Sept. 16, 2021 - Video has emerged as a major category of traffic that is streaming through enterprise networks to support mission-critical objectives of organizations across industries. While it is a trend that has been gathering momentum for several years, investments have picked up significantly in the wake of COVID-19. It is an area of enterprise technology that is projected to gain momentum through 2021 and beyond. As a result, enterprise technology leaders in North America are ramping up investments in enterprise network infrastructure to support growing end-user demand for video applications, including IPTV content. To assess the impact video optimization will have on organizational cultures, Mark D’Addio, senior vice president of Americas at VITEC, and Colin Farquhar, senior vice president of IPTV Global Solutions Exterity provide insight on video content strategies for enterprise networks to maximize ROI from rising IPTV traffic.
Q: Welcome gentlemen. Congratulations on the recent successful integration of two important players in the enterprise IPTV space, Exterity and VITEC. Our first question revolves around how you have seen the relationship between IPTV and enterprise networks evolve?
The COVID-19 pandemic and global lockdowns created a huge increase in the consumption of video content. Zoom-type meetings have certainly contributed to this phenomenon. We have seen an exponential increase in video meetings that are not showing signs of slowing. However, that is not the whole picture.
Even prior to the pandemic, video in general — and IPTV in particular — has been a vital part of daily operations within organizations. It has been an essential tool for communicating key enterprise messages within facilities and across multiple locations for years.
Research has shown that video is the top-performing and most effective tool for training, educating, informing, and shaping corporate culture. In addition, many organizations utilize IPTV to live stream content — like newsfeeds — to stay informed of global breaking news. For industries such as finance, broadcast, and even governmental agencies like the Centers for Disease Control, being on top of breaking news isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity.
Q: Mark, have you seen specific categories of video content rise in importance?
Today people have adapted to — and are very comfortable with — streaming video content at home. If you look at content providers like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney +, you can see that content consumption during the pandemic has skyrocketed. You can also see an explosion of video content on social media and social video platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, and Tik Tok.
This appetite for streaming content in the home has extended to the enterprise. In a recent BTR-100 survey commissioned by VITEC, survey respondents reported a significant rise in video traffic, led by the growing reliance on video conferencing — which Colin referenced — to facilitate collaboration in support of today’s work-from-home (WFH) environment. Other video applications, however, are also rising, including streaming video, in-house multimedia content creation, digital signage, and security camera feeds. In fact, 89% of respondents stated that COVID-19 has elevated the need to support IPTV traffic on corporate networks.
This has had an impact on enterprise networks that executive decision-makers need to understand. That is why it is so important to have solid analytics about enterprise video. Analytics are key to understanding and creating engaging video content. They provide insight into target audience preferences and provide information that can be used to tailor new content.
And it’s not just a one-way street. Analytics provide insight into what content is popular with people who are viewing it. I think that’s a very important aspect of ensuring the effective utilization of enterprise video and the content key stakeholders need to inform how, when, and why organizations create content.
Q: How are organizations harnessing the power of video to connect with employees and their customers?
It really depends on the industry. For example, media companies are experts in delivering tailored content to their audiences. Two good examples are CNN and Fox. In addition to providing content to consumers, video plays an important role in the workflows and day-to-day decision-making of their operations.
On the other hand, large corporate organizations have also been creating video content for many years. More recently, however, there is a growing trend to really custom-build content expressly for employees with the goal of more effectively communicating with them, educating them, and conveying corporate culture–all of which are extremely important for HR and management. It is for this reason, I think it is safe to say, that senior-level executives recognize the importance of IPTV and are investing more in content creation.
Q: What role is video — and IPTV specifically — playing for large organizations with a global presence?
It is extremely important that large organizations understand their global footprint and incorporate video strategies that effectively and quickly disseminate information. It is also important for them to collect viewing data to assess the effectiveness of their video communications strategies.
These organizations are increasingly aware of the implications of increasing video to meet their business objectives. They also have to understand how this affects the use of key IT resources. For example, at our offices in Scotland, we have a relatively small 100 MB internet link. When the pandemic hit and all our staff moved to work remotely, all the staff were connecting to virtual machines in the offices. It very quickly used up the bandwidth. We had to be very strategic and sophisticated about how we delivered video traffic to our employees. IPTV played a key role in driving efficient use of network resources as demand for video from our employees has risen.
Reuters, one of our clients, had a similar experience. Prior to deploying IPTV, delivering video to journalists who need to track breaking news developments on TV on their desks. The IT department was faced with running cable to desks, checking amplifiers, and making sure they had sufficient capacity to support the request.
IPTV makes use of multicast-to-the-edge which is a key technology for effective and efficient video distribution. IPTV gateway devices can provide live television feeds across enterprise networks, delivering very high-quality content without impacting the general network.
Today most organizations have realized that as long as their network is multicast-capable, their enterprise network will be able to handle really large volumes of traffic very effectively. That is why IPTV has emerged as an elegant solution for distributing video content internally and externally.
Another important benefit of IPTV is its ability to support digital signage. For years digital signage required its own separate infrastructure. IPTV-enabled digital signage can be used to cost-effectively remind folks of protocols, meeting locations, and information — and even activities at the location — without overburdening network resources.