Building Scalable and Interactive Video Experiences with WebRTC

Our Chief Product Officer, Bill Wishon, and our Chief Software Architect, Dr Stefan Birrer, recently had the opportunity to join Tsahi Levent-Levi for an insightful session on "Built with WebRTC." This blog post dives into the key takeaways from the session, exploring how our purpose-built infrastructure and WebRTC-compliant architecture power engaging real-time video experiences at broadcast scale.

Phenix: A Global Platform Built on WebRTC

Imagine a world where live events like the Olympics opening ceremony are streamed globally, with each viewer experiencing a personalized view. This is the vision behind Phenix, a powerful platform for real-time video, audio, and data distribution. The secret sauce? A WebRTC-compliant architecture built from the ground up and designed specifically for achieving broadcast scale. Our zero-ops platform is self-healing and considers multiple facets of large-scale events like join rates, varying network conditions, and audience synchronization.

Why WebRTC? The Power of Accessibility and Performance

Our founding team envisioned a future where large-scale, interactive real-time streaming experiences were accessible to everyone. WebRTC offered the perfect standard as a foundation element for its purpose-built infrastructure architected specifically for speed and quality while our proprietary algorithms provide the extra element of scale.  Our technology has eliminated the need for clunky plugins, enabling seamless browser-based delivery, and WebRTC's ultra low latency ensures smooth, real-time video experiences. The foresight of Dr. Stefan Birrer, one of our co-founders, who believed early on in WebRTC's potential for wider adoption, further solidified this choice.

Building a Scalable and Resilient Platform

To handle the demands of a global platform, our platform prioritizes scalability and redundancy. We leverage a network of strategically located data centers to minimize latency and ensure smooth routing even during outages. Furthermore, by employing multi-cloud and multi-zone strategies, we're able to provide unmatched platform availability. We've also built a robust, automated monitoring and healing system to address any potential infrastructure issues before they come user issues.

Ensuring Smooth Streaming: Handling Packet Loss

The internet isn't always perfect, and packet loss can disrupt video quality. However, WebRTC comes equipped with built-in mechanisms like Negative Acknowledgements (NACKs) and Forward Error Correction (FEC) to combat this issue. Phenix takes this a step further by dynamically adjusting the bitrate for each user based on real-time network conditions. This ensures a seamless viewing experience even with fluctuating internet speeds, thanks to our advanced Adaptive Bitrate (ABR) technology that allows for intelligent switching between video qualities.

Industry First: Real-Time Server-Side Ad Insertion

Phenix also understands the importance of monetization. An industry first, our platform supports server-side ad insertion with less than 1/2 second latency using industry-standard protocols like VAST while simultaneously maintaining less than ½ second of end-to-end latency. This allows for seamless integration of ads into the live stream, with options for pre-caching or just-in-time retrieval. Additionally, Phenix can transcode ads to match the video stream format, ensuring a consistent viewing experience.

Conclusion: The Future of Interactive Video is Here

With our innovative use of WebRTC and thoughtful architecture, we're able to offer a unique platform that powers scalable, interactive video experiences. From personalized live events to seamless ad integration, Phenix is paving the way for the future of real-time video.


Listen to the full session here: