Audiences want to access live video content anywhere, anytime. In a world where an increasing number of video streams are vying for consumers’ attention, organizations need to be able to deliver on that expectation quickly, reliably and with high-quality output. Live video holds attention longer than on-demand content, with the average viewer watching live video content five times longer than on-demand video content.
Kick Off the New Year with the Right Streaming Infrastructure
How can your organization prepare for the increasing demand for live content in 2016? First and foremost, you need to prepare your streaming infrastructure. Define your strategy carefully as you head into the year. Determining whether a video streaming workflow should use on-premises or cloud-hosted software and/or cloud-based services comes down to a number of factors—including functionality, total cost of ownership, speed to market and customization needs.
Completely in the Cloud
A cloud-based video workflow is beneficial if you want to cut costs on hardware and maintenance, give new technologies a trial run without large upfront costs, and scale rapidly to handle fluctuations in viewership. The beauty of a fully cloud-based video streaming workflow is that you’re able to transfer intensive processing jobs to third parties.
For example, you could choose both an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud provider that gives you managed virtual server hardware on which you run transcoding and streaming software, and a separate content delivery network (CDN) that supplies configurable auto-scale streaming. Alternatively, you might offload all of those tasks to a streaming platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider that takes care of managing everything for you, minimizing the complexities of live streaming.
All of these advantages make the cloud ideal for live streaming events where viewership can quickly fluctuate, and for organizations that want to offer the latest in video streaming technology without huge investments in resources and expertise.
Deploying a video streaming workflow completely in the cloud is not always the ideal choice, however. What it offers in flexibility, it can lack in control. Your organization may want to have access to specific features or maintain a higher level of control over the entire workflow.
When a high level of on-site streaming, infrastructure customization, or a traditional capital expense (capex) accounting model is necessary for an organization, a fully on-premises streaming solution should be considered. With such a solution, you have full control over your streaming infrastructure, and your operating expenses (opex) may be lower and more predictable.
That being said, the costs can be significantly higher than cloud-based or hybrid options because of capital expenditures for hardware, ongoing energy costs and the need for additional human resources for infrastructure management.
Partially in the Cloud (Hybrid)
For many, the ideal workflow for 2016 is a mix of on-premises and cloud components. Depending on available resources, audience location and the types of events you plan to live-stream, you can combine on-premises and cloud components to get the right mix of economics and the exact level of desired control.
This approach is more flexible in terms of future workflow mobility and enables you to partner with third parties to handle scaling and technology updates where you need them most. However, this approach requires that you provide human resources to locally manage parts of your workflow, and it may not be as seamless as the other options.
While the right workflow will vary between organizations, the growing value of live video streaming will not. It continues to transform everything—from how people experience events and see what’s happening in the world, to how enterprises communicate.
Charlie Good is the CTO and co-founder of Wowza Media Systems.