With first round games already in the books, March Madness and the NCAA College Basketball Championship Tournament are officially underway. This Thursday and Friday mark the traditional high point, with 32 games packed into just 48 hours.
Of course, tourney season no longer comes as a surprise to those in offices around the world. The event sweeps up fans and non-fans alike, resulting in untold thousands of unofficial office bracket contests and watch parties. Estimates suggest that fully 56% of Americans expect to spend at least 1 hour of their next two workdays on March Madness-related activities.
Yet while office brackets have been a seasonal standard for a decade or two now, another new tournament trend is on the uptick — and this one’s creating serious headaches for organizations large and small.
Whereas once office workers had to depend on box scores to follow the midday action, today live streaming video of each game is readily available online — and more and more, people are giving in to temptation and watching from work. Last year the first few days of the tournament alone saw 51 million video streams launched — a record number with no signs of slowing down for the future.
In a world where video use continues to grow at home, at work, and everywhere else, the NCAA Tournament amounts to an outside forced test on how an organization handles live streaming video — and, an opportunity to learn how your organization can do a better job live streaming your own recordings.
The NCAA tourney creates two unique tests for how an organization handles video.
First, if you’re in IT, March Madness amounts to a stress test on your network. What happens when 10, 20, or even 50 percent of your employees brings up a live video feed on their second monitor? Can your network manage the bandwidth demands, or does serving that much data threaten to overwhelm mission-critical operations?
It also raises important considerations for how you need to manage your own video. The tournament, of course, will be over (or at least on after office hours) in just a day or two. But what will your data usage now tell you about your ability to support live video streams from your next employee town hall meeting, or training conference, or quarterly results announcements, when 70, 80, or even 90 percent of your employees will be watching?
And second, if someone you know is streaming the tournament at work (not you, of course), that in itself is another test. What’s the viewing experience like? Is the picture clear or fuzzy? Is the feed reliable, or is it constantly buffering? Can your colleague watch from anywhere — moving from laptop to smartphone with ease — or are they limited to a single player, browser, or machine?
Those questions too are valuable considerations for companies — and questions with real consequences for supporting employee use and engagement when the content is more essential materials like compliance training, strategy updates, or technical demonstrations. The rising prevalence of video means most people now have real expectations for playback quality — if your own live streams don’t live up to those standards, you may find your team won’t tune in.
After a decade of the NCAA taking over business networks in March, it’s clear there isn’t much an organization can do about forbidding employees to watch.
It’s also clear that video really is a valued medium for exchanging information — employees could, after all, just check the box scores on their favorite new site or follow along with the commentary on Twitter. Video makes that same basic information far more engaging.
Most importantly, it’s clear that for the other 363 days of the year — when the video in question is your own organizational recordings — you want to learn from the test you get every March and provide your audience with the best live streaming experience when it matters most.
How Panopto makes streaming live video over the web simple, flexible, and reliable
You want a video platform that takes care of the network while streaming live video, with optimized content delivery that manages for bandwidth and bit rate and ensures your video can be viewed at its best by everyone, anywhere — without overloading your systems, no matter how many people are watching.
You want a viewing experience that’s flexible — so anyone can watch follow along live via any web browser or iOS device.
And for those who can’t catch the live stream, you also want to make replay a snap by automatically saving your recordings to a secure, scalable video library and indexing every word spoken or that appears on-screen so every member of your team can go back and watch that one shining moment they need to see.
It’s not necessarily an easy victory. Even businesses like Apple have found out just how difficult delivering live video at scale can be. But with a platform like Panopto, where support for simple live streaming is built in to every step — from recording to managing to viewing — providing reliable, flexible, scalable live video can be a slam dunk.
Tourney tip off may be a test for how your organization handles video — but your business video shouldn’t be. To see how Panopto makes it easy to support your organization’s video — live and on-demand — contact our team for a demo or sign up for a free 30-day trial today.