Encoding.com is the airline and Harmonic Inc. is the airplane manufacturer. Let me explain why. Encoding.com disrupted the marketplace by making video encoding available as a webservice, greatly reducing the friction required to leverage enterpise class encoding and compute resources. Harmonic Inc. is the undisputed leader in video infrastructure. They build video compression algorithms and software tools from the ground up. Get the analogy yet? Maybe not. OK, I will continue. Stick with me.
Despite popular belief, Encoding.com is not an encoding software provider. We don’t hold any video patents and don’t live and breathe video compression algorithms. We’ve focused tens of thousands of man hours on the void that existed in the encoding marketplace. When we were founded in 2008, all of the components of delivering encoding software as an enterprise class web service did not exist. We maintain and document highly scalable APIs. We run and configure dozens of commercial and open source media processing tools. We provide great user interfaces. We are deeply integrated with cloud storage APIs and CDNs. We can automatically scale both private and cloud compute systems globally. We provide a flexible and accurate usage based billing model. We provide self service account management tools to do everything from regenerating an API key to updating a credit card. All this without ever picking up the phone. I could go on, but Encoding.com is really good at providing Video Encoding as a Service.
For decades Harmonic Inc. has been synonymous with amazing video quality. They build software and hardware that stays at the cutting edge of video compression R&D even amidst rapid evolution of video delivery and codec standards. Harmonic Inc. holds over 50 patents that deliver stunning video quality for the most demanding Tier 1 satellite, cable, and broadcast clients in over 100 countries. Harmonic Inc. is really good at developing video encoding software. It’s what they live and breathe.
There is a lot that goes into running a commercial airline and none of it has to do with building airplanes. Airlines are in a service business and have built tools to help deliver the service globally. They maintain complex ticketing and baggage handling systems, and frequent flyer programs. They maintain and fuel a global fleet of airplanes. They hire and train competent pilots. The analogy should be coming into focus. Maybe not. Let’s continue.
United Airlines needs great airplanes from Boeing to run a great airline, just like Encoding.com needs great encoding software from Harmonic to run a world class video encoding web service. If you are still with me, you may have a question. What has Encodng.com been doing for the last 8 years if they did not have access to encoding software? The answer is simple. We have been using industry standard open source and commercial software. However, it’s not best-in-class carrier grade encoding software. All of the early video encoding SaaS providers that followed Encoding.com to market such as Zencoder, Amazon, Uplynk, and others have primarily based their platforms on open source tools. Due to the broad applications of open source solutions, they lack some of the fine tuning and quality controls found in commercial encoding solutions the power the sophisticated media workflows of companies like Comcast, DirectTV, or ESPN. Early in our existence we found many Cable and Broadcast providers resistant to migrating media processing to the cloud. Now that cloud services are battle tested and proven, these same companies are welcoming the cloud with open arms. We believe moving carrier grade media services to the cloud will usher in a brand new wave of deployments amongst Tier 1 providers.
Harmonic Inc. has reinvented itself once again. They’ve recently completed a major initiative called VOS which aims to migrate it’s core technologies from a hardware based architecture to a software based architecture. As you can imagine, this is ripe for cloud deployment. Today as I run product development for Encoding.com, I view access to VOS as a treasure chest full of the best-in-class virtualized video tools. These are currently deployed in Tier 1 carrier environments, but are ready to be turned into a scalable web service for an eager enterprise market. Look for very disruptive things to come from Harmonic and Encoding.com in the near future.
Encoding.com just ordered an entire fleet of shiny new airplanes that will dramatically increase the breadth & quality of our service and Harmonic is going to sell a lot more airplanes to a lot more people.