Delivering Immersive Experiences with Streaming Global

We interviewed Brandon from Streaming Global to discuss the company's innovative media and data delivery powered by System 76 hardware. Founded in 2018, Streaming Global is a software company specializing in transporting various content across IP networks. Their products include SG-MDRN for media and entertainment content delivery, SG-X for transferring large, complex data sets reliably and securely globally, and SG-RT, a remote-rendered pixel streaming solution for interactive or immersive experiences.

Brandon, the Chief Revenue Officer and head of strategy, highlights the core technology behind their media and data transport, as well as SG-RT for pixel streaming. This technology enables the delivery of high-fidelity, photorealistic content at scale without requiring powerful GPU’s on the users’ devices. System 76's custom servers play a crucial role in scaling these experiences cost-effectively by supporting Streaming Global’s patent-pending GPU Multitenancy, allowing multiple users to share a single GPU, dramatically reducing the number of servers required to enable immersive experiences.

The impact of Streaming Global's technology is seen across various industries, including government, gaming, entertainment, and especially in spatial commerce and corporate training. The technology facilitates immersive experiences like virtual showrooms and digital twins of physical spaces, enhancing customer engagement.

Introduction of Streaming Global

Brandon: The company has been around since 2018. We're a privately held software company, and our focus has been the transport of a variety of different things across IP networks. So that could be media and entertainment content, like streaming services that you would watch. We can provide a transport, and we have a product for that called SG-MDRN, which stands for media data, real time networking. And then we also have a transfer product, which we call SG-X. And that's for when you have a need to move large, complex data sets from one part of the planet to another. That's where we have leveraged the streaming methodology to be able to move those kinds of data volumes. And then the last one, which is where system 76 is really helping us out a lot, is in an area of interactive or immersive experiences. Some people are calling them spatial commerce, where you could go to a website and be able to purchase goods, but you're doing it through a virtual storefront where maybe you're building an avatar or you're going to buy a Ferrari and you're going to configure exactly what color you want and you can get into the driver's seat and your salesperson might be sitting in the passenger seat.

Using System76 GPU Servers

Brandon: Where we use system 76 servers in that instance with GPUs and it puts us in a position to be able to respond to the scale demand that customers would have while being able to have a global footprint across our data centers. We're a small company headquartered in the Atlanta, Georgia area, and I've been with a company for about three and a half years. I joined in the summer of 2020. And my responsibility and role is I'm the head of strategy, the chief revenue officer. Everything, sales and marketing rolls up through me.

If we focus on exactly where system 76 is helping, it's in that SG-RT protocol and RT standing for real time. We have a baseline software foundation that enables what's called pixel streaming. If you think about the game engines that are available in the market today, Unreal Engine is the market leader. There's another company called Unity. And when you think about video game development, you're now starting to see that move into other forms of content. Whether it's corporate training or spatial commerce that we talked about, or it could be content management solutions. People use Unreal Engine or Unity to be able to create this immersive content. But you want to make sure it gets to the broadest audience and not be reliant solely on the users’ devices in order to have photorealistic, high fidelity content. You use a server infrastructure and stream the pixels from the game engine to the user's device, whether that's mobile, desktop, a VR headset, or even a game console. Where system 76 helps us is they provide very specific custom servers because there's a real market demand and need for companies to be able to scale these experiences.

Why use GPU Servers?

Brandon: Let's say that Nike is going to do a big campaign and they're going to present immersive digital assets as part of a campaign. They estimate they could get 500,000 people to show up to check out this experience. The challenge is if you use cloud resources, like virtual machines that are providing a GPU, you have a one to one relationship between that server, GPU and the user. The average cost in the market today for cloud resources for that type of experience is one dollar per hour per user. If Nike believes a half a million people that can show up, it would actually have a cost of $500,000 an hour to deliver that experience using the pixel streaming offering in the market today. What we've done with System 76 is build out high power servers with multiple GPUs. Streaming Global has invented a way to have multiple users on a single GPU. We call that GPU Multitenancy. Now instead of only one server and one GPU per user, we actually can support 18 users on a server with two GPU’s, or nine tenants per GPU. That dramatically changes the unit economics so companies that want to provide an immersive, high fidelity photorealistic experience can actually achieve scale. The data doesn't lie in terms of these users getting into these experiences, spending a lot of time looking at a variety of different products. We're working with the Atlanta Braves, as an example. They created a digital twin of their baseball park here in Atlanta. So if I'm a fan, I can run the bases. I can go to Q & A with the front office or maybe some players. However, you have to make sure you have both the hardware infrastructure and software to be able to deliver those kinds of experiences in a cost effective, reliable and performant way.

What is SG-RT?

