Corporations are using live streaming technology to broadcast things like board meetings, public announcements, press releases, new product demos, and employee training. To accomplish these things, a live streaming company is a necessity.
Forrester Research has noted that people are 75% more likely to watch a video than read an article. That alone is a good reason to start using this technology now if you haven’t already.
Necessary features for professional live streaming
Corporate users have different needs than individuals and small businesses. In this article, we will discuss some of the unique needs of business users for live streaming. YouTube or Facebook Live won’t work for these people. Instead, businesses should procure the services of an Online Video Platform (OVP).
We’ll cover some important features that you should look for and share information on various offerings from live streaming companies so that you can make an informed choice.
Any professional live stream must be reliably delivered. This is perhaps the most important bottom-line for any live streaming platform and is twice as important when it comes to business use. Free video platforms may go down for maintenance at any time. They may not even inform users beforehand. Using a professional OVP ensures reliability.
This dovetails with our discussion of using a professional-grade CDN. A CDN, or Content Delivery Network, is what’s responsible for actually delivering your stream.
White-label customized branding
The next must-have for corporate live streamers is white-label service. This means that no logo from the streaming company is included in streams. Video players themselves should also be free of branding.
Instead, you can embed your own logo to provide a fully branded experience. This creates a much more professional experience.
With a white-label service, the viewers’ eyes focus on one thing: your business. Your content and logo are front and center with no distractions.
Some OVPs such as Dacast support white-label service from their most affordable pricing options. Others, such as Livestream, only add White Label support if you’re shelling out $799 per month for their Enterprise Plan. UStream also falls into this category.
Professional tech support
Another must-have for business users are professional tech support. Consumer live streaming platforms usually don’t offer any form of tech support. More demanding users need questions answered and problems solved on the fly.
Every OVP has some form of tech support, however, these vary in robustness and availability.
Livestream offers 24/7 phone support starting with its $199/month Premium plan. UStream offers phone support to Silver, Gold, and Platinum Pro accounts. Dacast offers 24/7 live chat support to all customers and phone support for Pro and Premium account holders. One of our specificity is that you will have Dacast employees on the phone, not random people in a call center.
Recording ensures everyone can access content
Any live stream you produce should be recorded. Even if you don’t have a plan to reuse that content now, it’s important to archive any official events that take place.
Recording ensures that people who can’t attend a live stream can still benefit. Recordings of live events can be distributed afterward. This way they can continue to generate revenue and views.
Most OVPs offer auto-archiving or some variation of it. Dacast has the feature available now in a public beta. Livestream and UStream both offer built-in recording tools as well. Another option is to record locally before encoding your video for streaming. While this does require an extra step, it usually results in a higher-quality finished product.
Bypass corporate content blockers and firewalls
Many common video hosting and live streaming websites are completely blocked by corporations, universities, schools, and other institutions. Commonly blocked sites include YouTube and Facebook.
If you’re planning to use these platforms for corporate live streaming, be aware that as many as 40% of institutions block these sites.
A professional video platform delivers content via a network that’s not included on block-lists.
Professional grade CDN
Using a CDN, or Content Delivery Network is an alternative to using a single server or small group of machines located in a single location. While this may work for small applications, it has many downsides. A small server network won’t scale up to many users. It’s also vulnerable to DDoS attacks. Finally, a small server base won’t be able to efficiently deliver content to users located across the world.
A CDN bypasses many of these concerns. In exchange for the fee you pay to access an Online Video Platform (which in turn works with a CDN), you receive access to a professionally maintained, global network of high-end servers to distribute content rapidly and efficiently.
Businesses that wish to maximize speed and reliability should seek a top-tier CDN. Here at Dacast we work with Akamai, which is the world’s largest CDN. Their network encompasses nearly a quarter-million servers worldwide.
Other platforms such as Wowza also use Akamai. UStream uses several Content Delivery Networks. Conversely, Livestream uses a proprietary CDN with several thousand servers. Whichever service you select, make sure to investigate their CDN.
Another essential element of live streaming solutions for corporate use is tight security. Video streams may contain proprietary or confidential information. Therefore, we recommend that you consider the following precautions:
1. HTTPS delivery
HTTPS is the secure version of the HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol, which should be used anytime you send important information, such as passwords, over the internet.
Today, most live streams are delivered using HLS. HLS is a streaming media protocol that is based on HTTP. It’s possible to encrypt this content so that only authorized viewers can access the stream. Using HTTPS for live streaming provides many benefits against “Man-In-The-Middle” (MITM) attacks.
2. Password protection
Implementing password protection allows you to restrict access to a given live stream or video to those who know the code. This is ideal for creating a basic layer of security for live streams, or for providing an additional layer of protection for highly sensitive streams. It reduces the risks of unauthorized viewing and the duplication and redistribution of your live streams.
3. Domain restrictions (referrers)
A domain restriction is another setting that allows you to lock down your live streams. This is sometimes called a “referrer.” A domain restriction means that your live stream will only function when embedded on the websites you select. After adding selected domains to a whitelist, your stream will only function in those domains. This prevents someone from embedding your stream on an unauthorized website.
Similarly, geo (geographic) restrictions allow you to further restrict the people who can access your stream. This can be useful for preventing piracy and unauthorized viewing. Some advertisers and licensing agreements may only allow content to be broadcast in specific markets.
Geographic restrictions are set by whitelisting approved countries. Viewers with IP addresses associated with the permitted countries will be able to watch normally.[Tweet “#Corporate live streamers should look for OVPs with reliable white-label service, tech support, advanced security features, etc. #streamingvideo”]
Other considerations for live streaming company events
Let’s talk about the importance of adaptive bitrate streaming. Adaptive bitrate streaming is the process of delivering live streams at a variety of quality settings. This ensures that any user—whether on a slow DSL line, a cell network, or fast cable internet—can access live streams.
Quality is also an essential factor. The quality of your live streams reflects on your business. High-quality content is also easier to watch and learn from. Therefore, corporate users should strive for excellence in quality.
That means using high-grade video equipment, quality audio recording, and competent videographers or engineers. Don’t skimp when it comes to investing in microphones and recorders—and the professional knowledge to use them correctly. Audio is seen as even more important than video.
With the correct combination of engineering know-how, quality equipment, and a professional-grade OVP, it’s possible to capture and stream stunning live events.[Tweet “With the right #OVP, quality equipment and skilled engineers, it’s possible to #livestream in an incredible quality!”]
Selecting a live streaming company is a personal decision that will depend on your specific situation. Your budget, feature needs, audience size, and technical ability will determine which OVP is best for you.
In this article, we’ve aimed to cover the majority of a corporate user’s specific needs so that you know what to look for when choosing a live streaming company. Keep these considerations in mind while you shop around and you’ll have a better chance of choosing the right long-term platform that satisfies your live streaming goals.
Any thoughts? Let us know in the comments! We always love to hear from our readers. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your broadcasts.