Jerod Venema, CEO and Co-Founder: Liveswitch Provides an Enterprise-grade Live Video Streaming Platform

August 24, 2022

LiveSwitch provides an enterprise-grade live video streaming platform that allows businesses to incorporate interactive video in their applications and business processes.

Our mission is simple, yet enormous: Build human connection through technology. And through human connection, we can help change the world for the better.

Our flagship product is LiveSwitch, which is made up of a set of SDKs for a huge range of platforms such as iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, browsers, etc. and a set of server components such as gateways and media servers. We power secure, high-quality and mass-scale interactive video.

Our clients include major companies such as Adobe and Deutsche Telekom. LiveSwitch is being used to power everything from online gyms to the virtual fan experience for the NBA All-Star Games.

Tell us about yourself?

My brother Anton and I are both software engineers by trade. In 2008, we left the small startup we were a part of to start LiveSwitch. Today, LiveSwitch provides a WebRTC engine for real-time video engagement experiences, but that wasn’t always the case.

When we started out, we were young and optimistic (and naive). We had a vision for online collaboration made simple using nothing but a browser; bringing people together, regardless of location, to work on their documents.

No more emailing redlined Word documents, copies of PowerPoints with “please edit and return” or trying to merge Visio diagrams – we wanted to let people do it together. (Google was dabbling in this space, but nothing really stuck yet).

We have always been involved in “collaboration services,” but we started with streaming text-based data like live chat services and stock tickers. This was back when Google Docs didn’t exist, and we were pushing the bounds of what web browsers and servers could do.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

I’ve made a thousand mistakes, but the best advice I could give myself comes down to this: empower people to make decisions on their own. It’s all really about the people. The strategy, tactics, development plans and so on, are necessary, but if you don’t have an awesome team, none of that matters. We have an awesome team.

What problem does your business solve?

Today, companies in almost every sector, including healthcare, banking, education, retail and many others, want to embed live video communication and interaction into their applications to create engaging real time experiences that don’t require people to be in-person. But how?

We help them quickly and easily integrate high quality and reliable communication at scale into their brand experience, creating a solution that’s both tailored to their audience and flexible enough to fit changing business requirements.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

As mentioned above, we didn’t start in the video livestreaming business. At first, we were streaming text-based data but over the years, we had a number of customers ask us about streaming images, which we simply didn’t do back then.

We kept at our original business until roughly around the time iPads were being previewed. At that time, I was traveling a lot, and I had also just had my first child.

I was looking for ways to spend time with him, and, since he had shown interest in coloring books, I wanted to find an online, collaborative coloring book where I could color with him and talk to him on video at the same time.

Unfortunately, nothing to do that really existed, so I talked to Anton (my brother and co-founder) and we decided to create an audio/video streaming software development kit (SDK) that could be embedded in apps, like coloring books, to keep people connected.

Just as we were launching that SDK, WebRTC was announced by Google as their open-source software package for real-time voice and video on the web.

We pivoted quickly and adjusted our SDK to be WebRTC-compatible, launching the first WebRTC SDKs for iOS, Android, Windows and macOS (and Internet Explorer…it was a long time ago).

After riding the wave of changes to WebRTC and the inconsistencies that came with new technology, we expanded to server-side capabilities – larger scale, integration with additional protocols like session initiation protocol (SIP) for telephony, recording and so forth. That launched LiveSwitch Cloud and LiveSwitch Server, which are our flagship products.

The pandemic took things to a whole new level and use cases for live video collaboration and broadcasting that we never dreamed of started cropping up.

What is your magic sauce?

Our magic sauce is the security and flexibility of our platform.

We allow for multiple deployment options through our cloud, private cloud and on-premises solutions, which are extremely useful for our customers that are highly concerned with security or have regulatory, legal, or other types of restrictions on how they deploy their streaming services.

We also have an incredibly flexible SDK. If you want to build anything with real-time video, it’s possible to do it with our SDK, so we’re as close to future-proof as you can get. That can mean added complexity, but it also means we get to solve some pretty amazing problems.

A Fortune 100 company recently selected us after exhaustively reviewing our competition and realizing we were literally the only SDK with the flexibility to stream at the high quality and rate they were after. That was a pretty cool moment.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

LiveSwitch recently released our first end-user videoconferencing platform called SimplyOn and we’re seeing a ton of growth there.

SimplyOn is a simple video conferencing solution that requires no downloads, no guest registration and a single click to join a meeting from any browser or smart device. It also allows users to pin their pictures and interests to their profile to help break the ice among participants.

We’re also undergoing a lot of strategic developments related to our core products so wait and see, we’re taking things to the next level…

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The biggest challenges related to building and maintaining a world-class livestreaming engine are technical knowledge and developers! Many people assume that if they can build a website, they can build a streaming platform.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

There are a ton of complexities in standard video streaming to start with, and then you remove any support for buffering or delay in the system, and put together something that has to work globally, handle terabytes of data at any second, and work on everything from poor wifi configurations to 3G networks, and do it all in under 300 milliseconds. It’s extremely challenging work.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

If you’d like to try a free, extremely simple videoconferencing solution, go to simplyon.com and create an account to give it a try.

If your business is looking to add real-time video communication or interactive broadcasting, check us out at liveswitch.io.

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