Building interactive live video experiences with Amazon IVS and Videoflow
Amazon Interactive Video Service (Amazon IVS) helps developers to quickly create low latency, interactive live streaming experiences. Based on the technology behind twitch.tv, IVS channels are fully managed, low latency live streams that remove much of the heavy lifting from integrating encoding, origination, content delivery, and playback.
Since launch, builders have been elated with the simplicity and performance from the live streaming service. However, we’ve received many questions regarding the “interactive” parts of the service.
IVS provides a PutMetadata API that enables you to associate arbitrary information within the video stream. Just like artist information in your MP3 music collection, the metadata inserted through the service is carried with the HLS video stream as ID3 tags. This means that metadata events are attached to a specific video frame within the HLS segment data and are emitted as events by the IVS Player SDK.
The PutMetadata interface of IVS is incredibly useful for building interactive video experiences, but these metadata events are one way (from IVS to viewer), with relatively small payloads (1 KB). You can use this interface to carry event identifier information, capture those events in your application, then make calls to an external API to render the interactive components at the appropriate time. This interface does not carry the state data for your interactive components like chat, polling, or trivia.
Though IVS makes interactive live streaming easier, you need an application and backend API to use the metadata interface to create engaging features aligned with the video stream. If you’re a builder interested in learning how to develop your own app, you should check out these blog posts or UnicornLive – a self-paced workshop that helps you build an interactive live streaming application using AWS Amplify and Amplify Video. For readers looking for a no-code way to implement interactive video experiences on top of IVS, we’d like to introduce you to Videoflow.io from Twizted Design.
Videoflow is a cloud-based platform that gives video content owners the ability to create interactive video experiences and Over-The-Top (OTT) channels using their live and on-demand video assets. Videos can be combined with interactive content like branding elements, interactive timelines, real-time data, social feeds, live chat, polling, and many other types of engaging content. The result is a richer video experience for consumers on any device – desktop, mobile, tablet, and TV. This drives deeper content engagement and higher return on investment for content owners.
Videoflow’s simple yet powerful drag and drop interface allows you to create interactive video experiences with content from services like Amazon IVS, AWS Elemental Media Services, or custom sources including HLS, MPEG-DASH, CMAF, or WebRTC protocols. When you hook up a new live video contribution feed, Videoflow provides you with a unique RTMP ingest URL to stream to. Then you copy/paste that URL into the streaming software of your choice, such as OBS, vMix, or AWS Elemental Live and the result is an interactive low latency stream that your audience can engage with in real time.
When you create a live streaming input in Videoflow, IVS generates the ingest points needed for the stream, and Videoflow automatically connects all the API endpoints to the relevant IVS channel. The integration with IVS allows you to set up a new interactive stream in seconds, freeing you from the technical aspects and allows you to focus on your audience’s experience.
Once your workflow is ready, you can drive the experience by triggering events that change any visual content in sync with the video. Videoflow manages and sends ID3 event tags through IVS, in combination with Videoflow’s events API. The combination of using the ID3 tags for IVS and Videoflow’s events allows you to deliver complex data structures and still be in perfect sync with the underlying video stream.
“The integration with IVS allows our users to set up live streams in minutes, with the highest quality and lowest latency. By simplifying the setup process, our clients can focus on delivering the most compelling interactive video experiences to their viewers” – Jan Umansky, CEO & Co-Founder at Twizted Design, the creators of Videoflow.
With its straightforward integration and simplified workflow, Videoflow’s customers are uniquely positioned to take advantage of IVS’s capabilities. Notably, NBC Universal and NTTSportict (Japan) use Videoflow in innovative ways to produce live event content both on-site and remote, and deliver it to consumers wherever they are. Using Videoflow in combination with IVS empowers media companies to deliver their stories to their loyal audiences in a compelling and insightful way.
Learn more about how Videoflow can make your content more engaging here: https://www.videoflow.io
Or sign up for a demo here: https://www.videoflow.io/demo
About Amazon IVS
Amazon Interactive Video Service (Amazon IVS) is a managed live streaming solution that is quick and easy to set up, and ideal for creating interactive video experiences. Learn more.