How GlobalM and SRT are Bringing Breaking Events to Life

GlobalM is a startup that stands to shake up the way remote content is contributed to news organizations. Its technology is designed to connect media organizations with freelance journalists and citizen reporters, enabling live, up-to-date, news contribution on location, in high quality, on demand.

Part of what makes GlobalM so interesting is that this news and sports contribution is not only live and high quality, but that it can be shot on mobile. Cameras on mobile phones have improved dramatically over the past decade – major pop stars are now shooting their music videos on them – but you wouldn’t necessarily know that when watching a clip shot on mobile on most broadcast news.

How is GlobalM able to ensure such high quality within their application? We recently spoke with and Lance Newhart (CEO) and Paul Calleja (CTO), Co-Founders of GlobalM, to discuss the technologies and ideas powering this exciting news platform.

SRT: An Open-Source Protocol with Open Possibilities

The team at GlobalM needed to be able to deliver, in their words, “steady, stable, streams.”

They soon came upon the Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) protocol, which was designed to maximize video quality while minimizing latency, even over the most unreliable networks; it seemed like a clear choice. And the fact that the protocol was open source made it easy for the GlobalM development team to dive into the code on GitHub and begin working with it.

SRT also brought several other advantages to the table. SRT’s ability to encrypt streams (with AES 128/256-bit encryption) meant that content would be kept secure between journalists and broadcasters. Paul additionally noted that SRT’s popularity within the broadcast world made the protocol even more appealing, as news broadcasters would already be accustomed to the technology.

It was a perfect match; GlobalM joined the SRT Alliance last year, shortly before IBC 2019.

“GlobalM can scale a stream in SRT to thousands of takers without any impact on the incoming source stream. Our network allows our customers to rapidly deploy SRT resources across the globe and scale these to the needs of any sports or news event, no matter the size or demand.”
Paul Calleja, Co-Founder and CTO

How GlobalM is Using SRT to Reach Around the World

The GlobalM platform connects citizens and freelance journalists with news and sports organizations looking for a story. Once they are connected, and ready, users can go live from their phone within the GlobalM application without the need to set up the streaming connection. Media outlets are also using this app for their in-house mobile journalists.  The pace of news is increasing; journalists and news organizations need to be adaptable while still providing high quality coverage. The team at GlobalM has designed their platform to ensure that journalists can focus on their story, because, thanks to SRT, the video stream, “just works.”

The GlobalM network, in partnership with AWS, is a distributed edge server based on SRT gateway technology. This allows the network to behave more like a CDN would with HTTP traffic, but using SRT from the closest point into the network and at the closest points egressing the network to the takers. In doing this, GlobalM can scale every SRT stream to thousands of takers without degradation to the original stream. There are currently eight points of presence around the globe, and this is increasing throughout the year as more datacenters come online in each respective continent.

The video is encoded within the GlobalM application and sent using the SRT protocol to one of GlobalM’s data centers around the world, then again over SRT to the news organization receiving it. Latency is optimized while quality is kept high, in part thanks to SRT’s ARQ (automatic repeat request) error correction. With ARQ, only the missing packets are re-transmitted, saving precious bandwidth over sometimes unstable connections.

The video is encoded within the GlobalM application and sent using the SRT protocol to one of GlobalM’s data centers around the world, then again over SRT to the news organization receiving it. Latency is optimized while quality is kept high, in part thanks to SRT’s ARQ (automatic repeat request) error correction. With ARQ, only the missing packets are re-transmitted, saving precious bandwidth over sometimes unstable connections.  GlobalM and SRT are making it easier than ever for news / sports organizations and journalists to get to the bottom of the story and share it live with their audiences.

“Right here, right now… This is the perfect time for the GlobalM SRT broadcast media solutions for News, Sports and Entertainment, as well as Virtual Summits, Special  Events,  high level VIP remote productions and on-demand assignments according to the feedback we are receiving on a daily basis  from TV, Radio, Newspapers, Magazines and Websites/media portals, all types of media, including those that need their content distributed.”
Lance Newhart, Co-Founder and CEO

Making Awards (Shows) Possible with SRT

The team at GlobalM has already seen some important early success working with SRT. Just last December, GlobalM was tasked with delivering live feeds that would allow award winners in Spain and the United States to participate in the European Film Awards, held in Berlin, Germany.

The connection for the documentary filmmakers, Waad el-Kateab and Edward Watts, in Los Angeles, was solid, and only two packets would need to be repeated throughout the entire feed. The connection in Malaga, Spain, with award winner Antonio Banderas, was another matter – however, SRT ensured that all packets were received and that all award winners were able to graciously accept their accolades live. Learn more about GlobalM’s setup for the European Film Awards in this article.

Moving Forward

GlobalM has continued to perform extensive testing with their application over a number of conditions and for interconnectivity, which is especially important to them. They were a participant in the recent SRT Plugfest, where the GlobalM iPhone app tested successfully for SRT interoperability with all Plugfest participants.

They plan on formally launching the GlobalM application in 2020; for more information and updates on GlobalM, please visit their website.

To learn more about the SRT open-source protocol, please click here.

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