The Switch Relies on Haivision’s Low Latency Solutions for Live Sports and Esports Customers

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ken Stiver, Senior Director, Engineering & Field Operations at The Switch about the company’s recent decision to use Haivision Makito X and X4 video encoders and decoders. In this post we’re sharing more about The Switch, what services it offers to its customers, and how Haivision products are powering its live low latency IP workflows.

About the Switch

Founded in 1991 and headquartered in New York, live video production and delivery experts, The Switch has been connecting viewers around the world to live events for almost three decades, bringing them the content they want across linear TV, on-demand and streaming platforms – on multiple screens and devices. Its live content services are trusted every day by corporate enterprises, tech giants, major broadcasters, and leading sports, esports, news, entertainment, house of worship, and government organizations who rely on The Switch to turn-on their live content. The Switch brings content to wherever viewers are and to whatever device they are using whether it be for linear TV, on-demand streaming, and OTT platforms.

The Switch offers its customers a comprehensive production platform combining mobile and at-home services with the provision of highly skilled production personnel to empower its customers to efficiently capture, edit, and package compelling live coverage. The Switch global transmission network connects 800+ of the world’s largest content producers, distributors, and sports and event venues – seamlessly linking rights holders, broadcasters, streaming platforms, media outlets, and web services.

Haivision: Can you tell us more about the customer use cases where you’re deploying Haivision solutions?
KS: We’re currently using Haivision Makito X video encoders and decoders for several ongoing customer projects for live sports viewing and betting as well as for esports. For all these use cases, low latency and reliability are critical which is why we chose Haivision solutions as in some cases, systems are running 24/7. We also selected the Makito X platform because of its native support for the Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) protocol which provides both excellent packet loss recovery and the security that our clients demand to protect their valuable content. The lightweight compact form factor is also a plus factor as we use Makitos in our flypacks.

The Switch control room with COVID-19 social distancing protocols

Haivision: You’re using SRT?
KS: Yes, using SRT over IP is an absolute no-brainer for us, and the fact that Haivision is the original developer of the protocol is a win-win. However, we also like that we’re not limited to using just one protocol, Haivision gives us the flexibility we need as it also supports several other streaming protocols.

Haivision: What has been your experience with the solutions so far?
KS: First and foremost, we love their ease of use. Secondly, not only is the quality of the product excellent but the technical support and response times have been some of the best I’ve ever seen. The Haivision professional services team recently provided a three-day online training seminar covering everything from a product overview, IP workflows, configuration, best practices, and troubleshooting to the whole of the Switch team and the feedback was extremely positive. At the Switch, we believe in keeping our vendor count as low as possible so that our team can be true experts in fewer devices, this is key to setting ourselves up for success.

Haivision: How has the pandemic affected your services and customers?
KS: Although as an organization we’re predominantly known for live sports, we’ve seen a big uptick in the way that enterprise customers are conducting their businesses to plug the gap created by travel restrictions for corporate communications and events for example. We’re seeing that both our enterprise and broadcast customers are far more willing to experiment with remote IP based workflows as they simply don’t have a choice anymore. The broadcast industry was certainly already headed this route, but the pandemic has accelerated the transition to IP based workflows.

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