Today, video has long since been a cornerstone of business operations. Businesses use video content for training, internal communications, product releases and demos, advertising, sales pitches, and much more. Enterprises have recognized this trend and have begun to adapt themselves. In this article, we’ll review the essential features of an enterprise video platform.
When it comes to video streaming solutions, large businesses comes with specific needs. For instance, extraneous features for the average user become essential in an enterprise setting. In this piece, we’ll introduce and discuss five key features for an enterprise video platform (e.g., DaCast). These features include:
- a powerful CDN,
- platform security,
- user management,
- APIs, and
- white-label service.
When it comes to live streaming video content, it pays to do your homework and weigh the pros and cons–and we’re here to help! Before turning to review those key features, let’s first compare enterprise video platforms and consumer-grade platforms. How are they different, and why should businesses consider a professional OVP? Let’s compare and contrast.
Enterprise video platform vs. consumer grade platform
You’re likely familiar with popular consumer-grade OVPs (online video platforms). The most popular of these are YouTube Live and Facebook Live. Instagram and Twitter also have some video functionality, and there are many other services on the market as well.
These platforms are free, and billions of people use them worldwide. As such, B2C(business to consumer) platforms can offer some benefits for businesses. In particular, social marketing via these channels can be crucial to a broader marketing strategy.
However, consumer-grade social platforms have serious drawbacks. For example, when you share content with these tools, you lose some of the rights to the material. This can be a serious concern. Another significant drawback is content blocking. Many major institutions, including businesses, schools, and universities, block major time-wasting social websites. For instance, YouTube and Facebook are the most-blocked websites in the world.
And these are just the beginning of potential drawbacks to the free approach to broadcast live video.
Free consumer-grade platforms also entail:
- Limited or nonexistent monetization features (e.g., pay per view video streaming).
- Limited security functionality, meaning piracy can be a problem.
- Indiscriminate advertising with little to no control over ads associated with your content.
- Lack of technical support.
- Overly sensitive copyright protection mechanisms that may find false-positives and take video offline.
- Suggestions that may drive viewers to unrelated content, competitors, or critiques.
- Public comments and likes that can serve as a place for naysayers and disgruntled individuals to make unpleasant comments.
At this point, you may be wondering: what’s the solution to these problems?
Simply put–why not opt to use a powerful enterprise video platform instead?
Built for businesses, a professional OVP should provide all the features you need for successful operations. Let’s turn now to our discussion of five key features for an enterprise video platform.
Feature #1: Powerful CDN for streamlined global delivery
CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. A CDN is a distribution model that makes the delivery of multimedia internet content faster and more reliable for a global audience.
Any digital asset (such as a video or stream) that is sent using a CDN is copied in real-time. These copies are delivered to a network of hundreds or thousands of servers in disparate geographic locations. When users seek to access your content, they are redirected to servers close to them.
In this way, the toll on expensive hardware is balanced across many different machines. Latency—the time between when you start to stream live and when it plays back on a viewer’s device—is minimized. Buffering and packet loss is kept to a minimum, too. Meanwhile, security increases and bottlenecks disappear. If your servers are attacked using common hacker methods like DDOS, content will still remain online. Redundancy is automatic with a live streaming CDN.
Most importantly, access to a CDN allows you to “scale up” your video. The CDN approach can handle anywhere between a hundred to one million concurrent viewers. These figures are especially accurate if you’re using a top-tier CDN like Akamai. Akamai (which we use here at DaCast) has a network of more than 216,000 servers worldwide. This high “point-of-presence” means that the Akamai CDN is within a single network hop of more than 85% of all internet users.
Linking with a professional CDN can save money by offshoring the construction, maintenance, and upgrading of the network to another business. This IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) model is highly preferable for most businesses. This model eliminates the need to create an entirely new division and invest significant resources. A high quality enterprise video platform should use a top-tier CDN to ensure global content delivery experience.
Feature #2: Secure platform for confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity
The next essential feature of an enterprise video platform is security. Corporate users may be dealing with information of a sensitive nature.
