The consumer media market isn’t the only one transforming to meet the staggering demand for streaming video online. It may be the age of Netflix and Hulu, but today most businesses too are similarly working through the complexities of a digital transformation in the way both executives and employees share critical business information.
Information that was once shared through basic text documents, PowerPoints, or emails is now being shared through video.
“Asynchronous video streaming,” or one-to-many online video, continues to gain popularity as a tool for effective communications. Enterprise businesses are rapidly adopting this type of video technology in addition to their existing “synchronous video” unified communications (UC) solutions. More and more organizations are using streaming video to expand the reach of employee training sessions, making all-hands employee town hall meetings available online, and even for enabling employees to share best practices with each other at scale.
As a result, organizations are seeing explosive growth in video streaming on their networks — and more and more IT leaders are seeking out streaming solutions that will enable their companies to securely stream video at scale without compromising the performance of their other mission-critical technologies.
Wainhouse Research (WR), an independent analyst firm that focuses on critical issues in the unified communications and collaboration market, recently published survey results that showed four out of five business leaders say that their organizations are now using asynchronous video streaming technologies for business communications.
Moreover, those businesses that are using streaming video are streaming a ton of recorded content on their networks — last year, the percentage of respondents reporting that their organizations had set up 100 or more one-to-many video streaming events over the course of the preceding twelve months was nearly double what it was just two years prior.
According to the recent WR survey, more than 80% of organizations that are frequently streaming video say that they agree video streaming is a threat to the health of their internal computing networks. And, unsurprisingly, more than two-thirds say that, when evaluating a streaming video investment, the capability to distribute video without harming the corporate network is very important.
So how do businesses make it easy to reliably stream corporate videos from anywhere, keep video streams secure, and not compromise the network?
With a video platform built for streaming video at scale.
CIOs know all too well that optimizing the flow of critical business data through company networks is a complex issue, and while optimizing those networks to safely support streaming video is a pressing concern, the good news is that a video platform built on modern streaming protocols can deliver high-definition video content over existing network infrastructures, making expensive WANop investments unnecessary.
Of course, not all video streaming solutions work the same way. And while there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for deploying video streaming, a video platform that includes flexible integration options can help any business optimize video streaming on its existing network infrastructure — as easily as possible. Think if it as a private YouTube for your business.
CIOs considering technologies to support expanded adoption of streaming video within their organizations are looking for enterprise video streaming services that rely less on opening up bandwidth and more on intelligent streaming that won’t cause bandwidth crunch. Here are six capabilities to look for in a video streaming solution that will allow you to scale video streaming on your network without compromising its performance:
1. Delivers Video Content via HTTP-Based Streaming
Organizations that adopt a video platform whose infrastructure uses modern HTTP-based streaming ultimately stand to benefit from reduced costs, easier management, improved scalability, and an optimized viewing experience for all users. HTTP-based live streaming (HLS) delivers video more efficiently across networks while reducing the need for complex solutions like overlay networks, custom protocols or specialized servers. For both live and on-demand video, HTTP-based streaming gives you faster video startup times, reduced buffering, unmatched scalability, and higher-quality playback on any device for both internal and external audiences.
2. Includes WANop Integration
If your company has already invested in a WAN optimization solution like Riverbed, Blue Coat, Silver Peak, Cisco, or Citrix that supports HTTP caching, a video platform can enable the efficient streaming of live and on-demand video by integrating with your existing WANop infrastructure. Through the use of stateless, chunked video delivery, protocols like HLS and DASH integrate with native functionality in leading WANop solutions, providing an improved video playback experience while maximizing network throughput.
3. Works With ECDNs, If You Need One
Whereas an enterprise content delivery network (ECDN) used to be virtually mandatory for streaming video in the early 2000’s, the advent of HTTP-based “modern” streaming has made video less of a challenge for most networks.
Today, there are two types of ECDNs: the lightweight caching proxies that many organizations already use for accelerating all of their other network traffic, and the heavyweight, expensive, ECDNs that create overlay networks for RTMP and other connection-oriented video streaming protocols. If your company is already using a lightweight caching proxy, an HTTP-based streaming platform will work with your existing solution. If you need a lightweight ECDN, look for a streaming service that provides one to customers at no extra cost.
Today, most of the heavier, expensive ECDN options are sold as add-ons by streaming vendors that still rely on legacy streaming technologies. If a vendor asserts that an ECDN is essential to quality streaming, it’s a good idea to ask why. Not only are these older-style ECDNs unnecessary to deliver video via HTTP-based streaming, but they add unnecessary expense and management overhead as IT admins effectively have to manage two networks with this approach.
4. Supports RTMP Ingestion
RTMP remains one of the most popular protocols for converting video feeds from cameras or other devices into media formats suitable for live streaming. A video platform that supports RTMP ingestion enables you to connect your RTMP encoders to broadcast corporate events live to thousands of simultaneous viewers. Support for legacy streaming protocols like RTMP gives you added flexibility to enable live streaming at scale for your organization without requiring substantial investments in upgrades.
5. Integrates with Other Video Communications Technologies
In a perfect world, an organization would deploy a single video solution that would serve all their online video communications needs. The reality is that different solutions often meet a diverse set of communications objectives. Video conferencing solutions and video streaming platforms are structurally different categories of tools, with different use cases and objectives. Video conferencing tools like Zoom and Skype support synchronous video for real-time one-to-one (or one-to-few) conversations, while asynchronous video platforms like Panopto are designed for hosting, sharing, and streaming live or on-demand video to potentially thousands of viewers. Ensuring your video streaming solutions integrate reduces complexity and chaos for your IT teams while still supporting a variety of video communications uses throughout the company.
6. Keeps Private Video Streams Secure
While there may be some video content that your business wants to share publicly, live or on-demand video with sensitive business information, such as employee training videos, financial reports, or process documentation, needs to be secured. Depending on your security requirements, you may need a video streaming solution that not only offers you the ability to manage access to video content but also has options for cloud and on-premises deployment. A video platform that offers both on-premises and cloud hosting options will give organizations that require the highest level of security flexible deployment options. And streaming solutions that integrate with your Single Sign-On (SSO) identity management system make it easier to manage access at scale.
Your company’s network performance is critical to business operations, as is the flow of informational video content. By deploying a video platform that ensures video content can be delivered securely, without lags, to anyone, anywhere, at any time — without compromising your network — you’re taking the right steps to support digital transformations happening within your organization today, and in the future.
In our white paper, Modern Video Streaming in the Enterprise: Protocols, Caching, and WAN Optimization, we give you a deeper look into the technical shifts driving the move toward modern streaming, including the seven characteristics that make a video streaming protocol modern.
We also look that the new opportunities modern streaming presents for organizations to use existing network infrastructure for more scalable, cost-effective video delivery.
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