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3Crowd Technologies, the new startup from BitGravity co-founder Barrett Lyon, has come out of stealth with new products that the company believes will help revolutionize the price structure of streaming video online, making it affordable to video publishers to deliver content to massive audiences. Launching with its new CrowdMonitor and CrowdDirector products, 3Crowd says it can blend multiple CDNs into a single cloud-based delivery platform.
Lyon’s last gig was as CTO and co-founder of CDN startup BitGravity, which specialized in providing very high-quality live and on-demand video. But despite that background (or perhaps because of it,) Lyon says he’s now looking for ways to further commoditize an already heavily commoditized market. His plan is to offer a way for video publishers to easily balance multiple CDNs based upon price and quality of performance.
“CDNs are stifling innovation on the Internet a bit,” Lyon said in a phone interview. In the current online video cost structure, publishers pay per-bit prices to a single CDN or sometimes a few CDNs, a system that Lyon says is inefficient and hurting the market. The goal for 3Crowd, according to Lyon, is to lower the cost of delivering online video to match the cost of broadcast.
By enabling publishers to easily sign up for and manage multiple CDNs, based on certain business rules that are defined by the content owner, CrowdDirector can provide lower prices and better performance than a single CDN could. It also takes away the possibility of a “single point of failure” if a customer’s CDN provides sub-par performance for whatever reason. Meanwhile, CrowdMonitor enables publishers to have a better idea of the performance of that delivery, ensuring that any issues are solved in real-time by balancing between CDNs and web servers when necessary.
Multisource CDN delivery is not exactly new; Swarmcast and Conviva already provide services that manage the delivery of video streams through multiple CDN providers, but both companies are focused more on the live online video market. 3Crowd doesn’t plan to charge per-bit CDN fees, but instead takes a small fee based on the number of requests that it routes for customers.
The San Mateo, Calif.-based company has raised funding from Kevin Rose, Jay Adelson, Storm Ventures and Greenwich Technology Associates. The company has about 10 employees, most of whom are engineers and some of which came from Wikia and Socialmedia.com.
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