How we built Look - a social, scalable live streaming service for iOS and Android
Be part of a sold-out show, catch a Hawaiian sunset or see what's going on in Times Square with a few quick taps.
Look is an on-demand live-streaming app that takes you anywhere where you want. Select a location, add a message for your streamer and you’re good to go.
Featured by Forbes, TechCrunch and ProductHunt.
In 2016, an entrepreneur from Belgium approached us with their vision of a location-based on-demand video streaming social network.
Our biggest technical risk was affordable and scalable video streaming for thousands of users.
Within 3 months, we were able to build, test and release a successful MVP, launching on the iOS App Store. The Android app came later and much faster using findings made during the MVP stage.
Viewers pinpoint a map location, then compose a request message that gets pushed to any streamers in the selected area.
Instead of passively viewing incidental streams, viewers have hands-on control over what they see.
Streamers are incentivised to stream things that their audience actually want to see.
Look uses an ephemeral model where streams can be replayed, but disappear from the platform after a certain amount of time.
Look gives streamers the option of preserving their video and sharing it on Facebook and Twitter.
We built a curation engine that intelligently surfaces streams and replays based on how they’re being recieved by the community.
Factors like thumbs up/down ratio and view count extends the time video will be available for viewing. If a video is not liked anymore it silently disappears.
Working with live video is technically challenging, and user expectations are high when it comes to buffering speed and picture quality.
We developed a highly performant custom streaming engine based on the NGINX-rtmp module. This helped our clients realize significant cost-to-serve savings and ensured that Look users enjoy low latency, high quality streams.
The social components of Look (requests, comments) are dependant on being able to reliably deliver push notifications and messages. We used Websockets and Centrifugo, to ensure reliability and scalability.
Look has been positively received by users, with a fast growing community of streamers and viewers interacting on the platform.
Look has received press attention, being featured by Forbes in their Startups to watch in 2017 list. Look has also been covered by Techcrunch and Product Hunt.
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