By Oded Rosenmann, SaaS Business Lead – AWS
By Humberto Somensi, Partner Solutions Architect – AWS
Video delivery is changing as viewers expect content providers to deliver an exceptional streaming experience with personalized and context-aware streaming.
To meet viewers’ expectations, content providers and network service providers require a content delivery network (CDN) that can adapt to the context of the situation and ensure a superior quality of experience (QoE) to viewers.
Broadpeak is an AWS Partner with an AWS-qualified software offering. They are a leading provider of CDN and video streaming solutions that helps content providers and pay-TV operators meet these expectations worldwide.
The broadpeak.io platform is a secure streaming video API platform that enables contextualization for every viewer. It allows networks to personalize video content per region, channel, device, or user, both in terms of the content itself and of the quality level.
The broadpeak.io platform provides content providers and operators with the capability to grow their business and to boost end users’ QoE by optimizing the advertising experience for viewers. The first set of applications is a Blackout service to simplify the enforcement of requirements coming from local programmers or regulators. Targeted Advertisement and Regionalization (also called Linear Parity) are next to come and currently in beta test phase.
Working closely with the AWS SaaS Factory team, Broadpeak navigated business and technical decisions to build the new platform as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution on Amazon Web Services (AWS).
We recently spoke with Mathias Guille, VP Cloud Platform at Broadpeak, to learn more about the new broadpeak.io SaaS platform and the value it brings to customers. We asked Mathias to share insights from Broadpeak’s transition to SaaS that can help other software providers planning to adopt this delivery model.
Q&A with Broadpeak: About the Solution
Building the new broadpeak.io platform as a SaaS solution on AWS, Broadpeak gives DevOps, engineering, and operations teams instant access to advanced streaming technologies while reducing onboarding friction and cost of use. Anyone can sign up, create an account, and immediately start evaluating services for free with their own content.
The SaaS platform is based upon a powerful content replacement engine which automates audience mapping with dynamic rules and policies. It enables personalized content and innovation at scale for every end user.
AWS SaaS Factory: Can you tell us about yourself and your role at Broadpeak?
Mathias Guille: Hello! Thanks for having me. My name is Mathias and I am leading a team at Broadpeak called Cloud Platform. We are responsible for the design, build, and run of the Broadpeak-owned SaaS platforms.
AWS SaaS Factory: Can you share which products and solutions Broadpeak has built on AWS?
Mathias: At Broadpeak, we really care about a compelling streaming experience; therefore we have built an API video platform to help any actors in the online video business to contextualize their streams. It’s called broadpeak.io and I encourage you to go take a look!
As of today, there is a still a gap of quality and relevance between the “broadcast” pay-TV experience and streaming over-the-top (OTT) content. Our platform is going to fix that.
AWS SaaS Factory: Is broadpeak.io your first SaaS product launch?
Mathias: It’s not exactly, per se, the first one, as we have another offer named peakVU.TV, a hybrid SaaS offering and video data plane for American service providers. But for me, broadpeak.io is really the first time where we have made the full exercise of building what I call the ultimate SaaS “blueprint,” including all the codes related to SaaS: web app, API gateway, knowledge center, customer success, status page, analytics, and more.
AWS SaaS Factory: How does broadpeak.io work?
Mathias: It’s a typical API SaaS platform. You can sign up within seconds, test our technology for free within minutes, contract within hours, and enjoy innovations and support for years. The idea is to create a tenant account and onboard on the platform by yourself or with colleagues. After that, typically users use our web app to test the technology, using our demo feeds, or by inputting their own. Finally, they start contextualizing their video streams by providing some data context and generate the output they want. It’s that simple.
When users are ready to move to production, they start using the API capacity of the platform itself, building on top of the APIs with their own development capacity and automate their overall flows.
AWS SaaS Factory: Who are your customers and what are some key customer benefits?
Mathias: Anyone who is doing video over the internet right now can benefit from the broadpeak.io platform. But to be more accurate, we are starting with an application called Blackout, which processes content replacement for linear channels based on specific criteria.
It’s still a niche use case, but we are going to add more and more applications to increase our reach and help more organizations over time. For example, we already have Targeted Ad Insertion and Regional Ads in beta test if you want to participate.
