At Handset Detection, we often wonder how people and businesses are using our service. Often we hear that a business is using the detection service to find out what kind of phones and tablets their customers are using so they can better serve them. Others use Handset Detection to come up with device-specific features. While these stories are fun, it’s always great to hear how someone is using Handset Detection in brand new ways.
Consider the case of R2, a professional webcasting service based out of New Zealand. They not only stream shows online but also produce them as well; they even have a truck specifically designed for webcast production. It’s a company you would expect in this modern day and age and probably one we’ll see more of in the future.
But owner Richard Naylor had a big problem. His customers were watching these streams on a ton of different devices, each with its own bit rate and format to suit the device and connection speeds. On top of that, viewers are watching from around the world.
“It’s not too hard to plug a camera into a PC and make a web video using a web service such as Livestream.com,” Naylor says. “But to do it at a professional level with fully redundant links, full media asset control and in some unusual locations stretches a few of them.
“For many years a windows PC was pretty well the only thing. Now there are PCs, Macs, phones, tablets and TVs connected via different methods such as Roku, AppleTV, Kindle Fire, etc. So we used to simply offer users a small menu to select the device or type of device they were using.”
Of course this isn’t ideal. Viewers don’t want a lot of hassle when they sign in to watch a simple video. They want to load the feed and watch it with as little as interference as possible. This can even make the difference between a webstream succeeding or failing, which can be a nightmare if you’re producing your own material like R2 is.
Luckily, a broadcaster friend found and recommended Handset Detection to Richard.
“When a viewer comes to watch a live video event,” he says, “we detect their device and switch them to a web page that contains the webstream that works for their device. Handset Detection allows us to be more elegant and hide the complexity from viewers.
“We want them to simply go to a web link and get live video. HD allows us to do that.”
The webcasting world is getting bigger and more complicated, even as viewers and companies alike strive for simplicity. R2 is struggling to keep up with smart TVs, 3000 variations of Android devices alone, and constant upgrades in a digital world that could damage their bottom line.
So we’re glad we can make Richard and his employees’ lives that much easier by streamlining the process. It’s not a use we dreamed of when we started Handset Detection, but that’s what makes it all the more exciting.