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Video conferencing and video streaming: an enterprise point of view

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Although they are very different technologies with their own set of unique use cases, the terms ‘video conferencing’ and ‘video streaming’ are often used interchangeably in many organisations. Let’s attempt to explore the many unique benefits of each technology individually and also review how a number of market-leading companies are using both technologies together - to extend the reach of both internal and external communication to global audiences.

Video conferencing

First of all, let’s establish what a video conferencing platform is.

A video conferencing platform is a virtual meeting solution, like for instance Skype for Business, Zoom or WebEx, that allows small groups or larger teams to collaborate by engaging in live, multi-directional video communication. Sometimes called a unified communications system, a video conferencing platform enables participants to see, hear, speak and share documents and screens - just as they would in an in-person meeting—from a desktop computer, mobile device or properly equipped huddle room.

What problem does video conferencing solve?

Video conferencing solves the primary challenge of remote teams and globally distributed workforces, by minimising the impact participant location has on team productivity. Research shows that a significant percentage of remote users feel more connected with co-workers when using video conferencing (source: GigaOm, Why video conferencing is critical to business collaboration: “Eighty-seven per cent of remote users feel more connected to their team and process when using video conferencing”) and the technology has become very easy to use making it a standard tool.

What are the limitations of video conferencing?

Although purpose-built to replicate human interaction, video conferencing solutions begin to struggle from a performance standpoint when meetings, events and presentations include more than a few dozen participants. Additionally, options for recording and sharing video conferences are also limited and in cases where events can be recorded there are few - if any - accessibility features (e.g. translation, transcription, phonetic searchability, user analytics and more) that can be applied to the recorded asset prior to publication.

Video streaming

Let’s now take a look at what a video streaming platform is.

A video streaming platform is a piece of software technology that allows organisations to distribute live and on demand video over existing corporate networks on a one-to-many or team-to-many scale, with no loss of video quality and no negative impact on internal systems. Often referred to by analysts as an Enterprise Video Content Management (EVCM) system, a streaming platform typically includes solutions for video asset storage, security, management, distribution and customisable portals—as well as searchability, translation, closed-captioning and other Artificial Intelligence-based services.

What problem does enterprise video streaming solve?

Enterprise video streaming platforms tackle the challenge of scale, allowing companies to deliver internal and external events like for example CEO addresses, shareholder meetings, onboarding training, corporate educational classes and marketing events to thousands of participants—even tens of thousands—across the globe and to any device, mobile or not. And as robust content management systems, enterprise streaming platforms can also capture, archive and securely distribute recorded events with any number of accessibility features including translated captions, phonetic search capabilities and – last but not least - full user analytics.

What are the limitations of an enterprise video streaming platform?

Enterprise video streaming platforms do not add enough value to be useful for small events or meetings with 10 or less participants. And because they’re designed for large-scale live events, they don’t provide the any-to-any interactivity and dialogue inherent in video conferencing. Finally, beyond a straightforward cloud implementation there can be considerable complexity to configuring an enterprise video streaming platform as a global resource serving many use cases and thousands of users—particularly in verticals like Banking, Finance, Health Care and Life Science where data privacy and security is fundamentally critical.

What happens when you combine video conferencing and video streaming?

For global organisations, the true power of these two enterprise technologies is realised when they are used together in a single, integrated offering. Adding a Video Streaming platform to an existing video conferencing system gives everyone in the organisation the ability to create live and on demand video—as well as store, secure and extend the engagement of video assets through powerful and automated Artificial Intelligence services like searchability, translation and closed-captioning.

In addition, combining these two technologies gives executives and team leaders the ability to stream live or recorded events to thousands and even tens of thousands of internal or external stakeholders in the form of Executive Webcasts, Employee Onboarding Courses, Compliance Training, Crisis Communications, Marketing Events and more. And of course, the video being created can be consumed by any user in any region of the globe using any device, with no loss of video integrity and no negative impact on internal networks.

Wrapping it all up

The ability for leaders to collaborate with global offices and remote workforces of all sizes has changed dramatically in the last few years, both in the technology used and the methods used to communicate.

Executives are beginning to better understand the complementary roles of video conferencing and streaming platforms and their combined use is gaining momentum within leading enterprises worldwide. If you are interested in extending the power of video conferencing with a video streaming platform, the good news is that most of the hardware and software infrastructure will most likely already be in place at your organisation. So, what are you waiting for? 

Vern Hanzlik, President & CEO, Qumu (opens in new tab)
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Vern Hanzlik is President & CEO of Qumu. Prior to Qumu, Vern spent 20 years building and growing enterprise software and service companies like TEAM Informatics, Stellent and Sajan Software.