Our main customers benefits are related to:
- Simplicity: Video is still very complex when you want to deliver high-quality streaming. Our system helps to alleviate that complexity and make it simple to automate complex video flows.
- Scalability: Video is always working unless everyone is watching. The broadpeak.io platform promises to break that rule thanks to the right use of AWS combined with our advanced technology.
- Service: Broadpeak DNA is about caring for our customers on a personal level. That’s how we want to continue to do business, and this is how we want to compete with existing SaaS offerings in the streaming industry where you face chatbots and knowledge centers to get help. I am not saying these are not important mediums to share information, but for us that’s not enough. We are present in 17 countries, and our local presence has always been an advantage to understand the pain points of customers and create an excellent experience for them.
Adopting a SaaS Business Model
Organizations that are moving to SaaS are really making a business decision and need to think what it means to become a SaaS business. The way they deliver their solution, operate, and engage with their customers will likely change in the new SaaS model.
One of the key areas AWS SaaS Factory and Broadpeak collaborated on was moving to the service mindset. This meant going from a one-time product delivery to delivering an ongoing service mentality, and understanding there is an organizational transformation required to be successful.
AWS SaaS Factory: What was the primary objective for adopting SaaS as a business model?
Mathias: By offering a SaaS solution, Broadpeak allows a greater adoption to our advanced streaming technology. The motto of broadpeak.io is “Advanced Streaming. Now Streamlined.” That’s really our mission—to give access to broadcast quality to anyone doing streaming today and including customers that don’t have their own IT infrastructure with optimal flexibility.
The new SaaS solution enables agility and faster innovation with frequent product upgrades that can be leveraged by our customers at their own pace. The key is to give some speed to our customers to compete with large pay-TV operators in our industries which are executing super-fast. The main business objective is to create a delightful customer experience while reaching new global customers, including smaller organizations.
SaaS Factory: Can you share key areas you addressed when moving to a SaaS model?
Mathias: We focused on our customer journeys to make sure our SaaS offering will address the needs of potential customers. From the pain point identification to the renewal of the contract, going through requirements building or onboarding and many other steps, we studied deeply what was needed on our side to make the experience as smooth as possible.
AWS SaaS Factory: Can you walk us through how the SaaS Factory team supported these efforts?
Mathias: AWS SaaS Factory provided us business guidance on cultural and organizational transformation. For example, on how to add a SaaS business model and as-a-service mindset on top of our successful current methodology. It also helps with SaaS product planning and a pure MVP approach to onboard the first early adopters to collect and incorporate user feedback into the product, before making it generally available to all customers.
We were already deep in the description of buyer/user personas, but AWS SaaS Factory really helped on the customer journey mapping. Technically, the help of the team was clutch—they helped us on making decisions, even sometimes helping us choosing between AWS services and third-party services, always looking to find what was best for our needs. I really appreciate the reactiveness and integrity of the team!
AWS SaaS Factory: What do you think was the key for our successful collaboration?
Mathias: I really do believe the key was the initial meeting when we set the planning and expectations. AWS SaaS Factory is the kind of partner which is challenging you but in a good way. They are talking pain points, deadlines, ownership; nothing is hidden under the carpet and I really appreciated that. They ask a lot from you, because they have a lot to give, in terms of experience and skills. I like this because it helped us to move faster.
AWS SaaS Factory: What do you think is unique about the AWS SaaS Factory?
Mathias: AWS SaaS Factory put broadpeak.io on a fast track. It was an enabler and accelerator that helped us reach our MVP milestone on time. It allowed the team to step back at the right time, and helped open the horizon of possibilities before making key decisions.
The SaaS Factory team was instrumental to balance the options with pros and cons, or sometimes just provide feedback or recommendations related to our decisions. What we feel is unique about SaaS Factory is that it brings strong expertise across a full set of dimensions with the primary objective of making the SaaS platform successful. Likewise, the team forced us to think about the value we bring to our customers before taking anything else into consideration.
AWS SaaS Factory: What’s the outcome for broadpeak.io customers?
Mathias: It basically ensures that SaaS fundamentals are in place to make the platform competitive. AWS SaaS Factory gave us the opportunity to have a fresh view with different approaches when looking at certain challenges (thinking out of the box). Likewise, we strengthened this mindset to bring more innovative value-added service to our customers.
