In an exclusive interaction with MediaBrief, Tariq Wali, Chief Technology Officer at Chingari, speaks about the tech innovations that Chingari is leveraging and how it is enriching the creator experience. He outlines how tech enhancements are enhancing the content consumption pattern of audiences and outlines Chingari’s invention roadmap for 2022.
Give an overview of the Chingari. How is it different from other UGC platforms?
Chingari is a decentralized social network operating on Solana with blockchain economic design to fuel creator economy through GARI.
Our Content served as HLS ABR (Adaptive Bitrate Streaming) to overcome ISP varying network congestion differentiates us from other UGC platforms in tech. Most of the other UGC platforms use primitive mp4 container format to stream content and that’s not adaptive to network conditions, especially in our country.
We use the latest codec standard H.265 that guarantees better compression for the same resultant bit rates and enhanced video quality as perceived by the human eye on mobile devices.
Content engineering – automation and intelligence:
Our team is working extensively on testing and evolving various AI, ML models to serve the most appropriate content to users tailored to their preferences. We are taking a holistic view of content, users, and creators, unlike other short video apps, and building a comprehensive end-to-end workflow that solves for the enrichment of metadata, content moderation, as well as a recommendation from video upload to video delivery in real-time.
Tell us about your role at Chingari House? What is the expertise you bring to the table at Chingari?
There is not a silver bullet to build and run a successful startup. A start-up is anything but its products that don’t just work but delight its users. Tech is an enabler to solve user/business problems. Most of my time goes into what I call building the organization and that’s a combination of people, process, product, and technology.
I come from a systems/software/video engineering background having seen scale and disruption in technology enabling startups early on – my engagement could be anything from providing direction to engineering and product to solve complex problems, design and architecture to any trivial issue that impacts Chingari user and ensure we have right instrumentation towards the reliability of our products.
That said, I lead data, backend, AIML, DevOps/SRE, product as lead/ manager/ comrade ensuring all our investments are protected and set the vision and build towards our two-year roadmap.
What is the level of Tech that is at play at Chingari? What are the tech-based additions that elevate the Chingari experience?
GARI Wallet: Chingari’s DApp (wallet) is built on Solana blockchain using state-of-the-art frontend and blockchain backend. Wallet as of today is a companion app within the Chingari platform that supports real-world social utility use cases such as tipping creators and boosting profiles. Phase two of this will be a non-custodial native wallet.
Video Quality and Performance in urban and rural areas: Migrating from MP4 to HLS to deliver improved video watching experience and also moving from H.264 to H.65 for better compression efficiency and video quality under carrying network conditions.
Scale: Chingari is moving from one CDN provider to a dynamic multi CDN approach to circumvent last-mile latency and delay. We want to deliver content to users from the nearest edge location where the content resides closest to them.
Databases: Migrating databases from standalone servers to MongoDB Atlas for improved reliability, backups, throughput, and analytics.
ESP: Chingari is building its own real-time event streaming platform for real-time analytics/ dashboards, business, and marketing insight. The platform will also enable us to measure video experience under varying network conditions and work towards improving QoE and QoS, ultimately leading to better engagement and retention. With massive amounts of data through ESP – we want to personalize the experience for each user and empower creators from real-time insight.
Content engineering – automation and intelligence: The team is working extensively on testing and evolving various AI ML models (recommendation engine) to serve the most appropriate content to users tailored to their preferences. We are taking a holistic view of content, users, and creators unlike other short video apps, and building a comprehensive end-to-end workflow that solves for the enrichment of metadata, content moderation, and recommendation from video upload to video delivery in real-time as possible.
Search and content discovery: The search pattern in UGC is erratic – we are revamping search ( explore section ) to show the most trending/viral content to the user and improve the effectiveness of search through ML and NLP algorithms. This should improve our engagement.
Player: The overall user experience on Chingari is deeply tied to video experience (play high-quality video flawlessly) and we are optimizing Android ExoPlayer and iOS AVFoundation core layers to deliver the best video watching experience.
Creator economy in Web3 way: Evolving our systems and processes to operate in a decentralized way for the community with blockchain economic design to reward users and creators.
Camera Tech to empower creators and influencers to create content seamlessly.
How has technology advanced over the years? How are these advancements enhancing the content consumption pattern of audiences?
Technology has advanced in major sectors over the past 20 years, including media and content businesses. There were far fewer mobile and data users 10 years ago compared to 467.0 million social media users in India alone in January 2022. The video traffic is estimated to be 85% of the total internet traffic in 2022.
Social media has exploited users consuming all kinds of content streaming from short video to live streaming from anywhere in the country at the launch of the app. We have overcome bandwidth issues, now people can stream live using ultra-low latency protocols such as WebRTC, CMAF, and HLS. There has been a surge in consuming content not only on mobile, desktop but connected TVs as well.
With the advancement of newer streaming protocols, there will be a greater focus on stabilizing them in production at scale to achieve better video quality. India also has the second-largest number of internet users in the world at 550Mn.