“Video is the great equalizer for corporate network administrators. It really exposes flaws—even flaws you didn’t know you had—in your corporate network.” Steve Vonder Haar, Senior Analyst at Wainhouse Research
Your company just reported year-end 2019 results, and your CEO wants to host an all-hands webcast. The CEO’s objectives of the meeting are simple. Celebrate the company’s success, and set a clear strategy for the new year.
It’s the most important webcast of the year—and everyone will want to watch.
As a result, you and your colleagues are investing countless hours to produce a flawless meeting. You’ve even tapped into a few new features on your streaming video platform.
Rehearsals went off without a hitch, the presentation is loaded, and everything is set. It’s go time.
As you monitor how many people are watching, you notice something isn’t quite right. You’ve got 55,000 employees in eight offices around the globe, but the number of attendees is fluctuating quite a bit. Sure, people always join late and leave early, but you’re about 12 minutes in. Numbers should be strong.
All of a sudden, you get a flood of helpdesk tickets, emails and IMs. People are having problems watching the video stream. Some are complaining about buffering and jitter, while others say they can’t join the webcast at all.
You panic. What is going wrong? You and your colleagues did everything possible to make sure this webcast was perfect.
QoE is King
Before we dive into the possible root cause, let’s talk about quality of experience (QoE).
At one time, a little latency or jitter didn’t bother anyone. Streaming video in the workplace was a novelty. But that’s changed. We’re using video inside the enterprise for everything from live webcasts and employee training, to executive video messages and digital signage.
“Good enough” video is no longer good enough. Most of us are watching streaming video multiple times a day outside of work without issue. As a result, we expect the same high-quality experience at work.
What’s even more interesting is the more people watch business-related videos at work, they expect higher-quality videos. In fact, 71% of people reporting daily viewership of online business video report that they place “significant emphasis” on broadcast quality when evaluating the success of an organization’s streaming video. Among those using online video at work less than monthly, only 32% say they place a “significant emphasis” on broadcast quality.1
It’s safe to assume people expect high-quality video all the time, especially if they use video a lot. As a result, you need to determine how to create the experience your viewers expect.
The Problem: Your Network
Let’s jump to what might have happened when QoE became an issue and people dropped from your webcast.
Since it takes about 2 Mbps* to transmit video, you’ll need at least 110 Gbps of bandwidth to deliver video to your 55,000 employees. Without a doubt, 110 Gbps of data will have a massive impact on your network. You need a ton of bandwidth!
And what about the rest of your enterprise? You might see other types of helpdesk tickets as well.
Here’s why. When you try to squeeze as much as possible out of the Internet connection, it’ll choke. Your business-critical applications could freeze or fail. The result? People won’t be able to join the meeting, including your CFO who’s watching from your Singapore office. Point of sale systems may stop working. Accounting systems slow down. Work becomes frustrating for everyone.
If you don’t figure this out, you might get one of those emails from the CEO. You know, where he/she asks you why people couldn’t the join meeting and why “business” came to a halt.
No one wants to have their perfectly planned webcast become an epic fail.
The Solution: An eCDN
It’s unrealistic to think your network is ready to handle the flood of data that comes with streaming video. Here’s the good news. An enterprise content delivery network (eCDN) can save your network from bandwidth-intensive video. (If you’re already using an eCDN, bravo!)
An eCDN intelligently routes video traffic to optimize your network without sacrificing user experience. The most common eCDNs are multicast, video caching and peer-to-peer networking.
Not sure what approach will work for you? Get a high-level overview about the different types of eCDNs in our blog titled Streaming Video and Your Network. Then, take a deeper dive by accessing these resources:
Bottom line, an eCDN relieves the strain from the bandwidth choke points, like the Internet connection. It helps you protect your business-critical applications, operations and create a high-quality viewer experience.
Getting Down to the Nitty Gritty Details
Another benefit of an eCDN is it can give you clues into what’s happening on your network.
“Video is the great equalizer for corporate network administrators. It really exposes flaws—even flaws you didn’t know you had—in your corporate network,” said Steve Vonder Haar, Senior Analyst at Wainhouse Research. “And so video network monitoring becomes an important element of the whole streaming video toolbox.”
CIOs agree. Fifty-seven percent of CIOs surveyed by Wainhouse Research in the third quarter of 2019 describe the ability to “monitor video performance to troubleshoot network problems” as a “very important” influence on the streaming technology purchase decision.1
Most eCDN solutions come equipped with some form of reporting and analytics capabilities. Most will give you information you need to:
- Troubleshoot network problems. See exactly what’s happening your network and how it’s impacting QoE. For example, if people in a certain location have problems accessing the video, you can drill down to see what’s contributing to poor performance. Is it the device? Is it a network connection?
- Measure your success. Report and share data important to your internal customers and the IT team. Whether it’s knowing how many people watched a specific video, how long they watched it or where they’re located, you can make comparisons and assumptions about each video. Likewise, you can compare network performance metrics from one event or video to another.
- Prove ROI. How you prove ROI is ultimately up to you. Whether you’re comparing the investment of your eCDN to what it would cost to add more bandwidth or comparing video delivery before and after your eCDN, you can demonstrate ROI if you have the right data.
In the end, your videos have zero value if people can’t watch them. But with the right video networking solution, you gain the insights you need to improve network performance and QoE.
You have the ultimate ability to turn weaknesses into strengths.
With Ramp, you get a comprehensive view of your eCDN environment to see how video is impacting network performance. You can monitor events in real-time or perform post-event analysis to examine attendance, network performance, and measure return on investment (ROI).
With robust reporting and analytics capabilities, you gain insight into every aspect of your streaming video environment. Ramp allows you to view your video network as a whole or get specific, down to the minute, location or device.
- Monitor: Get a minute-by-minute view of KPIs such as network impact, number/locations of viewers, and QoE.
- Identify: Quickly assess the health of the network and identify areas of concern. Your dashboard allows you to quickly see changes in performance. Double click to analyze performance by location—all the way down to the individual device.
- Analyze: View and analyze data for individual videos or as an aggregate over periods of time. You can also use the timeline to analyze statistics at specific moments in time.
Network knowledge is power. The more you know about what’s happening in your network, the more you can address problems before you have them.
Strategies for Streaming Success
With streaming video on the rise in the enterprise, you need a solid strategy. Learn about the five “Enterprise Video Truths” highlighted in this report. It’s a basic roadmap of issues that can—and should—be addressed when evaluating your video technology options.
* The size of video data varies, but for this example, we are assuming one video stream is equal to 2 Mbps.