Brandon: Instead of having to download a big file, for example, you're basically streaming the pixels of these experiences. Imagine a car configuration, and as you move around the experience, the lighting and the shading changes with your position. The manufacturer wants it to look as if you're in the showroom. And the only way to effectively accomplish that is to pixel stream thel content. And that's what SG-RT does. It creates the transport from the system 76 server environment, housed at a global footprint of data centers, and then pushes that to the user through just a browser, a mobile device, a VR headset or whatever the end client device would be.

Where Streaming Global has the Most Impact

Brandon: When these kinds of experiences first came about, they were categorized as as part of the metaverse. There was a lot of different definitions of what the metaverse was, is, and could be. It started out as all about virtual social spaces. And now there are some great experiences that can be built with all of these tools, like Unreal Engine and Unity. There are creative agencies hired by brands to build out this engaging, impressive content. But then how do you best monetize that content? You don't want just something that's engaging, but then you aren’t able to point to how that helps your business. We’re seeing significant activity in the spatial commerce use case. Sephora just released what's called the Sephora Universe on a limited basis. So a user could build an avatar and do a virtual makeup try on.

In the automotive industry, we've seen a significant amount of investment in configuration experience. The manufacturers are doing that in partnership with the owner of Unreal Engine, Epic Games. Instead of going to a website today, and picking my model, color and trim with the site then showing the vehicle in a series flat 2D pictures, now I will be able to go into a virtual showroom. I'm navigating the space, I'm looking at all the different angles. I can step into the car, I can look at the trunk space. This is the spatial commerce use case. There’s also definitely going to continue to be a significant amount of investment in corporate training. When you think about a large employee base, one example is one of our strategic partners is working today is Emirates Airlines. The company has 100,000 employees, and they build out immersive training modules, whether it's for customer service staff or for flight attendants, or it could even be regulated types of training like maintenance or pilots.
We were on a call last week where Target stores use Unreal Engine to build store layouts when planning for the next season. You're imagining and curating the customer experience before any physical building begins. A last SG-RT use case is content management. Historically, consumer brands have gone to an internal website and downloaded the color schemes, or approved images and sounds of a particular campaign so they can appropriately label the item. Now you are starting to see agencies and companies build those out in game engines, like Unreal or Unity, so that those agencies know exactly what the end product will look like, rather than guessing on the original vision. Those are a few of the main use cases that we're seeing today for SG-RT.

Anticipating What’s to Come in Streaming Tech

Brandon: I think at the end of the day, as a software company, especially with the deep bench strength that we have in our engineering team, you always need to be innovating.  The adage about the hockey player Wayne Gretzky, as to why he was a Hall of Famer and maybe the best to ever play the game is that he would always skate to where the puck was going to be rather than where it was. As a software company and as a business, we're trying to anticipate where exactly the market is headed. As far as streaming video, whether it's using a platform like Zoom, or Netflix or Amazon Prime, at the end of the day, you're wanting to make sure that the customer experience is always better.

Streaming Global tries to determine how the live video goes from the source to the user, and how quickly and reliably can it get there, without sacrificing visual quality or latency.
We also are seeing an increase in user demand for moving large data sets. This is probably a two year old stat, but the observation was every year the world's data doubles. How do I actually move that content from the place where I'm working on it to where it needs to go from a business requirement standpoint? Being able to have performant tools like that are really important. A real opportunity for our company is that instead of a user leveraging services that do a publish and pull model and there is synchronization that occurs, like Dropbox or OneDrive, you're going to see more advancements in the streaming of data that will increase performance and reliability. If you have a network hiccup or you lose connectivity, then being able to make sure that it just picks up right where you left off, rather than having to restart it again.

The Future of Immersive Content

Brandon: My parting shot is that it's really going to be fascinating to watch where the immersive content business goes in the next three to five years, specifically with our product, SG-RT. It going to be commonplace that you have immersive experiences rather than seeing 2D photo on a website. How much more time is going to go by before we actually go into those kinds of experiences and you're trying something on virtually and you're creating an avatar that is specific to your measurements.
I know it's early days with generative AI, but I think it's only just going to make it that much more accurate so that hopefully we aren't in a position where we have to return items that don't fit or don't look like the way we thought they should when we purchased them. Corporate training will leverage the data suggesting that the more that you interact with something the more apt you are to absorb it. Maybe you set up a customer service scenario where you are interacting with another person, even if it's an AI generated person, and that would help you do your job better, replacing the need to review a PowerPoint slide or even just listen to a speaker. I think the more immersive the experience, then the higher rate of retention and engagement you get from the user. Streaming Global’s technology enables that to happen.

The exciting future of immersive experiences enabled by technologies like SG-RT and the potential integration of generative AI to improve personalization and engagement will set the stage for Streaming Global to continue to innovate with their media and data delivery pipelines.

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