Microsoft Buys Peer5 To Bolster Teams Video Streaming

Microsoft announced on Tuesday the acquisition of Peer5 with the aim of improving "large-scale live video streaming" in Microsoft Teams.

Peer5, with offices in Palo Alto, Calif. and Tel Aviv, Israel, makes a streaming solution for audio and video that's based on the Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) HTML5 protocol, a Worldwide Web Consortium recommendation that was originally fostered by Google. WebRTC is a browser-based technology that lets browsers share content without requiring plug-ins or add-ons. Peer5 explains WebRTC's importance in this article.

Peer5 ups the capability enabled by WebRTC via its peer-to-peer sharing technology, which helps alleviate bandwidth issues that may occur with other video-streaming solutions, such as deploying proxy servers locally or setting up multicasting.

Peer5's peer-to-peer technology leverages an organization's local area network instead of pulling video down from a service provider, the company explained in this document:

As employees start watching the video, we simultaneously place them into peering groups where they share the underlying video segments so that bandwidth consumption remains within the local area network instead of loading the ISP connection. Even for VOD streams, we've seen 80%+ bandwidth reduction.

The peer-to-peer technology creates "dynamic mesh networks between viewers of a video," essentially letting them share the video bits. For larger organizations, Peer5 may use a combination of technologies, including using proxy servers or multicasting, to solve audio and video streaming issues. Peer5 refers to its technologies in general as a so-called "enterprise content delivery network" (eCDN).

Peer5 issued its own announcement about the acquisition by Microsoft, noting that the company got its start in 2012 after writing a streaming solution in JavaScript that was based on WebRTC. Its solutions have since handled live events with "as many as 2 million concurrent users," said Hadar Weiss, Peer5's co-founder and CEO, in the announcement.

"We're excited to partner with Microsoft and enable our eCDN solution for their many enterprise customers with a single mouse-click," Weiss wrote. "We're eagerly looking forward to enabling live streaming for many more organizations around the world!"

Microsoft's announcement took care to suggest that its purchase of Peer5 would not affect Microsoft's current eCDN partners, nor would it affect Peer5 customers:

Microsoft will continue to support eCDN solutions from Microsoft certified partners in addition to Peer5 eCDN; and current Peer5 customers will be able to continue using Peer5 services. Microsoft will provide more information when available.

The terms of the deal weren't described.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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