July 12, 2012


Pros and cons of live streaming

By Stephen Blankenship – Director, Product Management

Businesses considering an enterprise video platform generally have to decide whether they want to use on-demand content or live streaming to reach end users. Generally, a combination of the two can be used, but aligning them correctly is dependent on understanding what they can accomplish. In the case of live streaming, the key benefit is immersion.

Pros of live streaming

– Connecting people: Through live streaming, organizations can bring entire departments or other groups of people together to view a meeting, presentation or other content simultaneously. This is all done virtually, making the event convenient, but allows viewers to use built-in chat functions to talk about what they are watching and build work relationships through the event. The value of such measures is intangible, but can be turned into productivity gains as workers become more engaged in their day-to-day activities.

– Immersion: Live streams can be incredibly immersive because events are being viewed precisely as they are happening. Workers are not just clicking on a link and watching something that is always available. They have to focus because the information presented in the video is available when the event happens and may not be made accessible later. Furthermore, the relational connections that can happen at live streaming events adds to the immersion.

Cons of live streaming

– Technically difficult: When you stream a live video, you have to have enough bandwidth available to ensure that content reaches all of the end users at the same time without any latency, dropped data packets or similar performance problems. While this technical barrier can be overcome and is generally worth dealing with, it has to be considered when you plan your broad video strategy.

– Procedurally challenging: Video plans should not disrupt workers; they should fit neatly within their day-to-day processes. With live streaming, it can be difficult to align the content delivery patterns with the points when workers are readily available. As a result, streaming can disrupt employees’ operations.

In many cases, the best way to overcome the weaknesses of live streaming is to mix in on-demand content when possible. Using live streaming for videos that benefit the most from the relational elements can help companies engage their workers, while using on-demand video for regular videos can minimize the technical challenges associated with streaming.