With live video soaring by nearly 3,000% in 2020, video is emerging as a high bandwidth communication tool in the modern era. As a result, it is a growing part of how enterprises build applications.
Enabling developers to build with video has become more pressing, because video is eating software based on massive adoption. Therefore, Mux Inc. incorporates the hard engineering work into a single API call so that any developer can work with video, according to Jon Dahl (pictured), co-founder and chief executive officer of Mux.
“We’re 200 people building the absolute best video infrastructure as APIs for developers and making that available to everyone else,” Dahl explained. “If you want to put an image online, you just put an image online. But if you want to put video online, you build complex software. And that’s the exact problem that Mux was started to help solve.”
Dahl spoke with theCUBE industry analyst John Furrier during the AWS Startup Showcase: “Data as Code — The Future of Enterprise Data and Analytics” event, an exclusive broadcast on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. They discussed how Mux accelerates the time-to-market in video using APIs and a developer-first strategy. (* Disclosure below.)
Incorporating a developer-first approach
Mux Video is an API that enables developers to build live and on-demand video experiences. By regarding a software developer as its number one persona, Mux builds for developers first so that they can easily work with video.
“Video should just be something that any developer can work with,” Dahl noted. “So we build for developers first, which means we spend a lot of time thinking about API design, documentation, transparent pricing, the right features, great support, and all those kinds of things that tend to be characteristics of a good developer.”
To render more innovation in video, Mux is taking the open-source route with an emerging open-source video player. “I think it’s going to be the direction that open-source players go for the next decade,” Dahl said.
With just a single API call, Dahl believes Mux eliminates the headache of creating a video platform from scratch.
“One API call at MUX gives you on-demand video or live video that works at scale and around the world with good performance, good reliability and a rich feature set,” Dahl stated. “We worked with Robinhood a few years ago to bring video into their newsfeed, which was hugely successful for them. They went from talking to us for the first time to a big launch in, I think, three months, but the actual code time there was really short.”
By having an API incorporated into a function like video, Dahl trusts that maximum velocity and flexibility are provided.
“The abstraction level of the API to the actual thing you’re getting tends to be the abstraction level that developers want to build on … the reason for that is it’s the most productive layer to build on,” Dahl explained. “We like to tell our customers you own your video when you build on top of Mux; you have full control over everything.”
The time-to-market is accelerated by going a little bit higher in the abstraction layer than just building, according to Dahl. “Bandcamp, I think, switched from a legacy provider to Mux in two weeks,” he added.
Hastening the video pipeline
By using an API-centered developer approach, Dahl believes the video pipeline is expedited from ingesting, transcoding to archiving.
“The pipeline typically refers to everything from ingesting the video to the time that the bits are delivered to a device,” Dahl stated. “The pipeline also includes all of the workflow items you want to do with the video. You may want to thumbnail a video, to create clips of the video, to restream the video to Facebook or Twitter or a social platform.”
Video is emerging as an ideal stepping stone toward better experiences in online courses, entertainment, fitness and news. It is also thriving as a significant engagement tool.
“Customers like VSCO, which is an incredible photo sharing application, were able to bring that same kind of VSCO experience to video using Mux,” Dahl said. “Customers like HubSpot use video for their marketing platform and for business collaboration.”
Rendering good developer experience is one of Mux’s policies, because some tasks are more taxing, like working with live video, according to Dahl.
“Six years ago, if you were a developer and you wanted to accept credit cards … you didn’t go build a payment gateway; you just probably used Stripe,” Dahl stated. “But if you were a developer and you wanted to stream video, you built your own video gateway; you built your own video application, which was really complex … so we started Mux so that people would not have to do that.”
With video emerging as one of the favored ways companies interact with customers or users, Dahl believes robust monitoring and analytics are required.
“The first product we ever built was actually a product called Mux Data, which is the best way to monitor a video platform at scale,” Dahl stated. “So we work with a lot of the big broadcasters like CBS, Fox Sports and Discovery … we work with big tech companies like Reddit and Vimeo to help them monitor their video.”
Stay tuned for the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s pre-event coverage of the AWS Startup Showcase: “Data as Code — The Future of Enterprise Data and Analytics” event.