Get your network ready for the video revolution…


…the technologies enabling every employee to get simultaneous video.

Times have changed – and so have enterprise communications. Collaboration solutions like Lync, Video, Cisco CMR/WebEx, Adobe and a huge array of SaaS products have changed the way employees, customers and suppliers talk to each other ,– but their very success has created a new headache for CIOs and Network Managers: how to manage limited network capacity.

Windows Media Server (WMS) is still very much embedded in many global enterprises, years after Microsoft itself abandoned both the Windows Media codecs (the system used to encode data streams or signals for transmission, storage or playback) and Windows Media Player itself. This meansthe Flash Streaming used in modern webcasts, webinars and social video sites like YouTube is not accessible to many employees – who thus miss out on important information and collaboration opportunities.

Moving data around the network is a common issue  for Network Capacity Managers, who face a stark choice:
a)    Increase the capacity of their network ‘pipe’
b)    Install Proxy servers such as Riverbed SteelHead, which accelerates delivery of applications across the hybrid enterprise
c)    Assemble their own Peer-to-Peer solution

But whichever solution you choose, it is likely to be expensive – and it might not give you the results you need. So which one is best?

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer: every organization is different.  But one option that is often overlooked is tried and tested peer-to-peer delivery technologies.

Though the term “peer-to-peer” might make your IT security people very nervous,there are plenty of services making 100% legitimate use of the technology. Kontiki, a well-established Enterprise Content Delivery Network, offers a clever solution for companies who need to manage their bandwidth in local and wide area networks without compromising network security.

Kontiki provides an ECDN which can be installed on every employees’ machine. It cascades data from one machine to another, rather than having every machine on your network pulling separate streams from the WAN. It solves the dilemma of how to push video over the network to every terminal, as well as integrating with all legacy products, allowing organizations to enable the video functions on their collaboration products.

And what else is out there?

The Microsoft-Hive partnership is a software-based content distribution solution “to efficiently deliver live and linear video over enterprise networks, private networks, and the internet,” Hive is hosted on Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform, and will be available as a built-in component of Windows Azure Media Services Live. Their announcement says that “as a built-in component, Hive can be used as a highly cost effective and qualitative way for organizations to distribute video with or without the use of a traditional CDN.”

In these days of broadband, everyone expects to be able to view content on their smartphone at home without a problem, but when there is a ‘Town Hall’ style event within the company network, administrators can be forced to use audio and slides because of the potential strain on the network.

CIOs are increasingly telling their network managers that this is not acceptable, but of course CFOs need any solution to be cost effective. Peer to peer can keep both sides happy, as it uses technology without any need for huge capital expenditure outlay or significant regular maintenance. It’s the best of both worlds!

About the author

Will is the regional head for Digital Engagement at Arkadin. He has been assisting organizations for over 10 years on how to utilize webinars and webcast technologies to communicate internally and externally to mass audiences and specialist groups in the highest quality possible. As such, Will has already helped a number of large global pharmaceutical organizations to implement global webcasting projects with a managed service wrapper, providing advice on their digital success including user journeys, analytics data flows and how the presentation of that data should be viewed by sales teams.

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