Imagine you develop the new killer startup in the Fitness area, and one of the features is, obviously, real-time video streaming.
Which services to use? What are the options? What about video delay? Finally, what are the costs?
First of all, here is the rule of thumb:
“If you build the startup, you need to select the technology which will allow you to launch the application as soon as possible.” Ⓒ Stanislav Zayarsky
Forget for a while about costs, scalability, and other factors. You need to release fast, get user feedback, make changes, iterate over and over!
Such a rule of thumb will limit your selection to just a few options and that would be Vonage, Twilio, and Agora. Those 3 options are so-called CPaas providers and they more or less equal in terms of functionality and pricing. But since Vonage and Twilio are more mature than Agora, I will remove Agora.
Those cloud video streaming systems could be integrated quickly into your application by any decent software engineer. It will work nicely and you could grow rapidly.
The downside is that both Vonage and Twilio charge you per minute per stream, and eventually that will come with a $$$ check. But while you are growing and don’t have many customers yet, forget about those costs. Later you will have a chance to switch to another video streaming provider.
And now I hear the question: “Why should we switch later? I want to have the best video streaming technology from the beginning!”
Well, the term “Best” changes according to your needs. For the startup “best” equals “Fastest to launch”. For a bigger company “Best” means cost-wise.
Let’s check several use cases:
Use case #1: Personal one-to-one training.
If most of the planned interactions are going to happen 1-to-1 between coach and trainee, then the Twilio peer 2 peer mechanism works best: https://www.twilio.com/video/pricing.
Let’s calculate some numbers to give you an understanding of what to expect. For example, you will have 100 fitness sessions every day, each session will last 1 hour. Twilio pricing is $0.0015 per stream per minute. In our case that would be 100 sessions x 60 minutes x 2 participants x $0.0015 = $18 per day. Or $18 / 100 participants = $0.18 per participant per 1 hour session.
You might ask what will happen when you reach 10.000 fitness sessions per day? Well, congratulations, this is great platform growth, in this case, we can optimize and switch from Twilio to our Trembit.com custom platform, and instead of $1800 per day pay at least x3 less. More details here: email@example.com
Use case #2: Fitness class for small groups of up to 50 people in a room.
In this case, you can’t use peer 2 peer connections, meaning you will get regular pricing from Twilio or Vonage. The price is the same for both providers $0.004 per stream per minute.
Let’s imagine you have 100 one-hour fitness sessions per day, with 10 participants on average in the room
100 sessions x 60 minutes x 10 participants x $0.004 = $240 per day. Or $240 / 100 sessions / 10 participants = $0.24 per participant per 1 hour session.
If you have more sessions and users per day. We have a custom platform here in Trembit.com, contact me for more details to save costs: firstname.lastname@example.org
Use case #3: Large fitness event for 50+ participants.
In those types of events, you usually have a coach on a big screen and participants’ don’t stream video. Or you might have Coach + several participants highlighted so everyone can see them.
For such a case technically we grab the main screen with Coach+highlighted users as one video and restream it to everyone. If you are a technical person, you can check how it works inside.
Ok, so we will use Twilio or Vonage for organizing video conferencing in the main room and then restream that room to other participants. The video delay inside the room would be kind of real-time, and the audience will get a video with a slight delay (7-10 seconds). We make that video delay to lower the costs, and usually, the audience won’t notice it.
Let’s assume you have 100 fitness sessions per day, with 50 users on average in each session.
Studio room with 5 participants costs would be:
100 sessions x 60 minutes x 5 participants x $0.004 = $120 per day.
Restream to other 50 users costs:
In one session 50 users, 60 minutes duration, (720p) 1 Mbit video bitrate, equals 22 Gigabytes per session. 22 Gigabytes x 100 sessions = 2197 Gigabytes per day. The average restream cost in the market (Wowza.com) is around $0.09 per GB, so in total, we get 2197 GB x $0.09 = $197 per day.
Total for Large fitness events with 50+5 participants would be $120 + $197 = $317 per day or $0.06 per participant per 1 hour session.
Eventually, you will get to a greater number of users. And we have a custom video streaming solution for this case in Trembit.com, contact me for more details: email@example.com
After reviewing the main use cases, you might decide to use different providers for each of them, it also works fine, yet requires additional development and maintenance spendings.
I would like to emphasize one more time when you are in a startup you need to launch fast! Build the first version with Vonage or Twilio, get the application to the users, receive feedback, improve and iterate. When you get to more or less stable growth, there are ways how to optimize the video streaming part and save costs.
If you need help building the whole fitness application or have technical questions – ping me, we are glad to help.