Video streaming from IoT devices

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As I mentioned back in February I've been working on a custom video streaming solution for one of my clients. This has been a lot of fun. It was a nicely defined spec using industry standard protocols developed on a fixed price basis with lots of TDD, what's not to like.

The system allows a controlling application to set up RTSP streams for broadcasting to multiple clients. The data for the stream is being transmitted live from one of thousands of smart (IoT) devices and the server buffers this and broadcasts it using RTSP to publish the RTP streams. The controller can also get the server to record these live streams to disk and play them back via an RTSP stream at a later date.

All of the streams are dynamic and the controlling app is responsible for making sure that the IoT devices know where to send their raw video feeds and also for communicating the RTSP urls that can be used to access the streams.

Although this system was written using our new Streaming Media Option Pack there was a lot of scope for new code to be written. Up until this point the option pack revolved around playing pre-recorded data from files. Broadcasting and recording live video required a bit more thought.

This system allows for thousands of concurrent streams and allows multiple users to view what otherwise would be a single raw H264 stream from the IoT device. The device can stay reasonably simple and the server system can add the complexity required for broadcasting and conforming with the required specs.

To enable development without needing access to the custom hardware that's under development I put together a simple app which chops up a video file and sends it in the format that the IoT devices will use, this massively simplified testing. Given the amount of TDD that was being done on the actual code the integration testing with the mock IoT device was pretty painless but it made it possible to test the server under load and also allowed for a simple demo system to be put together.

I'd forgotten quite how much I enjoy these 'perfect' development projects where the customer knows what they want and can communicate it clearly, the schedule is sensible, the challenge is taxing but not impossible and the price is right. Throw in the comfort of being able to 'waste' as much time as I like with TDD and the end result is a project which actually ends up being quite a calming and meditative experience.

And now back to the real world...

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