A Vision for Enterprise Video


In today’s world, the consumer experience is driving how business is run. People no longer just watch TV, they stream HD films from Netflix or watch on-demand the latest episode of their favourite TV show via Apple’s iCloud. Content is made available on-demand, no matter where the audience is or what type of device they are using, whether that be on a TV screen, a mobile phone or tablet device.

That “what they want, where they want” expectation from consumers has bled into the business environment, and today’s professionals expect to get the same kind of flexible experience. Quality, accessibility, and social dynamics are at the top of employees’ wish lists and companies are grappling with how best to communicate, collaborate and distribute information effectively, while also considering security and authentication.

Enter Haivision. In 2003, Mirko Wicha was able to acquire the intellectual property of video codec technology that would enable new ways of transmitting low latency, high definition video. In 2004, he founded Haivision.

Today, the company provides organizations with solutions for HD video streaming, recording, management and video delivery on-premise, over the Internet and in the cloud. The company now has five research and development sites with over 200 people all over the world involved in either engineering or sales, with more than 15,000 video solution systems installed in enterprises worldwide and delivery of media to more than 5 million screens (whether that be on desktops, mobile devices or monitors) daily. It usually deals with four core markets: government, medicine, education and enterprise. “We’ve been very successful being the leader in end to end video deployment within all of those core markets,” says Mirko.

According to Peter Maag, Haivision’s Chief Marketing Officer, the company’s products are able to connect people around the globe with less than 70 milliseconds of latency (or lag). “It’s a combination of video encoding and decoding with an IP network backbone delivered from one point to another with as high quality as possible,” Peter explains.

High-end video conferencing can add efficiency to a simple corporate executive video conference by reducing the latency and increasing video quality. Not only does this make important meetings run smoothly in a technical sense, but it will make the meeting feel as if all parties are in the same room. Latency may not make a big difference when a conference is happening between two parties, but when more parties are involved, latency can cause multiple parties to speak over one another because of the time that it takes for the video to get from one user to the others.

Low latency video can also be used to link up multiple classrooms filled with students where interactivity is an important factor. “Many educational institutions use our technology for linking classrooms together and that’s a lot different than the Skype experience,” says Peter. “We’re talking about multiple high definition and computer video sources being transmitted from the instructors to students in remote locations and the interactivity between those remote students and the instructors is as critical as the video quality. So, not only do our products focus on extremely low latency but the quality is exceptional. Being able to do full frame rate high definition video at a global level is something that conferencing technologies haven’t achieved.

“At a university, when our customers want to blend the power of technology – such as multicast – with the distribution of produced content – Hollywood type of content, or live TV channels – our system provides the necessary security to give that organization the power to distribute that type of video within their facility,” Peter explains. “They have to make sure that no one can copy that content down onto any kind of media and redistribute it. We’re pretty unique in that respect.”

Haivision’s video networking solutions also make it possible for doctors who are using cameras to perform minimally invasive surgery to broadcast that surgery to nurses within the hospital or to students who can learn from viewing the procedure. These videos can also be recorded and uploaded to a cloud within Haivision’s system for on-demand viewing by other doctors. Adding this type of service to the healthcare system can certainly help enhance patient care.

Because security can be an issue with anything that is transmitted online, Haivision has video encryption software that acts along with the codec to provide a secure environment. In the United States, Haivision’s products are used in hospitals because the encryption method is HIPAA compliant and the company recently earned ISO 13485:2003 certification, a medical industry standard for the management system governing the design, development, manufacturing, support, and lifecycle of its products. Patient confidentiality and security are of utmost importance, and the quality of the video stays the same.

High definition video – full 1080p video transmitting at a full 60 frames a second – could, without the use of Haivision’s codec, require as much bandwidth as 1.4 Gigabytes per second. This would be virtually impossible even today, seeing as an average business grade broadband connection is around 50 Megabytes per second. This makes a dedicated video system important; a regular user-to-user video conference system would be inferior.

The company based its codec on the standard H.264 codec which alone is fairly basic. The difference is how the codec adheres to the limits of how video can be transmitted over a network. “You can take a video signal, deliver it from an encoder, across a network to a decoder, and there is only 70 milliseconds of latency,” says Peter. “So, that’s real time and it’s absolutely unique in the industry. When people are relying on their video system to make mission critical decisions, that low latency is paramount.”

The uniqueness of the company stems from the fact that it caters to enterprise needs. These companies rely on their own content and the need to distribute that content only to those who have permission to access it. “Many pieces of our technology enable people to record, review and publish internal video assets. We have a very unique focus on these sectors of the market. Not to mention the overwhelming performance of our technology and its applicability to some very high value use cases within these sectors.”

Another key, aside from its high-level technology, to the success of the company is its hard working employees. According to Mirko, “We have a killer executive team; one of the things that we are very proud of is our exceptional people.” In Montreal alone there are 90 individuals working hard to take the company to the next level.

This success has been recognised in the broader industry as well, and the young company has already won three annual awards. “We are a very fast growing company,” says Mirko. “Over the past seven years we have grown 45 percent.” Over the past four years, the business has acquired four different software companies to further increase its software and systems position within the market. The companies include Video Furnace in Chicago, which is an IP video distribution company; Cool Sign in Beaverton, which produces digital signage; as well as KulaByte in Texas and MontiVision in Germany which offer internet media solutions. “These acquisitions enable the enterprise video assets to be effectively distributed outside the firewall and around the world,” says Peter.

This is achieved by having systems available that will quickly and accurately bring the video content to the customer. “Our vision is really to provide systems for harnessing the power of IP video within the enterprise,” says Peter. The technology used makes Haivision a world leader in enterprise IP video streaming solutions. Indeed, adds Mirko, “We are a very strong Canadian success story in technology.”

Haivision’s mission is to bring operational efficiency to the client’s workday; when it comes to issue-free conferencing, collaboration, training or anything else for which one might need top level communications systems, the company is second to none in the marketplace.

June 19, 2018, 8:19 AM EDT

A Proactive Approach to Resolving a Longstanding Debate

About forty skilled Central and South American workers from Ecuador, Peru, Columbia and Costa Rica came to British Columbia, Canada as temporary foreign workers (TFWs) in 2006. This story incited Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) call for reforms to Canada’s TFW program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP). LiUNA, a powerful voice within the construction industry with over half a million members – 110,000 of whom are in Canada – has been the only Canadian union to address the issue.