November 4th, 2015 by Chris Allen
The Times They Are A Changin’
As you might have noticed, we recently updated our website to better reflect our new direction at Infrared5. We are now focused on the Red5 Pro Server and SDKs for iOS and Android that enable developers to build experiences like Meerkat or FaceTime in a matter of minutes. Yes, you read that correctly – the ability to create mobile streaming applications in minutes. We originally started this company because of the tremendous reception and interest in the Red5 Open Source Media Server. For those that aren’t familiar with the project, our initial team, composed of John Grden, Paul Gregoire, Dominick Accattato and myself, worked with other developers around the world to reverse engineer the RTMP protocol and create an open source alternative to Macromedia’s Flash Communication Server. This project eventually became Red5. Two years later as the project grew, we noticed strong demand from developers who needed custom work and consulting on Red5 – so much so that we decided to quit our day jobs and start Infrared5. Over the years though, our focus drifted away from exclusively building live streaming solutions with Red5.
Games and Brass Monkey
Our developers at Infrared5 have always been interested in disrupting the present and pushing the boundaries with new technologies. One of these instances was the Unity game engine. Andy Zupko and John Grden really pushed us in this direction as early adopters of the platform. We built many great games on Unity including the Star Wars Trench Run, Hasbro’s Game of Life Zapped Edition, and most recently the augmented reality Force Trainer feature in the official Star Wars app. Even though we are no longer focused on games, our passion for game design and the unique experiences they enable really influence our product design. We want to make using Red5 Pro fun and enjoyable for developers, which in many respects isn’t far off from the goal of a good game.
During this time Rebecca led Infrared5 not just in games projects, but also on IoT and streaming projects that leveraged the open source Red5. Another project that Infrared5 invented and spun off was our smartphone-as-a-game (SAAG?) controller product, Brass Monkey. I moved over to lead that company as CEO in 2010, but eventually I came back to Infrared5 full time, as we weren’t able to effectively convince people to pay for smartphone controlled, browser-based games. Note though, we kept the technology, and it’s now part of Red5 Pro as the Second Screen SDK.
Going Back To Our Roots
After Steve Jobs announced the demise of Flash with the lack of support in iOS, and the eventual decay of support for Android, we came to the conclusion that we would solve the “Get off of Flash Problem” for live streaming mobile apps. We heard from a lot of our consulting clients that they wanted this, and instead of trying to build custom solutions over and over again, we decided Red5 needed an upgrade. Mobile SDKs for RTMP are mostly fragmented, hard to use, clunky and generally just a mess. We have now made it our mission to make building a live streaming app for iOS and Android efficient and intuitive. Whether it’s a one-to-many live broadcasting app like Periscope, a many-to-many conferencing app, or a one-to-one video chat application, we want to make it so incredibly simple that any developer can do it.
The Future: WebRTC, Second Screen, IoT
While migrating existing live streaming Flash apps to our new platform is super helpful, what we are most excited about is our vision for the myriad applications of the Red5 Pro technology.
An ever-increasing number of browsers are adding support for WebRTC; heck, even Microsoft Edge is getting there! We think this is clearly the future for in-browser streaming, and we are currently working on making Red5 Pro speak this protocol. We see the Red Pro Server as the underlying hub that is able to talk to all different streaming mobile apps and browser apps with minimal latency and outstanding performance.
However, the phones we carry in our pockets, the laptops sitting on our desks, and the tablets we browse while sitting on the couch are truly just the beginning. Other devices with cameras that can connect to the internet are the next big thing in live streaming. We are thrilled to make Red5 Pro integrate with all of these Internet of Things devices. The possibilities are endless: imagine fully immersing yourself in a live concert via your VR headset streamed live from a 3D camera at the venue, or enabling live video streaming among military troops over mesh networks going to their AR headsets. There are countless things for developers to build in this space, and we’re excited to see how we can power them through Red5 Pro.
Finally, we think that the second screen experiences like what we started with Brass Monkey have huge potential for changing the way people interact with technology. Not only can you as a developer turn phones into game controllers, but you can also create new banking software that enables your phone to interact with and take away information from a screen in bank branches of the future.
…And There’s More!
Of course we can only think of so many scenarios of how our tech can be applied. The true innovation will be done by what you as a developer create with it. What would you build with Red5 Pro? Let us know in the comments. Much more coming your way soon!