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Transforming an offline process into a digital product

Project Duration

Makeen Technologies was able to deliver MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to our customer in just three months.

  • Commencement: Mid 2017
  • Development ready: Early 2018
  • Production: Mid 2019

The Challenge

Makeen Technologies was engaged by our customer, one of the world’s top media and entertainment companies, to assist with digitizing a critical internal process: the viewing and reviewing of video content. The existing system was archaic with many pain points; for company executives and key team members to access and view video content they would be provided with hard copy DVDs which presented a number of challenges – including:

  • The significant expense involved with producing DVDs and the cost of distribution to employees both in the US and overseas.
  • DVD storage restrictions – limiting how much video content could be featured on each.
  • Timeframes and lack of control over the distribution of DVDs, with reliance on slow delivery services.
  • Lack of control over unauthorised distribution of confidential and sensitive video content.
  • Inability for our customer’s executives and employees to efficiently and effectively communicate feedback.

With a strong desire to modernize their existing process and thus improve commercial operations our customer, recognising Makeen’s world-class reputation and considerable experience in the development of innovative and transformative digital applications, approached our team for a solution.

The Solution

Led by Director of Engineering, Dan Ochiana, Makeen Technologies was entrusted to oversee the technical development of an application that would meet our customer’s brief. Our key priorities were to develop a highly-secure product with encryption at a streaming level, based on Digital Rights Management (DRM) – a new standard in the field of encrypted content wall streaming which was still in its infancy – and a product that allows for streaming and interactivity across multiple formats and devices. There were also many components to the product itself, with a number of features and complex functionality identified that would not only digitise the existing process but accelerate it to a level that would significantly transform our customer’s operations.

As part of the project’s scope Makeen identified a number of key development requirements:

  • Technology must be able to support streaming and download of content across multiple clients including web, desktop, Android, iOS, Apple TV and Roku.
  • Secure, offline playback to allow our customer’s executives to view content while flying.
  • A multi-tenant web admin client to enable our customer to assign different levels of access and editing rights and limit the number of streaming accounts.
  • Video player to be compliant across multiple browsers including Chrome, Safari and Firefox.

In addition the product needed to be DRM compliant, adding a level of complexity as it was a brand new standard and still undergoing testing at that time.

The final product – Netflux* – was developed with the following technical features and functionality in place:

  • Programmed in Javascript: Full Stack; React Native for mobile clients and Apple TV; Electron for Windows and Mac desktops.
  • Filtering options allowing our customer’s staff to watch content grouped by genre and collections.
  • Ability for our customer’s staff to:
    • Watch a video and mark favourites
    • Write comments while viewing content
    • Draw comments – for example, a viewer can pause a video and use editing tools to draw a circle around specific content, generating a tag for others to see and go straight to
    • Make comments and ‘chat’ with colleagues
    • Initiate content watermarking (which can’t be removed) – depending on an individual’s level of access
  • Access limit – no more than two devices owned by an employee can access Netflux at once (minimising unauthorised sharing of content).
  • Download functionality for offline viewing (mobile or desktop).

Makeen’s internal backend framework – developed by our team – was also utilised to our customer’s project. This was provided in two ways:

  1. With all content streaming to the clients from Microsoft Azure, we became the ‘middleman’ and subsequently managed access to our customer’s content. This was a significant undertaking given the plethora of clients, including Apple TV, and the amount of differences between each application.
  2. To support the node.js Express web application framework, critical in ensuring rapid development flow.  

Technologies Used

  • Makeen Framework
  • Node.js Express
  • Full Stack Javascript
  • Full Stack React Native (for mobile and Apple TV)
  • Electron (for Windows and Mac desktops)
  • Microsoft Azure

The Outcome

Working in close collaboration with our customer’s Project Manager and Product Manager, Makeen essentially became part of their workforce over the project’s two-year duration. As key technical advisors, Makeen’s 10-strong team of developers were entrusted to make all related decisions and were granted full support to provide our expert opinions at all times. We also liaised regularly with Google and Apple to mitigate any DRM issues as they arose. 

The outcome of the Netflux project was a great success. The feedback we received was 100% positive, and as a result Makeen Technologies is supporting our customer with the creation of a number of additional technical projects.

Key Benefits

From our customer’s perspective, Netflux has been a game-changer for their operations and is used by their team on a daily basis. The efficiencies achieved have been significant.

*Product name has been changed to protect the confidentiality of our customer.

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