The Georgia-based company continues to expand its footprint in the global OTT market with solutions including its MultiPipe Streaming Technology, as Founder and Chairman George Mikeladze explains to David Davies.
Sixteen years on from the company’s founding, a combination of carefully targeted solutions and strategic partnerships has made Qarva an important player in the global OTT and IPTV software solutions sector.
Making its first major mark internationally with the MultiPipe Streaming Technology – which was originally trialled in Cape Town in 2012 – the Georgia-based company has introduced a series of software products aimed at helping broadcasters and telecoms to scale their services and support new technologies and formats, such as 4K and HDR, as required.
Qarva’s Founder and Chairman, George Mikeladze, confirms that the company’s primary focus continues to be on “innovation and the delivery of technologies that can provide very high quality video transportation and services. As a B2B company, we also have an emphasis on these technologies being cost-effective and easy to integrate into [broadcaster workflows].” Moreover, he adds, that applies as much to the corporate IPTV market as it does to customers in the OTT environment.
Recognised with multiple industry awards in recent years, MultiPipe remains the flagship Qarva solution. In order to minimise delay times that can compromise the appeal of OTT services, MultiPipe makes it possible for service providers to utilise the entire bandwidth of subscribers’ local internet connections to access and stream video content – even when it originates in another continent. Employing a TCP/IP based transport protocol, MultiPipe uses persistent connections to multiple streaming servers around the world to receive and aggregate content data.
With our technology you have the opportunity to stream from far-away servers in high quality with a significant bit-rate
Consequently, says Mikeladze, OTT services can ensure “very low latency – down to three seconds – as well as high bit-rates and superb video quality. There are also benefits in terms of a very rapid TV channel change time, along with smooth and precise time-shifting.” With content delivery speeds of up to 1Gb/s, MultiPipe is also able to handle the challenge of delivering seamless content in 4K/HDR – and beyond.
Invited to consider the main factors behind the continuing success of MultiPipe, Mikeladze pinpoints the “objective that we have had from day one of making OTT content delivery more comfortable [for our customers] in the sense that our system interacts very easily with various ecosystems.” In addition, he believes that successive innovations geared at “improving the content experience” have also served the company well.
One obvious example here would be the Qarva FastSwitch, which facilitates a rapid TV channel change time (0.2 seconds) and packet loss recovery technologies. The Qarva aQua Video Server, meanwhile, utilises real-time indexing to ensure a “fast, smooth, instant rewind” from live TV.
Like most companies active in the world of OTT content delivery, Qarva is also monitoring the rise of 5G networks with some interest. Mikeladze agrees that it has huge potential as the successor to 4G, “for which the bandwidth was often not sufficient, especially in very densely populated areas. 5G does give you increased bandwidth, but it is also necessary to put in place the video infrastructure and solutions required to deliver high quality end-video.”
Qarva puts 5G in the context of a discussion about Edge computing and the ability to “position the servers delivering the content closer to the subscribers in order to minimise the round trip time from the subscriber to the server. This means that it is not only possible to reduce the reaction time – you can also improve the connection in terms of streaming bandwidth. So that is why there is so much activity going on to put servers closer to the edge to support 5G streaming.”
However, the architecture of MultiPipe is such that good standards of content delivery can be retained while utilising more distant servers, says Mikeladze: “With our technology you do have the opportunity to stream from far-away servers but in high quality with a significant bit-rate.”
Meanwhile, Qarva is continuing to develop its platform with a view to supporting emerging technologies such as VR and 8K. With VR, he says, “you are going to be needing a very large-bit rate if it’s going to be of good quality. The same can be said of holographic delivery, which could also be a trend in the future.”
It is clear that he thinks 8K will ultimately achieve some traction – after all, “there are already plenty of 8K videos on sites such as YouTube”. But it will take the mass availability of suitable “Set Top Boxes and 1Gb/s connectivity in order to transport video in 8K. And, of course, it’s accurate to say that there still aren’t that many services in 4K, let alone 8K.”
As with many other firms in this technology space, Qarva has been relatively unaffected by Covid-19, with the majority of its 100-strong staff able to work effectively from home. “We are a relatively small team and do not have problems working remotely. Not being a manufacturer of physical things is helpful [in that regard], as it is for the bulk of our clients, many of who are telcos,” says Mikeladze.
Consequently, the company has been able to continue its planned R&D, which is expected to result in a new software solution geared towards “high-bandwidth video communication” in 2021. Mikeladze concludes: “The pandemic has underlined the importance of high quality video delivery, and that’s something for which our products are ideally suited.”
For more information on Qarva products and projects, please visit www.qarva.com.