distributing IPTV video across a large geographic area. (NC State had been using Haivision this way but is moving away from this currently in part because of the cost of the set top boxes.)
- Haivision is beginning to compete with players like Kaltura in offering cloud video transcoding and uploading through Haivision Video Cloud. They have Moodle and Blackboard integrations for this currently. They charge based on bandwidth and storage like Kaltura does, but said they could use on prem storage. They have AD/ LDAP integrations and are familiar with SAML 2.0 though no specific Shibb support as of yet.
Other Notes, Take-Aways and Opinions
We picked up on several very interesting small points and comments. Notably missing from the conversation was Haivision’s Mako product which was previously billed as their flagship encoder and was often marketed to broadcasters. When asked, they did state they still carry it but diverted attention back to the Makito. Later in the presentation they mentioned they don’t target the three letter broadcasters or use their products in roles typically filled by more industrial products from Fujitsu or Harmonics. That marks a departure from previous Haivision pitches and probably a good one as the focus has clearly come more to low cost encoding and delivery. The major price reduction of the Makitos overcomes a a large objection to the Haivision line many project managers have expressed. Previous cost positioning placed it at a Goldilocks point–their products were cheaper than those from Harmonics or Fujitsu but not technically competitive. At the same time they are more money and better than lower cost encoders such as those from Visionary Solutions and the like. The problem was that people that wanted the Cadillac class product had the money for a Cadillac ,while people who needed cheaper encoders couldn’t afford a Makito or Mako. The update to the pricing in the lineup is well received and will likely generate interest at Duke.