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Streaming Media East: Drawing the Line on Mobile Video in the Enterprise

For many enterprises, cloud-based video services just won't do. Security considerations, among other things, lead them to deploy a content delivery network (CDN). Managing your own streaming video this way is no small task, but its been complicated even further by the proliferation of mobile devices. "A lot of enterprises are struggling with this today," says Cisco's Chuck Sullivan during a panel at Streaming Media East called "Best Practices for Building an Enterprise Content Delivery Network."

Jeff Hanley, senior manager of digital media at KLA-Tencor, says the increasingly younger and more mobile employee base influenced his company's choice to invest in an enterprise video platform. "It has a very robust mobility" capability, he says. But even with a platform that supports mobile video capabilities, Hanley says they "had to draw a line."

"We had to make a decision to support these iOS flavors, and these Android flavors," he says, but decided that supporting every device and operating system just isn't feasible. And with the burgeoning bring-your-own-device trend that so many enterprises are dealing with, this is a choice that more and more companies are going to have to make.

When it comes to video on the private CDN, making tough choices seems to be a theme. Alan Tardiff, technical specialist/digital designer at Prudential, says that when it comes to dealing the demands of video traffic over the VPN, one of Prudential's strategies was to simply limit the bitrate of videos. "If I were to post a video that's over 500Kbps, it wouldn't accept it," he says.

Tardiff also pointed out the demands of video on the VPN aren't quite as problematic as you would think. "As much as we'd like to think they're watching all of our videos, that isn't always the case," he says.

While not ever person in your company will watch every video—and certainly they won't generally be watching it simultaneously—there are times when demand peaks. For instance, when your CEO is holding a town hall-style meeting, you will likely have to stream it to distant offices (often live).

Hanley says KLA-Tencor's solution was not to stream to every desktop, but instead to gather employees in large conference rooms to watch the event together. While this started out as an accomodation to the network, it turned into a benefit. It made the town hall-style meetings into a more communal event, and even made taking questions easier. And for employees on the other side of the globe who were already away from the office, they were able to turn the on-demand video around quickly.

So if you're considering a CDN to deploy your video content, know that the tough decisions will extend beyond choosing a provider.

Scroll down to view the full discussion and download Andy Howard's presentation.


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