Online video is becoming more and more important in the professional world. In order to incorporate video content into your marketing strategy, sales strategy, or day-to-day operations, you’ll need an online video host with a cloud streaming server to store, manage, and deliver your videos.
Most businesses opt for streaming software that streamlines and simplifies this process.
In this post, we will discuss everything you need to know about cloud streaming servers and how they relate to professional broadcasting. We will break down the details of how this works and how to access a cloud streaming server. To wrap things up, we will discuss how Dacast helps professionals broadcast a cloud streaming server.
Table of Contents
- What is a Cloud Streaming Server?
- How Does a Cloud Streaming Server Work?
- Cloud-Based Video Streaming Server Software
- Features to Look for in a Cloud Streaming Server Solution
- How Businesses Use Dacast’s Cloud Streaming Server Software
Let’s get started!
What is a Cloud Streaming Server?
A cloud streaming server is a computer or network configured to deliver online videos to viewers.
Modern online video is, like the rest of the internet, based on HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol). Today, live streaming video reaches viewers in a method very similar to any website. When a viewer clicks play on a video, their computer makes a connection to a server located somewhere in the world.
That server loads the appropriate video file from storage and then streams it to the viewer using a streaming video protocol like HLS.
So what is a server, exactly? Simply put, servers are just computers. As the name implies, a server is an operating system that exists to deliver content to visitors, just like a server in a restaurant delivers your meal. However, a server doesn’t function like a normal computer.
Cloud servers are the technical backbone of the internet. Vast data centers and armies of technicians are at work right now to ensure these systems keep functioning.
How Does a Cloud Streaming Server Work?
Cloud streaming server software has a few main jobs. These platforms host and deliver live and on-demand video content.
In order to deliver content, the cloud streaming server must ingest a live stream being delivered by a video encoder or receive an upload for video on demand (VOD) files. Modern streaming software uses RTMP (real-time messaging protocol) ingest to bring the content from the RTMP-enabled encoder to the platform.
The received video files are then stored in a video content management system (CMS) and prepared for delivery. This requires packaging video files in different formats and sizes, which may require cloud video encoding. Then the cloud server software will deliver these video streams to users as they connect.
As you can see, this is a complex process. Ingesting and transcoding video files is also resource-intensive. Video streaming servers require large amounts of storage and RAM, as well as fast processors and internet connections.
Then, imagine scaling this to deliver video to a thousand people, or a hundred thousand, or a million. You can begin to appreciate the challenges of running video streaming software.
In the past, broadcasters built its own cloud streaming servers in-house, but this process is highly technical and expensive. Today, broadcasters typically use cloud video streaming server software to keep things as simple as possible.
Cloud-Based Video Streaming Server Software
Cloud streaming server software provides a superior alternative to in-house video servers. Rather than capital investment, cloud services allow predictable, smoothly scaling billing. Staff time and maintenance requirements are outsourced so your staffing needs are simplified, as well.
Some of these platforms come with tools for marketing, monetization, security, and more.
Using an Online Video Platform (OVP) enables you to deliver content rapidly and reliably. A professional-grade OVP generally supports scaling to a massive audience using global Content Delivery Networks (CDNs).
Some examples of cloud video streaming solutions include Dacast, Wowza, IBM Video Streaming, Livestream, and Brightcove.
For a complete review of these platforms and others, please check out our top 10 live streaming platforms comparison post.
Features to Look for in a Cloud Streaming Server Solution
Choosing a cloud streaming server solution for your business can be difficult since there are so many great options to choose from. We’ve put together a list of the top features to look for to make this process a little bit easier for you.
Here are some of the most valuable streaming tools:
- Partnership with a powerful content delivery network (CDN)
- China content delivery
- Reasonable video bandwidth rates
- White-label streaming
- HTML5 video player (for maximum compatibility)
- Adaptive bitrate streaming
- Easy to navigate streaming platform
- Tools for video monetization
The most important part of choosing a cloud streaming server solution is to make sure that it has the features you need to reach your unique broadcasting goals. For example, if you intend on generating revenue with your video content, it’s important to choose a platform with monetization tools.
How Businesses Use Dacast’s Cloud Streaming Server Software
As we mentioned, businesses use online video in a wide variety of ways. Let’s look briefly at one specific example to show how Dacast video streaming solutions are being used today. Here is the link to the full case study.
TopGolf is the next-generation of golfing ranges and is an extremely successful business, with more than 50 locations in the U.S. and internationally and 17 million customers annually. The company’s estimated value is a whopping $4 billion.
No golfing ability? No problem! Topgolf is a game that anyone can play (and win). Score points by hitting micro-chipped golf balls at giant dartboard-like targets on an outfield. The closer you get your ball to the center or “bullseye” and the further the distance you reach, the more points you earn.
The fun and games don’t stop there. Players can even indulge in delicious food and drinks that are brought to their station as they play. What could be better?
Dacast’s online video hosting solutions have been essential for TopGolf’s growth. As Director of Online Marketing Shaun Sinnott explains, “TopGolf is a difficult concept to explain in words, so video is a great medium to express what we are and how much fun you can have at the facility. Video allows us to let viewers experience the party atmosphere before coming out.”
Of course, Shaun has his hands full running the marketing campaign for such a large-scale business. As such, Dacast’s advanced video hosting platform is a welcome timesaver in his workflow:
“We needed a platform that was simple to integrate into our website. I manage many of our web platforms and Dacast is by far the easiest to teach; usually [it] can be done within 15 minutes.”
I manage many of our web platforms and Dacast is by far the easiest to teach.”
Shaun Sinnott, Director of Online Marketing, TopGolf
TopGolf has very robust, location-specific pages on their website. As a result, they find Dacast’s tagging tool particularly helpful in managing which video belongs to which location’s page.
“Dacast’s labeling structure makes integrating where videos go on our site a breeze,” Shaun reports.
A cloud video streaming solution is the way to go if you’re interested in incorporating online video content in any part of your business.
Business success stories, like Top Golf’s, provide the most compelling evidence of the benefit of video solutions with a cloud streaming server like Dacast.
If you’re ready to start using online video content for your business, we recommend giving Dacast a try. You can access all of your professional features risk-free for 30 days.
All you have to do is create a free Dacast account, and we’ll have you set up and streaming in a matter of minutes. No start-up fees or credit card required.
We’ll have you set up and streaming in a matter of minutes! We offer a wide variety of features that support key OTT trends, including video monetization tools, analytics, and much more.
We also offer a range of professional services for businesses that need more assistance in getting started. We’re happy to connect at any time and discuss your unique needs.
If you want to learn more about the video industry, OTT trends, and live streaming today, feel free to dive into our blog posts and white papers. We’re here to answer your questions 24/7, and our LinkedIn group is becoming very popular.
Thanks for reading and, as always, best of luck with your video broadcasts!