Haivision Innovation Labs

Why you Should Read the Innovation Labs Blog

The very talented Research & Innovation group at Haivision recently started a project on Medium called the Innovation Labs Blog and we wanted to speak with one of its creators about the inspiration behind the project, the goals of the blog, SRT, and more.

We caught up with Maria Sharabayko, PhD, Haivision’s Principal Data Scientist of the Research & Innovation group, to learn more about what the Innovation Labs Blog is, what drove her to start the project, and what readers can expect in the future.   

To start off, tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Haivision.

“I joined Haivision almost four years ago as a Technical Manager of the Automation team. My team and I wrote functional tests in Python and developed evaluation techniques for video streaming and encoding solutions, as well as methods for integrating them into CI/CD pipelines. At some point, I started collaborating with SRT engineers to develop tools for automated testing and scripts for network traffic analysis.  

In 2019, I officially transitioned from Automation to the SRT team and became a Technical Manager. I am responsible for gathering the team, understanding the priorities, what the plan is for the next release, and how much time we have for developing a particular feature. In essence, everything that’s related to the SRT project management. But I’m also a team player and a data scientist, so I look at performance evaluation and algorithm development in SRT, and closely collaborate with the developers.”  

What is the Innovation Labs Blog?

“The main idea was to start an SRT Labs blog so originally, we wanted to write about the SRT protocol only. I had a small talk with my manager regarding the idea of starting a blog and then we realized that we have other interesting projects to write about.  

We do a lot of cool things and research at Haivision related to video encoding and transcoding, live streaming, and the application of cloud technologies and machine learning for video transport. The SRT protocol is integral in many of those projects, and we would like to share as much as we can.”

What inspired you to start the Innovation Labs Blog?

“We started collecting technical notes, tips & tricks, and how-tos for developers in the SRT cookbook like a couple of years ago. We started this initiative because as a team we support GitHub, and sometimes there are tickets submitted by developers and integrators of SRT. We also answer questions in the #development Slack channel with about 450 people involved, so we wanted to support them and provide additional information.

Since I joined the team, we’ve developed various performance evaluation procedures and tests and integrated them into the workflow of SRT. At some point, I realized that there’s a lot of research going on and it would be nice to start sharing some of the results with the rest of the community. I am a researcher; I have a PhD and one of our developers also has a PhD. We used to write articles and scientific papers and I just felt that it’s a good time to start something.”

What is your goal with the Innovation Labs Blog?

“SRT isn’t the easiest thing to learn for a general user. We hope that this project will help people understand the internals of the protocol, how they can test or setup certain things, and the benefits of using the newest version of SRT. The community has been supportive over the years and so many great developers have contributed to the SRT library. We regularly work with engineers from other companies who integrate SRT into their own products. During this process, they help us to fix some of the issues or improve things and are contributing in this way. We believe that if we share as much information as we can, we can help people to understand the general concepts better and not just from reading the code. This will benefit all of us in the future.

Another goal is to help students and the scientific community. We regularly work with professors and students from different universities who are interested in research around SRT. I think that the blog will help them understand and get into SRT easier.

It’s also a way to give back to the SRT community who have been contributing over the years. What’s exciting is that maybe two or three years ago, it was mainly us, the SRT team, answering the discussions in Slack. Now, developers communicate between each other and the power of having such an engaged community is really seen. This is great!”

How do you decide what topics to write about?

“It’s still early on, but the main strategy is to write about the latest technical news, developments, and research in SRT and other projects of the Research & Innovation group. When I started this, my idea was to create a technical blog and involve other people and researchers in the project. I hope that one day the community can contribute and if something isn’t clear from the documentation, we will cover this in the blog.

And finally, is there anything about SRT or the community that you’d like readers to know?

“If there is an incoming PR (pull-request) or contribution submitted to the project, we try to react as soon as possible and cooperate with people so that their changes and improvements are reviewed and added to the SRT library. This helps other developers to integrate the library into their solutions smoothly and in a reasonable time.  

For us, this is one of the main priorities. The same is true when we answer questions and support people in the SRT Slack channels and on GitHub. We always try to react quickly and help people while the discussion is active.  

We’re very thankful for the community and hopefully, the Innovation Labs Blog can become a helpful resource for them.”

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