Over the past years there has been a steady surge in demand for streaming video. Content providers and media companies are joining the race by launching their competing streaming services. But building a robust video streaming solution requires the support of cloud computing and a development partner experienced in cloud solutions. In this article, we look at the possibilities of Google Cloud Platform and assess its key capabilities for building a video streaming platform.

Cloud storage and computing platforms like Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services and Azure have become the technological foundations upon which many modern streaming services are built, including Spotify and Netflix. The video streaming industry is a key beneficiary here: for example, modern streaming platforms benefit from the cloud infrastructure’s capability to scale to current demand. 

Why the cloud?

With the computational prowess and distributed storage capabilities of Google Cloud Platform, media providers gain the scalability to build high-quality video and audio streaming platforms which reliably deliver content to any device, anywhere.

Deploying a video streaming service using GCP makes sense due to specific capabilities of Google Cloud, including:

Time to market

With increased agility, cloud computing and storage platforms allow to deploy a working video streaming platform in weeks. This impressive time-to-market gives a competitive advantage that’s hard to ignore.

Scalability

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) allows rendering farms to scale almost infinitely. Cloud storage is the perfect choice for media and entertainment purposes. Media providers can now scale up and down to match the demand, but pay only for the computing power that has actually been used.

Building a cloud-based OTT offers the advantage of containerized microservices.

With Google Cloud Platform, you can deploy in a container environment, i.e. with separate microservices designated for each function of the platform. Microservices help cloud-native streaming platforms avoid bottlenecks and allow them to efficiently scale up or down to meet the current demand.

The scalable architecture of cloud-based OTT platforms optimizes computing resources to match current demand for uploading, transcoding, or other tasks, leading to considerable cost savings.

Business arguments for the cloud

It is expected that the global cloud computing market will grow by 17.5% annually to USD 832.1 billion in 2025.

Companies looking to deploy professional streaming workflows without worrying about the hardware, technical challenges, and on-premise infrastructure, OTT cloud platforms are great options.

OTT cloud platforms strengthen end-to-end video streaming capabilities and enable streaming providers to refocus on their core business.

The benefits of deploying a streaming platform on Google Cloud Platform

With GCP, you can work with AutoML, Video Intelligence API – or both. Video Intelligence API to categorize content by adding labels, or use AutoML to quickly create additional custom labels to suit your specific needs.

The impressive AI features offered within GCP’s AutoML and Video Intelligence API allow very impressive object detection in streamed videos:

  • Stream video annotation
  • Detect shot changes
  • Track objects
  • Recognize text
  • Detect explicit content in videos
  • Get audio track transcription
  • Recognize logos
  • Recognize celebrities
  • Detect faces
  • Detect people

Storage

Google Cloud Storage can be used, among other things, to store video assets. GCP offers a plethora of flexible storage solutions for varying video workflows, and Google’s Compute Engine supports video processing (more on that later). Sky’s the limit! Google Cloud platform opens incredible opportunities to build cutting-edge, innovative features to build the best possible viewing experience for your subscribers.

Insights into viewability

Insights into how your viewers consume content is very useful from the business perspective. It provides the much needed data to make more educated decisions: what promotions to run, which content to suggest and what region to enter next. 

With Google’s fully-managed, serverless data warehouse BigQuery, media companies can gain such insights. By better predicting spikes in viewership, it’s easier to scale up or down for cost optimization. Customized streaming metrics can be integrated in a custom dashboard created specially for the content provider, providing a holistic view of the entire streaming platform and its performance.

AI capabilities

With Google Cloud Platform you gain access to industry-leading AI tools like Google’s Video Intelligence API and Vision API. Once these capabilities are in place, asset libraries can be automatically tagged with useful metadata. This saves tons of manual work and creates a cost-effective way to make large libraries easily searchable. Need to find shots with cars? Create a relevant model with Google’s Vision AutoML and tag such content automatically in the future.

Video Intelligence API comes with pre-trained machine learning models that allow you to recognize objects, places, and actions in videos. Offering exceptional quality out of the box, it’s highly efficient for common use cases and improves over time as new concepts are introduced.

Simplify media management

With an increasing amount of content media companies have to manage and organize, it has become impossible to search for specific extracts manually. With Google Cloud Platform’s AI capabilities, your media is easily searchable and discoverable. This means you can easily search through your video archives just like you would search text documents – to find the specific relevant content, objects, actors, etc. 

It goes without saying it saves vast amounts of time and money. This is where GCP (in all storage tiers) outperforms AWS – data retrieval is instant. AWS, by comparison, has a 12 hour waiting period by default, which makes the process inefficient for most purposes.

Easily create interactive videos

Gain insights from video using the annotation service in streaming video and trigger various events based on what objects are detected in the frame. This works in near real time. These possibilities inspire many innovative features and applications for your platforms: highlight reels, recommendations, interactive videos, and more.

Identify inappropriate content 

Identify when inappropriate content is being shown in a given video. You can instantly conduct content moderation across petabytes of data and more quickly and efficiently filter your content or user-generated content. Reduce time and costs associated with transcribing videos and generating closed captions, as well as flagging and filtering in adult content.

Display better ads

With GCP you can identify locations to, e.g. insert contextually relevant ads – for example, hotel destinations matching what’s currently displayed on the screen. This can be achieved by matching the timeframe-specific labels of your video content with the content of your advertisements.

Better content recommendation

Build a content recommendation engine with labels generated by Video Intelligence API and a user’s viewing history and preferences. This will simplify content discovery for your users and guide them to the most relevant content that they want.

Make your video content searchable

Your video library can be properly tagged, categorized and indexed by using the metadata provided by the Video Intelligence API. Video Intelligence API can automatically analyze content and make the results immediately accessible via the API.

Precise video analysis

Video Intelligence API automatically recognizes more than 20,000 objects, places, and actions in stored and streaming video. It also distinguishes scene changes and extracts rich metadata at the video, shot, or frame level. Use in combination with Vertex AI’s video intelligence capabilities powered by AutoML to create your own custom entity labels to categorize content.

Sustained use discounts

Due to Google Cloud Platform’s sustained use discounts, Google will apply discounts at varying levels depending on the usage. The longer you run compute workloads, the larger the discount. If you are confident in how many vCPU cores you need, committed use discounts are available at an even higher discount.

Security is paramount when it comes to most media workloads. Google is the only provider to run private fiber not only between zones but between regions as well. That means your data stays secure while moving within the cloud.

Contact specialized Google Cloud Partners

By finding a development partner that specializes in video streaming solutions and has experience with deploying on GCP, you can get ahead of your competition. Better Software Group has tons of experience in the area. If you’re looking to build a video streaming platform, drop us a line – our experts will be happy to talk about what we can do for you.


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