At the end of the day, what customers benefit from is our capability to be agile from day one, as we can quickly adapt our offering to customer needs.
The Architectural Model That Enabled SaaS Delivery
In the transition to SaaS, a business typically sets the requirements and the architectural model would follow these requirements. One of the areas AWS SaaS Factory worked with Broadpeak on was how to navigate architectural considerations that can enable the business strategy and plans.
AWS SaaS Factory: Can you walk us through the architecture? What AWS services are key?
Mathias: We deploy our application services in Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), which alleviates the need to run and manage a Kubernetes cluster and helps us focus on our own application requirements.
The website uses Auth0, an AWS Partner solution which provides plug-and-play state-of-the-art authentication services and helps us secure our application while saving development time. On top of that, we use the usual suspects such as AWS Lambda, Amazon Route 53, Amazon Aurora, and Amazon Athena, which help us on different activities in the platform.
Finally, our pre-registration site is hosted in AWS Lightsail, and this is also fronted and cached by Amazon CloudFront.
The diagram below summarizes the architectural design:
Figure 1 – Architectural diagram broadpeak.io.
AWS SaaS Factory: How did you deliver the expected levels of service to customers across multiple regions?
Mathias: Latency and being in the edge is key for us. To deal with that, we are running data plane clusters in multiple regions to be as close as possible to the end users. Some AWS functionalities are key to optimize routing and have reduce time-to-market, like Amazon Aurora Global Database and Amazon Route 53 latency-based routing.
AWS SaaS Factory: What were the core technical challenges when designing your SaaS solution?
Mathias: First, I think it was about making the right choice in terms of public cloud provider, and then making sure we were aware of the latest innovations proposed by this provider. The other challenge was really to architect a fully multi-tenant solution. Even though we had some experience in that field (as we have helped service providers be their own CDN for years), doing it in a SaaS model and being able to host hundreds of customers is not the same.
We had to make choices around tenancy models and then apply strategies to ensure tenant isolation. Also, splitting up our data plane and control plane was a key decision. This enabled us to optimize content delivery while maintaining agility and infrastructure costs under control.
AWS SaaS Factory: From a technical perspective, how did you make your customer onboarding process seamless?
Mathias: Following my last point, it’s all about making sure we have a multi-tenant architecture with no specific architecture pieces per tenant. That is key for us to enable faster and more recurrent deployments, fixes, and easier management of the platform.
On top of that, AWS SaaS Factory provided support in this process with proof of concepts (POCs) and sample code, which combined with our efforts to help us deliver a seamless onboarding experience for customers.
AWS SaaS Factory: How did SaaS Factory help to address challenges you faced with tenant and data isolation?
Mathias: I really believe data isolation was one of the challenges we had where the SaaS Factory team was super useful! First, they helped us choose the right data partitioning strategy and the right services for it, to which we then applied a robust tenant isolation strategy based on SaaS Factory best practices and recommendations. Not only did we leverage SaaS Factory content like whitepapers and blog posts, but both teams also worked together to apply the patterns to our own concrete use cases.
AWS SaaS Factory: What advice would you share to other software providers as they navigate to SaaS?
Mathias: I know that resources to help migrate a traditional B2B software business to a full SaaS model are not exhaustive or easy to find, so I advise to:
- Find partners who are challenging you (the AWS SaaS Factory is a good example).
- Talk internally to find sponsors and expertise around cloud, CI/CD, and managed services.
- Interview other businesses who went the same journey as they will have key advice. Ask the SaaS Factory team for my contact if you have any questions!
- Focus on an MVP as today is the best time to start a SaaS business. The tools to create a SaaS platform are available and more efficient than ever, and there are opportunities in every industry.
About AWS SaaS Factory
AWS SaaS Factory helps organizations at any stage of the SaaS journey. Whether looking to build new products, migrate existing applications, or optimize SaaS solutions on AWS, we can help. Visit the AWS SaaS Factory Insights Hub to discover more technical and business content and best practices.
SaaS builders are encouraged to reach out to their account representative to inquire about engagement models and to work with the AWS SaaS Factory team.
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Broadpeak – AWS Partner Spotlight
Broadpeak is an AWS Partner with an AWS-qualified software offering. They are a leading provider of CDN and video streaming solutions that helps content providers and pay-TV operators worldwide.
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