Keeping Employees Safe
Along with our partners at StriveCast, we are working with enterprises of every size on their “return to the office” strategies, and I want to share a few insights with you.
The biggest challenge most companies are facing is how to bring people back to the office while practicing safe social distancing. Many of our customers are dividing the workforce into groups, where some people work from home and others work from the office. Then, they are rotating between work from home and work from the office on a semi-permanent basis.
Other customers have assigned specific sets of employees to work from home status for the time being, and asked employees they deem more critical to business operations to return to the office. In either case, companies are making exceptions for where people work because their priority is to keep employees healthy.
Regardless of their “return to the office” strategy, our customers have one thing in common: Video communication has escalated to one of the most important business tools—and they’ll continue to use it as employees return to the office
Video Communication at an All-Time High
Current events have completely changed the way enterprises view—and deliver—communications. As a result, employers have pertinent information they need to share with employees, and in turn, employees are demanding more information from their leaders.
In fact, a large global manufacturer told us they have completed more internal webcasts this quarter than they did for all of 2019. Add to that, attendance at each live event is extremely high. They went from an average of 20-30% attendance in 2019 to more than 80% attendance now.
You’re probably experiencing something similar. Beyond choosing a great streaming platform, you need to think about how you will deliver live and on-demand video as employees return to the office.
The failure to do so will result in an undesirable user experience (poor quality video or an inability to watch altogether) and have a detrimental impact on other applications on the corporate network. This is where an enterprise content delivery network (eCDN) becomes a “must-have” not a “nice to have.”
Networking is the foundation for creating the best experience for everyone watching your videos. If you don’t take steps to protect your network, your viewers could experience buffering or delays. Poor quality makes your video frustrating to watch, and the message or training hard to absorb. As a result, you miss the opportunity to reach everyone in your organization.
IT executives recognize the risk video has on their network. According to Wainhouse Research, four out of five IT professionals say that it is “very important” or “somewhat important” to “distribute video without harming the corporate network.”1
Influence of “Distribute Video without Harming Corporate Network” on the streaming technology purchase decision.1
Here’s why. Let’s say you have 55,000 employees currently working in 18 offices around the globe. More than half are working at headquarters or in larger offices, but the rest are dispersed in smaller, branch offices. We estimate it takes about 2 Mbps to transmit video, so you 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.
So how can you protect your network from live and on-demand video? You could buy more bandwidth, or tell people, “No more videos.” But those aren’t great options for solving your problem. Instead, consider deploying an eCDN.
Choosing the Right eCDN
An eCDN adds software or hardware to the network to help manage and optimize the distribution of bandwidth-intensive video. By routing the flow of video traffic with an eCDN, you can improve performance and reduce or eliminate congestion.
Your audience will enjoy less latency and buffering, faster video start times, and an overall better viewing experience.
What kind of eCDN is right for your enterprise depends on a variety of factors, including the network topology, the type of video(s) you stream, budget, and IT policies. The different types of eCDNs are not mutually exclusive and can be deployed in combination with one another.
The three most common eCDN solutions are multicast, video cache and peer-to-peer (P2P) networking.
Multicast solutions distribute a single video stream across the enterprise network to be watched by hundreds or thousands of viewers simultaneously. Because it sends only one video stream across your network, it is the most efficient type of eCDN. Your network must be multicast-enabled to take advantage of this kind of solution.
The benefits of a multicast eCDN include:
- Most efficient eCDN option for live events
- Proven technology, used on networks for decades
- Creates a highly-predictable network
Video caching solutions store and distribute video from strategic locations around the network, typically close to concentrations of viewers near the edge of the enterprise WAN. When the first viewer requests a video, the cache retrieves it from the source and stores a local copy. The cache distributes the video from the cache to other nearby viewers, saving bandwidth and reducing buffering and latency.
The benefits of a video cache eCDN include:
- Single solution for live and VOD
- Supports mobile devices
- Low cost of entry and scales easily
P2P solutions decentralize video distribution by utilizing resources available in connected personal devices already on the network. Peers in the network host and distribute segments of the video to one another to save bandwidth and single requests to the origin server are reduced.
The benefits of a P2P eCDN include:
- Scales based on demand and device availability
- Quick and easy to deploy
- Ideal for locations with limited infrastructure
If you want to learn more about the different types of eCDNs, read our whitepaper Approaches for Deploying an Enterprise Content Delivery Network.
Author: Neal Stanton
Ramp + StriveCast
Ramp is in the business of helping every organization tap into the power of enterprise streaming video. We have traditionally offered multicasting and video caching solutions, and through a strategic partnership with StriveCast, we also offer P2P networking. Together, we deliver an end-to-end portfolio of eCDN solutions for all—all enterprises, all networks, all use cases, and all streaming platforms.
Ramp partnered with StriveCast for P2P because they uphold the core tenants of our mission to deliver unlimited, high-quality streaming video on any corporate network. Their innovative approach to peer networking takes advantage of WebRTC for live streaming distribution, making it the ideal eCDN technology for network locations with low bandwidth and limited or no infrastructure.
Combined with ease of integration between the solutions, StriveCast is the perfect complement to the rest of Ramp’s eCDN portfolio. Together we can optimize bandwidth for every use case, at every location, on every network. Our partnership is committed to delivering secure, vendor-neutral video distribution solutions to solve network congestion created by streaming video.