This sensitive content could include:
- Medical records
- Valuable intellectual property
- Information related to lawsuits
- Financial records and bank or credit card account information
- Business plans, contract data, and confidential trade secrets
- Classified or sensitive research data
- Passwords, biometric data, or signatures
- Social security numbers and other personal data, such as addresses and contact information
- Trainings and information on innovative practices for competitive advantage
These are just a few categories of sensitive information that need to be protected. A professional online video platform should provide a variety of tools for securing video in their network. These tools can include the following:
Restricting access to video content is possible in a variety of ways. One of the most basic is password protection. This feature only allows users who enter a specific password or passphrase to access a given video recording or live stream.
Geographic and domain restrictions
Restrictions are tools that narrow down the pool of internet users who can access your content. Geographic restriction allows you to “whitelist” select nations. Only users who are located in these countries (as determined by their IP address) can access video content.
Domain restrictions take a similar approach, but instead limit video embedding based on domain name. For example, you could restrict your videos to only play on the DaCast.com domain name. Even if pirates or other malicious actors are able to access the raw URL for your live video stream, they will not be able to embed it on other sites or access it via desktop players.
Payment security and HTTPS encryption
Finally, if you intend to monetize your videos in any way, payment security is critical. Make sure that your OVP includes payment security features. Bank-grade SSL encryption should also be a standard practice here.
General HTTPS encryption is another layer of security for your video on-demand and streams. HTTPS ensures data integrity, protects against many forms of eavesdropping, and thwarts man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. These security features should be a part of any enterprise video platform worth your money.
Feature #3: Multi-level access for user management
Corporate tech platforms often have to manage access credentials for a wide range of users. Some employees may have unrestricted access, while others are only able to access certain content. On the other hand, some may need extended access without access to certain features. These tiered access options reduce the risk of accidentally causing problems behind the scenes and for your viewers as well.
An enterprise video platform should offer some sort of feature for this level of user management. DaCast’s streaming solutions, for example, allow your enterprise to restrict specific users, while giving certain users permissions to access:
- Live streaming
- Video on-demand
- Package management
- Playlist management
- Account details
Feature #4: APIs for integration and custom development
Enterprise video platform users often require custom-built applications and integrations for streamlined operations. This is enabled by APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces. Make sure to chose a well documented API, with clear code samples and sandbox to try live your API calls.
APIs enable some excellent capabilities, such as becoming a video platform reseller, creating custom video portals, and building apps around your streaming or on-demand video content. APIs also ease integration with databases of all sorts.
When selecting an enterprise video platform, make sure that a full-featured API is available and functional.
Feature #5: White label platform for total branding mastery
Finally, the last essential feature that we’ll highlight here for enterprises is white label service. Simply put, white label refers to non-branded services.
For an enterprise video platform, white-label service allows you to deliver video content completely free of outside branding. You can then easily insert your own branding.
This features contrasts sharply with free platforms like YouTube or Facebook. These B2C platforms insert the logo of the respective host service on every single video—whether embedded or native.
In short, white label service is essential for corporate users who seek to maintain a highly professional, coherent appearance at all times.
Researching and selecting an enterprise video platform can be a daunting task, but it needn’t be. With this list of essential features, a few meetings with your IT team, and an overview of the leading online video platforms, choosing the best service for your needs should be much easier.
Of course, we do hope you’ll consider streaming over the DaCast platform. With the professional DaCast OVP, we guarantee our broadcasters all five of the features outlined above–and more! With all DaCast pricing plans, broadcasters have access to (1) a top-tier CDN, (2) a secure platform, (3) customizeable user access options, (4) video and developer APIs, and (5) ad-free, white-label service.
Whichever enterprise video platform you choose, we highly recommend taking advantage of free trials when available. To start streaming live with DaCast, simply click the button below to sign up for our 30-day free trial (no credit card required). We’ll have you up and streaming in a matter of minutes!
For exclusive offers and regular live streaming tips and tricks, you’re invited to join our LinkedIn group. Have comments or questions? Let us know in the comments section below. We will get back to you, and we love to hear from our readers.
Thanks for reading, and good luck with your live broadcasts.
By Max Wilbert.