As customer demand for video streaming services continues to skyrocket, one thing is clear for broadcasters, content owners, and TV operators trying to capture and retain market share in this highly competitive space: success depends on the customer experience. While content is king, it takes the right technology and expertise to deliver that content with the level of quality, features, performance, and reliability that consumers want and expect.
Accedo is a video solutions provider that helps customers deliver premium video experiences. Through a combination of specialist services and sophisticated products, the company has worked with more than 400 companies around the globe to build and grow impactful video services that remain competitive over time. Accedo operates 16 offices globally and employs more than 500 people. Founded in 2004, its clients include global organizations such as HBO, CNN, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, Showtime, Tata Sky, and TVNZ. Accedo works with companies at every stage of the video business journey, helping its customers with everything from strategy and conception through to delivery, day-to-day management, and post-launch optimization.
Fulfilling client demand for managed services
While Accedo has garnered accolades for its Accedo One SaaS platform, it’s the company’s long-standing expertise and deep understanding of the video service ecosystem that makes it such a trusted and valuable partner for driving user engagement and monetization. When clients began requesting that the company host their video applications, Accedo embraced the opportunity to deepen its partnership with them and create a new recurring revenue stream.
"We started with a large client in India, who asked us to manage their deployment of 10-20 million live streams at each of their events," says Steven Kopec, head of service management at Accedo. "From that first client, we set out to build an operational organization to manage our clients’ video services with the goal of making the infrastructure fully available, observable, and secure."
Four years later, Accedo boasts a global DevOps team, operating around the clock and focused on availability, scalability, reliability, as well as the ability to react quickly to customization and adaptation requirements for the software—all of which require full-stack observability.
Gaining observability in the cloud
Accedo hosts its clients’ video services in the cloud. "The cloud lets us take advantage of new technologies and scale up immediately," says Kopec. "Many of our clients come to us with very aggressive timelines for getting a product to market. The cloud enables us to move at the pace our clients require."
While the cloud was an obvious choice for infrastructure, the new DevOps team initially struggled with figuring out how to monitor, manage, and scale the cloud environment for its clients’ applications. "We started looking at how we can observe what's going on within the software," says Kopec. "We needed to understand how the software is performing, how each of the components of the solution is performing, and what we need to do to improve reliability and availability."
The DevOps team chose New Relic for end-to-end observability, to help identify and pre-empt potential bottlenecks, and deliver the availability, scalability, and reliability clients expect for their hosted video services. Moving to New Relic to centralize and unify its telemetry data enabled Accedo to retire three tools and eliminate the complexities of managing multiple tools.
Identifying issues before clients and their customers are impacted
With the New Relic, the DevOps team can visualize, analyze, and troubleshoot issues quickly to resolve them before they degrade or impact the viewer experience for Accedo’s clients. "The goal is to see a potential issue, fix it, and then let the client know we’ve taken care of it before they know anything happened," says Kopec. "With New Relic in our tool stack, we can make sure that we’re providing reliability, stability, availability, and security for our clients, from the end-user application all the way to the backend infrastructure in the cloud. We can observe everything about the end-user experience."
Optimizing performance for major events
During the previous World Cup, Accedo began seeing impending bottlenecks with two providers in South East Asia. "Using New Relic, we helped our clients identify where the bottlenecks were, what was causing them, and which vendors need to be involved in addressing the issues," says Kopec. The DevOps team was able to quickly identify the problem as a component in the distribution network. Shayan Khan, head of DevOps at Accedo, cites another World Cup example: "During the World Cup, we used New Relic to help a client fix technical bottlenecks, improving the performance of their streaming application by a factor of 64."
In that situation, one day before the start of the tournament, the client was testing the application and it crashed at 7,000 users—a major issue as the application needed to support a predicted 50,000 concurrent users once the World Cup began. After confirming the issue within New Relic, Khan and the team identified the problem and made code changes to resolve the bottleneck and improve performance.
Defining strategy using sentiment analysis
One of the core metrics that the DevOps team focuses on is customer sentiment. It uses New Relic to gather and store comments from common social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and app stores and then correlate the data to identify areas where customers might be experiencing issues. Before New Relic, this process was completely manual, requiring much more time and effort to identify and trace any specific issues. "We’re analyzing customer sentiment via key channels such as social media to understand how end users feel about their streaming video experience," says Kopec. "For example, we can see that 100 people in Jakarta are talking about a bad streaming experience, and we can see that in East Jakarta, there is a group of users that is connected to a cell tower that’s having problems. We can see this happening in real-time and let our clients know what is going on."
Accedo is also using the data to help its customers design and implement new features for their video applications. "By correlating the data we’re gathering, we can provide insight into what people are asking for, such as the ability to download videos within an application," says Kopec. "It's about using the data we can get through observability to help our clients either respond before a customer complaint becomes an actual problem or help them deliver features their customers want when the customers are asking for them."
Transforming the video experience
Accedo’s DevOps Managed Services team now supports more than 50 customers around the globe, helping these companies deliver an exceptional streaming video experience that drives consumer engagement, revenue, and brand affinity. New Relic is foundational to the DevOps team for giving them the visibility and context they need to quickly identify, diagnose, and repair issues for their customers as well as deliver insight that helps them make prioritized development decisions.