From Periscope to Facebook Live, to YouTube to Twitch, the last 24 months have seen a drastic uptake in the number of consumers using live streaming video to communicate and interact with their favourite content.
As is so often the case, once employees and consumers start to use a certain technology within their personal lives, it’s not long before they’re demanding it in a professional capacity as well.
Already, research by Kollective suggests that many large-scale, international organisations are ditching the company newsletter and group email and choosing instead to communicate major announcements via direct webcasts from the board. While such direct communication has a number of advantages, for many businesses the notion of communicating with up to 10,000 or more of staff in high definition, simultaneously, can pose a significant network challenge.
With this in mind, it’s hard to imagine how everyday businesses can possibly provide the same quality video delivery that employees have come to expect within their personal lives. Yet there are several ways that enterprises can start to emulate these experiences, without having to spend a fortune tearing out their existing network infrastructure.
Here are four steps to get started on running seamless enterprise video streams:
1. Think about every device
In today’s multi-device environment, businesses must work harder than ever before to ensure that their content is accessible on all end-user devices. In the same way that corporate marketing departments consider how their websites render on different screen sizes and mobile browser types, internal communicators must work with their IT departments to ensure video can be viewed by all possible user devices on the network.
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This not only requires consideration for specific device types, but also an understanding of how and where each device is connected.
2. Run a network readiness test
Imagine a scenario with 30 seconds to go before your all-hands meeting. The company’s CEO is about to step in front of a camera for their first live video broadcast to more than 20,000 employees, and nobody knows if it’s even going to work. It is nightmare scenarios such as this that have encouraged many large enterprises to avoid live video as a communications channel.
But these concerns can be overcome simply by running the right tests and implementing a deployment strategy in advance. By running a network readiness test, IT leaders can safely test their company’s network with as many as 50,000 simultaneous, live connections to employee devices, effectively running a sample of the live stream behind the scenes.
These types of test can generate very powerful analytics that will provide invaluable insights, for example where users suffered buffering, to allow the validation of correct configuration of the network. The streaming experience can then be optimised for every employee for when the CEO actually takes to the ‘stage’.
3. Focus on content, not on cost
The key to a successful broadcast is providing both quality content and a seamless streaming experience to view it. For businesses, this can be seen as a potential expense, with many IT leaders feeling that they will need to drastically overhaul their network infrastructure to support such high-quality output.
In reality, the need to invest so heavily in video distribution is today little more than a myth. By taking a software-defined approach to video delivery, businesses can tailor their video streams to guarantee quality – even if that stream is being delivered over a legacy network. This means that organisations don’t need to completely tear out or rethink their network infrastructure in order to broadcast internationally en masse.
Instead of focusing on the potential costs, this frees businesses up to focus on the potential benefits – greater employee engagement, improved internal communication, and a higher level of trust for corporate messages from senior members of staff.
4. Make sure it’s measurable
One of the biggest errors made by enterprises when running large-scale live video events is failing to learn from the mistakes of previous streams. Rather than simply launching and hoping for the best, businesses should look to measure the success of their streams – both in terms of the quality of the distribution and how effectively an organisation’s message was put across.
Network analytics software can prove vital in assessing how many people engaged with an event (for example, who joined and how long they viewed for) and the quality of their experiences, plus give insight into historic trends across previous live streams.
These analytics not only help businesses to understand how successful a particular live stream is, but also provide valuable insights into how they can improve the quality of their output going forward.
Enterprise video is rapidly becoming the go-to technology of choice for both employees and employers around the world. By providing a forum for more direct, visual and open communication, today’s businesses can start to bridge the divide between senior management teams and their staff.
In order to make this new communications approach a success, however, business leaders must ensure that they are equipped for the task. Enterprise video does not need to break the bank, but what it must do is provide a seamless, measurable, and, ultimately, high-quality experience for employees in any location – regardless of their organisation’s network or communications infrastructure.
Sourced by Todd Johnson, president, Kollective
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