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Gathering Actionable Data Is Key to Live Streaming Success: Video
There's no room for error in a live video broadcast. Plan ahead by capturing data that points to specific issues, and have tools and partners ready to fix any problems.
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Troy Dreier: Hi again. This is Troy Dreier coming to you from Streaming Media East 2016 in New York City, where I'm talking with some of the thought leaders in the online video space. Joining me now is Diane Strutner, vice president of sales and business development for Nice People at Work. Thank you.

You were on a panel today talking about the technical challenges of live streaming, which there are many because there is so little room for error.

Diane Strutner: Yeah. You have an entire audience that's waiting for their favorite sports team to play or their favorite actor to show up on the red carpet, and you want to make sure that their experience as a user is up to par, especially when you talk about OTT, has the same qualities as they get through a linear channel. I think that's what everybody's pushing for these days.

Troy Dreier: Absolutely. As you create some disappointment, you're going to have a lot of angry people turning to Twitter and bad-mouthing your company.

Diane Strutner: Yeah. Exactly. I think the time you have to really fix a problem is really the time it takes for someone to post something to Twitter, but what can often happen is some misinformation as well. If you get one or two individuals that are having a poor experience and they're going to social media outlets and talking about it, as a content distributor you could get flustered and not realize that either that this is a very big problem or it could just be a couple of individuals that have a bad experience, unless you have the data behind that to identify, is it a big problem, is it a small problem, is it segmented to specific devices or a specific delivery path. Then, you'll be able to take the corrective action to fix it in either case.

Troy Dreier: What can people do to prevent, minimize disturbances with their live video?

Diane Strutner: I think when it comes to live streaming, preparation is key, so making sure that you're capturing as much data as possible, that the data that you gather is actionable. For example, if you see that buffer ratio is increasing but there's not much you can just do with that number. If you could narrow it down to a specific device or a location or a combination of several different dimensions, that makes it a lot easier to take faster action and resolve the issue quicker. Think preparing in advance to be able to capture the right data and having the tools to dive into that data are really important.

Troy Dreier: What can companies do when they're in that moment and they see metrics going in the red zone? What actions can they take?

Diane Strutner: Definitely. Oftentimes during live events they set up these operation control centers. Ideally, you have all of your vendors on a call together and you can get information from one source, and if it's affecting or it's revealing issues that are taking place on other things that can be controlled during the delivery, like the CDN, for example, then you can get on the phone with CDN and say, "Hey, we're seeing issues on your network or even on a specific node on your network." Then, they can change delivery off to another node or another CDN altogether, and they can alleviate those issues while the video's being streamed and prevent any users from turning off of the program.

Troy Dreier: It's the data, it's the people monitoring the data, and then being in communications with your CDN, your providers.

Diane Strutner: CDN providers. It could be your authentication server. Oftentimes for live events, they see that some people are requesting to log into a system, that that causes failures. It could also be your ad servers, so maybe there's a specific ad unit that's not working well, and you need to be able to pull that out quickly. You can get that information if you have the right tools in place in order to capture that and communicate it then to your other vendor partners.

Troy Dreier: Excellent. Well, that's good advice. Thank you so much, Diane.

Diane Strutner: Thank you.

Troy Dreier: This is Troy Dreier coming to you from Streaming Media East.

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