Media and entertainment companies rely on a large and complex ecosystem of back-end vendors to help deliver multiscreen video to their fans and subscribers. Each of these vendors’ systems has its own set of shifting application programming interfaces (APIs) that are increasingly difficult for media companies to track and troubleshoot. Today, Wicket Labs, www.wicketlabs.com, launched the Wicket Scorecard to address these growing API challenges facing the premium video industry.
Specifically, Wicket Labs creates a digital map of mission-critical APIs. Each API map is called a Wicket. A customized collection of Wickets are then available in the Wicket Scorecard, which automatically identifies API changes and client impacting errors or outages in order to facilitate faster resolutions between media companies and their vendors.
“TV broadcasters, cable networks, pay TV operators and other content providers face a common blind spot when it comes to the APIs of their suppliers,” said Marty Roberts, co-founder and CEO of Wicket Labs. “These third-party APIs are a common cause of outages and other service-related problems for their websites and apps. Staying on top of all of the API changes of their vendors is difficult and labor intensive for media a company – which is where we come in. Wicket Labs automatically tracks and monitors mission-critical APIs to improve the consumer’s experience.”
Proactive Problem Solving with Wickets
Unfortunately, consumer complaints are often the first indication of a problem that can eventually be traced to an API. Identifying and resolving these issues can be both timely and costly. Wickets were specifically created to reduce the operational downtime of cloud-dependent systems, apps and sites. Wickets mirror and mimic inquiries into the API on a predetermined frequency, and are managed outside of the production traffic between clients and the API themselves. The Wicket Scorecard uses an intuitive web and mobile user interface (UI) and alerts business owners to the status of their Wickets based on three general categories:
- Good Wickets showcase a vendor’s API history and performance over time. This includes data such as the number of times the API has entered a problem state, a notable change has occurred, and historic API stability.
- Notable Wickets explain changes to an API that is not expected to cause an immediate or meaningful impact to the user experience. This could be a performance improvement, an API schema change that does not impact clients, or a slight performance slowdown that is relatively imperceptible.
- Problem Wickets detail the issue and changes impacting the consumer experience and are presented for a timely escalation to the vendor. Support information for each vendor, including their escalation contact, is listed for immediate action. Problems typically include: outages, based on timeouts, 500 or 503 errors; “brown outs,” which can be from an intermittent data error or a slow response time that is outside of the normal distribution; or unacceptable responses in a data field that in some way that breaks the client experience.
Since media companies typically rely on multiple APIs from each of their vendors, they will also have multiple Wickets per vendor. The first three wickets are available in a “Friendly” level free account, tiered pricing starts after that, allowing customers to easily add additional wickets.
Experienced Leadership Team
Wicket Labs was co-founded by a group of veteran, Seattle-based technology leaders including, Marty Roberts, Eric Knutson and Larry Hitchon.
Marty Roberts is CEO of Wicket Labs. He most recently served as co-CEO of thePlatform, a subsidiary of Comcast, and a leading video management company for major media and entertainment companies. Mr. Roberts spent nine years at thePlatform, in various roles of increasing responsibility, including Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. He also previously held marketing and product roles at Giftcertificates.com and RealNetworks.
Eric Knutson is Wicket Labs’ Vice President of Products. Mr. Knutson previously served as Senior Director for Operations at digital music pioneer, Rhapsody. Prior to Rhapsody, he was a Principal at North Highland and Sr. Associate at Point B and served as General Manager of RealNetworks’ Games division.
Larry Hitchon is Wicket Labs’ Vice President of Software Development. Mr. Hitchon has over 25 years of software development experience, which includes five years at Amazon as the principal developer for the company’s warehouse software. More recently, he spent his time working for startups including Front Desk, AppFog, The Top Agent Network, and others, as well as major entertainment companies such as The Walt Disney Company.
Wicket Labs is currently self-funded, and expects to conduct its Series A round of financing sometime in 2017. Additional information can be found at www.wicketlabs.com