Mux, a video technology company, has partnered with Maestro, an interactive live streaming Platform, to provide creators with a one-stop-shop for everything that they need to build immersive and interactive video experiences. ProgrammableWeb spoke with Mux co-founder and CEO Jon Dahl leading up to the partnership announcement to hear more about the solution and how his company’s approach to API first design enabled efficiencies that were crucial for product development during a global pandemic.
With this partnership, content creators will be able to leverage Mux’s technology to host live streams on their own domains with reliable playback regardless of platform or device. With the addition of Maestro’s capabilities for customizable and interactive video functionality, users are promised a simple path to branded video experiences. The announcement of the partnership highlights standard live stream setup times of less than 20 minutes.
For an Integration such as this to be successful it is crucial that partnering companies are built on an infrastructure that supports innovation and agility. In ProgrammableWeb’s conversation with Mux co-founder and CEO Jon Dahl, he outlined how he got started in video and why Mux chose to focus on an API first approach to product design.
Mux’s origins can be traced back to Dahl’s first experience building a video transcoding backend for a startup he was working on over thirteen years ago. Although the idea for this startup would go on to be a self-proclaimed failure, through the development process Jon learned firsthand how frustrating it can be working with video, and the experience stuck with him. Several years later Jon would go on to co-found Zencoder, a cloud-based video encoding service that was the first company to take a serious developer API approach to video technology. Early on in the company’s history, it was acquired by Brightcove, where Jon would continue to manage the project as VP of Technology.
Following his time at Zencoder, Jon found that many of the initial frustrations he experienced while building that first video backend still existed. Jon told us that:
“Video is still just exceptionally hard to work with. It’s one of the hardest unsolved problems in software, if you are a software company and you want to bring a video into your app, you really need video expertise on your team. You need to hire video engineers, you need to spend many months getting things up and running, and then maintain it forever. And you get zero incremental value by doing it yourself. You only get a really big distraction and you get risk.”
The initial idea behind Mux was to build a super simple API that could solve the problems with video infrastructure development that Jon had experienced all those years ago. The company now offers a Mux Data API, an offering that provides quality of experience data that developers can leverage in order to improve user experiences, as well as the Mux Video API.
“When we started Mux, we chose a different abstraction level our API. Every company has APIs, let’s be honest. SAP has APIs, that doesn’t mean it’s an API company. Having spent a lot of time building video platforms and building video APIs, we really intentionally built Mux Video to be an API-to-video, it’s not an API to the elements of video. …” Jon continued by explaining what he sees as a limitation that arises from utilizing APIs that are more narrow in their functionality. “There’s plenty of APIs out there to-video-encoding or to-storage or to-delivery or to-closed-captioning, and that’s fine. But it still requires a developer to give you a ton of work.”
All of this API design groundwork served to streamline the integration process when implementing the partnership between Mux and Maestro.
“…if Maestro had decided to build on top of an old generation of video API that would have taken them months of extra time. We are an API-to-video, so it’s one API call to ingest a video, store a video, make the video streamable, and optimize it for every device.” noted Dahl.
These time-saving benefits in development were especially obvious in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic brought physical interaction to a halt and video became king. Developers across myriad industries were tasked with immediately finding ways to integrate video into business solutions for the pandemic world. Jon believes that his experience as a developer aided Mux in delivering solutions to these problems.
“So the way we present our API makes it significantly easier for developers to work with. And I think it’s because we are developers and we know how developers want to build video. So we think we chose sort of a new and better abstraction for this. So the end results for Maestro is a much faster time to get a product to market, which was really important last year when everyone was scrambling to be like, well, how do we take these offline things and bring them online.”