Stef van der Ziel about Jet-Stream and the streaming industry
Last updated: 22 August 2022
Stef van der Ziel is a longtime streaming industry veteran who continues to innovate. He invented live streaming in 1994. He built his first CDN in 1997. When Jet-Stream launched in 2003, the company grew 1800% in the first five years.
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Stef, what are your current markets and industries?
We have customers in all EU countries. They are broadcasters, enterprises, publishers, sports, events, government, health care and education. They use our platform for video hosting, live radio, webcams, OTT television and events.
Can you tell us how you position Jet-Stream?
One thing we learned in our 28 years in this industry: streaming is complex technology, and it continuously evolves. There are three categories in our industry: video platforms, cloud media services… and Jet-Stream.
You could build your own custom streaming platform on cloud media services, which means that you need expensive specialists who configure each step in the workflow and build custom code to make everything work together. This takes a lot of time. There is a risk that the project fails or that it doesn’t keep up with the innovations in the industry. And you’ll be surprised with the hidden costs of cloud services.
Video platforms make streaming easier. To achieve this, they cut corners. Their workflows can dictate and can limit the use case. You can’t really differentiate. You lose control. They look cheap to start with, but costs can rise quickly.
Jet-Stream makes professional streaming easier, more controllable and more time and cost effective, without limiting our customers in their workflows and use cases. We cut away all these overhead costs with smart workflow orchestration and automation tools.
Can you share more about streaming workflow orchestration?
Jet-Stream combines the best of both worlds: easier than video platforms and smarter than cloud media services. You can use our platform at three levels at each step in your workflow: easy, smart, and expert.
‘Easy’ is easier than video platforms: one click 4K live streaming, one click publishing, great statistics. Everything is automated.
‘Smart’ lets you tune each step: custom transcoding profiles, manage CMS data, manage multi-CDN distribution, create interactive and branded players, geo fence or password protect individual streams and videos, in our intuitive web interface. Smart lets you control deeper than what average video platforms can offer.
‘Expert’ lets you integrate your own encoders, transcoders, players, CMS, backends, portals, origin services, analytics services, and DRM. You can go as far as integrate performance monitors and use our active load balancing API to control CDN distribution per stream and per viewer.
You can freely mix Jet-Stream easy and smart tools and integrate your own services, in one single interface or API. Workflow orchestration and automation saves our customers internal operation load and costs. It gives them a future proof standard toolset to quickly build bespoke and complex streaming workflows. We are a strategic choice.
Can you provide some examples?
The Eurovision Song Contest case demanded ultra-high-quality streams. The streams had to be distributed within Europe, also to Israel and Australia. The streams had to be protected, to make sure that only registered viewers in their portals could watch.
Such a complex project would not have worked on a regular video platform. It would have cost the organization a lot more money, time, and headaches if they had set this up with a leading streaming CDN or by using cloud media services.
Of course, it is nice to work for well-known projects, but what is typically underestimated is how many enterprises have very specific and unique streaming use cases. For instance, we are used by rail companies who need to know whether their tracks are clear. They film the tracks and store these videos on our platform.
We are also used by medical companies, who stream surgeries live in 4K. Security and privacy are important in many cases. I love these edge cases since our platform is designed to accommodate complex scenarios and make them easy and affordable.
What are your latest developments?
Jet-Stream Cloud is a purpose-built streaming cloud. We don’t use virtualization. We control the entire stack: network, hardware, and software. The result has been 100% actual uptime. Streams are delivered 430% faster which is necessary for 8K streaming. We now run all services such as live transcoding and analytics in our secure cloud, so we can even better protect our customers media and data.
OnAir 4K is a cloud-based live encoder that runs in your browser. One-click high quality streaming, zero config, zero install. Transcoding, streaming, distribution, player, it’s all automated. Imagine how easy it is to start a live e-learning or sports training platform thanks to OnAir.
We developed Contextual Video Advertising. It is the successor of 3rd party data advertising. We protect CPM revenues and are not eating into CPM margins. This means better margins for video publishers. And it is privacy friendly, too. We offer the first commercially available player with this feature and we bundle it unlimited, for free, with our platform.
Multi-CDN is integrated in Jet-Stream Cloud. The built-in algorithm optimizes automatically for the cheapest route, while guaranteeing uptime, performance, and scale. We have 8 pre-integrated CDNs.
We can create an individual mix of CDNs for each customer in a few clicks, based upon their geographic, security, performance, privacy, and costs requirements. Customers can take full control over distribution, per stream, per region, and any change is effective immediately, enforced.
Airflow is built-in for free, and the algorithm reduces traffic costs up to 40%.
You are also focusing on data protection?
We wanted the web to become this place where everyone could share their creativity. But we are also sharing our data. Personal data, and competitive sensitive data. That’s bad. We focus on data protection. We cut all ties to US vendors and clouds. We are a European company, with European infrastructure.
We actively protect the audiences. We actively protect our customers data. You do not want your own logs or analytics to be used against you by a competitor because they had access to your data. We actively protect you.
Streaming vendors and clouds claim they protect your data, but they can’t. They have US ownership or rely on US owned services. The US Cloud Act demands access to any data if there is a US link, even when the data is on EU soil, it supersedes any private contract.
We were recently audited by EDPS, the EU data protection supervisor. They streamed their privacy conference through Jet-Stream, because of our privacy efforts. I think that proves that we are on the right track in data protection.