Visaic partners with Microsoft (Azure) to expand streaming services

Aug 12, 2020

As a future-focused company, Visaic provides scalable, cloud-enabled, end-to-end solutions for its clients to create, launch, and monetize media applications all over the world. Visaic’s vision is to modernize classic storytelling through the art and science of video. To ensure the scalability and high-quality streaming necessary for Visaic’s clients, the company chose to migrate its platform to Microsoft Azure.

Visaic provides innovations for entertainment and sports. Today, Visaic is shining a spotlight on its sports streaming abilities. With such clients as UFC, CFL, and Sportsnet, sports are, as Visaic sees it, the pinnacle of the video streaming experience—live, demanding, high-intensity, and driven by passion from both the players and fans. There can be no lag or dropped streams when streaming sports because even a loss of a few seconds of a stream can mean missing a game-changing moment. With the mission-critical goal to create a consistent and quality experience for streaming sports content, Visaic uses this expertise to deliver any other form of media.

“In terms of support, Microsoft provides a lot more attention and access to information, which is critical for our success.”

– Abhishek Shivadas: Co-Founder & CTO Visaic

To ensure a great viewing experience, to be a valued partner to both its B2B and B2C clients, and to continuously deliver innovation through AI and machine learning capabilities, Visaic needed a cloud solution, like Azure, that could amplify the company’s capabilities and help achieve its forward-thinking goals. As Visaic CEO Kanaan Jemili describes it, “For a startup company like ours, [Microsoft] gives us infinite power.”


Searching for a technology partner

To provide a seamless sports viewing experience, Visaic needed to ensure that the cloud platform it adopted could handle unpredictable peaks in viewership. A single social media post could send a flurry of viewers to watch an in-progress sports match or game. However, before migrating to Azure, the hybrid on-premises configuration was not providing the company with the scaling or flexibility needed to meet these peaks in viewership.

Visaic needed to store large amounts of semi-structured and unstructured data in its database, both to distribute content to its customer streaming endpoints, as well as to create analytics dashboard views to measure and understand customer experiences and video performance in real time.

Visaic also enables a suite of fan engagement modules. Recently, it launched an interactive game enabling fans to make predictions about match outcomes, answer trivia, and engage with other fans throughout the live action. During phase one of this pilot, Visaic was looking to gauge fan interest in playing interactive games. Based on data collected and feedback received, the game will evolve to suit fans’ interests. The offering will expand with more predictive questions and a leaderboard will be created so fans can view their progress

This means Visaic needed access to a breadth of service integrations that would allow it to go above and beyond the needs of a standard video delivery service.

Finding a solution that checks the extensive list of needs was essential. Migrating existing workloads into a new provider was also a major consideration in the search for a technology partner. Visaic needed a partner that could make the migration both stress-free and practical. This meant that support for the migration of existing data into a database that also supports the company’s existing APIs was critical to continued business functionality.

As a global service, Visaic chose Azure, in part, because of its ability to reach the company’s global audience. “Microsoft was our best option in terms of reliability, speed, edge technology, and in all of the areas we need to be in worldwide,” Jemili noted of the decision to adopt Azure as Visaic’s cloud platform.

Creating a clearer view of video performance

Before adopting Azure, Visaic managed large spikes in sports streaming viewership by provisioning resources ahead of time based on the predicted volume of traffic the platform could receive. However, this method was incredibly wasteful if the predictions were inaccurate. Microsoft Azure Cosmos DB was the direct solution to this problem because it allowed Visaic to scale out instantly, anywhere in the world with sub-10-millisecond latency. Individual analytics packages could be easily evaluated through Azure Cosmos DB and allowed the Visaic team to view fine-grain experience metrics around its streams. Shivadas notes, “Azure Cosmos DB can collect and process a lot of data very quickly, and then can connect easily with our dashboards to help us deliver a better experience.”

Visaic also uses additional Microsoft Azure solutions, such as Azure App ServiceContent Delivery NetworkTraffic Manager, and Azure Storage to cover the company’s service needs end-to-end.

In addition to streaming to connected devices around the world, Visaic also delivers live event streams and studio content to movie theaters. This raises the stakes because the viewer’s expectations in theaters are much higher, and theatergoers demand a high-quality, buffer-free experience absent of technological hiccups.

To deliver live events to theaters, Visaic uses Content Delivery Network to seamlessly distribute streaming media while reducing load times and saving bandwidth. To ensure uninterrupted streaming, the team uses Traffic Manager to route traffic between a primary and secondary service endpoint. This ensures that if something were to falter with the primary endpoint, then Traffic Manager can quickly redirect traffic to the secondary endpoint, saving the streaming experience.

For distribution of the large studio content files, Visaic uses Storage replication to ensure that every file is being copied across regions for higher availability of unstructured media.


Migrating and moving forward with Azure

The elasticity of Azure plays a key role in helping Visaic deliver an end-to-end, high-quality experience for its clients. Visaic takes advantage of Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services to go above and beyond its own in-house AI and machine learning capabilities, and Visaic’s seamless partnership with Microsoft provides the company with the support and resources necessary to continue to grow on Azure. Shivadas says, “Moving to the cloud and technology migrations are hard problems to solve, so having help from experts on the Microsoft team made it much easier.”

With the migration to the Azure cloud platform complete and a solid system of support with Microsoft in place, Visaic is expanding its solution offering to include a software as a service model that will also be hosted on the Azure platform. This will allow Visaic to fill a gap it has recognized in sports video and streaming, as it works to become a “platform for every sport.”

Shivadas sees Azure solutions as a gateway to taking the platform to the next level. “You can build communities if you provide a platform for sports. It’s all going to be on Azure and we’re really looking forward to bringing this out to the world.” Learn more about Visaic by visiting its website and LinkedIn.

For a startup company like ours, [Microsoft] gives us infinite power. -Kannan Jemili, CEO Visaic