Building decentralized video conferencing catered towards education: an introduction to Huddle 01

community Feb 16, 2021

At Textile, we are excited about the promising advances of video on Web3. We see many new companies entering the space tackling many timely and important use-cases that combine streaming or on-demand video with, say, IPFS or Filecoin. Below is an interview with one such company, Huddle01. Huddle 01 is creating a video conferencing platform tailor-made for classrooms, many of which struggle to adapt to the new normal of remote everything. Read more below.

There has been a tectonic shift in how human beings communicate. Covid-19 accelerated the change, and now it is likely here to stay. Video conferences are now an integral part of our life. Be it remote work or remote learning, early 2020 saw a surge in various existing video conferencing solutions. Though it also showed gaping holes in current centralized video conferencing solutions, which includes:

  • Latency & low-streaming quality
  • High storage costings
  • Made for generic use cases

What is the Huddle 01?

Huddle 01 is a video conferencing platform built using blockchain and web3 technology. Currently, we are catered towards the educational technology sector and aspire to democratize access to e-learning. There are tons of video conferencing solutions available, but the features are generic in nature and don't cater to the educational needs of students and teachers.

How did you get interested in Filecoin?

We were following Filecoin since their ICO and are firm believers in their ideology of decentralized web. We were already exploring their other open-source projects like IPFS, IPLD, MFS, Libp2p, and Content Addressing. While building our video conferencing solution -- Huddle 01 at EthGlobal Hackathon, we realized the importance storage would have and hence started deep diving into Filecoin.

What got you interested in Textile?

Huddle 01 was born during EthGlobal HackFS. During the initial sessions, we were introduced to Textile tools.  We soon explored the capability of textile Powergate which enabled us to focus on our primary goal of building a decentralized video conference. It saved lots of our development hours in integrating Filecoin as it abstracts away lots of technicalities. Textile Powergate also smartly manages storage in hot and cold layers, enabling us to provide frictionless storage options to our users. Also, Andrew, Carson, and the whole Textile team were super helpful whenever we faced any issues.

What pain point are you trying to solve?

These are the pain points which Huddle 01 aims to address:

  1. Latency & low-streaming quality: There is no conferencing solution at present that is open, neutral, borderless, and decentralized. Due to centralized infrastructure peers, audio/video UDP packets are routed to centralized servers, which are located at far-off locations leading to a high round trip time of these packets and hence having higher latency, jitter, and packet losses. Huddle 01's protocol comprises community hosted nodes making the latency and streaming quality much better.
  2. High storage costings: Current centralized storage solutions are unsustainable when used at scale. In terms of number: Storage demand is between 540 MB and 1.62 GB per hour for a 1:1 meeting, depending upon the streaming quality. This increases with larger-scale meetings i.e. 810 MB and 2.4 GB per hour. Hence, only 7% of total recordings get stored. Huddle 01 uses Filecoin for storage, which is considerably cheaper than centralized storage options.
  3. Made for specific use cases: Current video conferencing solutions are made for generic use cases, which reflects in the features they possess. Huddle 01 is built specifically for educational purposes, and hence we are coming up with features that focus on collaboration, attendance tracker, and custom white-boarding.

What is your solution?

We are building a real-time collaboration, communication, and engagement platform based on a decentralized model. There will be an Application Layer and a Protocol Layer:

  • The application layer will require no learning curve of web3 technologies, and users can reap the best of the web3 world. Web2 users will find this extremely familiar.
  • Protocol Layer will comprise community-owned and hosted (HomeServers) Huddle 01nodes. Since the nearest huddle node will be allocated to the app session, the conference will have superior performance as round trip time gets reduced considerably. Such a setup also enables huddle01 to be open, neutral, borderless, and decentralized.

Why do you think users might be interested in your project?

Huddle 01 gives users leverage of Web 3 technologies encapsulated as Web 2 tech, which means users will have the best of both worlds. Combination of seamless video quality while conferencing,  supremely economical storage option while recording/storing meeting artifacts, and specific feature sets in the product will make users take an interest in Huddle 01.

What are you planning to work on next?

We are working towards moving our infrastructure from Beta to Release. We are adding more feature sets for the users to have an immersive experience. Adding on, considering our vision to be a fully decentralized video conferencing platform, we would be releasing our whitepaper of Huddle 01's protocol by Q2 of 2021.

Follow Huddle 01's progress, ask questions about the  project using the links below:

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