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How Telestream's Sherpa Acquisition Changed Remote Internal Meetings

When Telestream acquired Sherpa in the middle of the pandemic, they encountered technical issues during their virtual corporate meetings while using services such as Microsoft Teams. However, Scott Murray, SVP, Corporate Marketing & Production and Streaming Business Unit, Telestream, tells Andy Howard, Founder & Managing Director, Howard & Associates that Sherpa’s live event production technology changed their approach to internal meetings and corporate events and enabled new hybrid and virtual event production models for their clients.

“We transitioned into utilizing the Sherpa Stream product for the distribution,” Murray says. “Then what happened was we got better engagement with our people around the globe that were watching the live streams.” He goes on to highlight how Sherpa Stream also helped to enhance their new hybrid events involving their CEO’s monthly town hall events. “We've got a hybrid event where people are in the audience like this, the live stream is happening [for] people at home that are working remotely and also to other audiences that are at remote offices where a bunch of people will gather together and watch on a big screen and then interact with the CEO at that point in time. And so what's happened is migrating from Microsoft Teams to this platform has facilitated more conversation, more questions.”

Andy Howard asks, “So were you doing the production in Wirecast and then sending it out to Sherpa, whether it’s going into an office or someone’s house?”

Murray says yes and then further elaborates on their approach. “Sherpa is all cloud-native and so it's very easy to redirect the output from Wirecast to a virtual camera and run it into the virtual input and just squirt it up to the cloud for distribution,” he explains. “What we found too was a lot of our customers went to this model as well.”

He talks about a particular case that posed unique challenges and discoveries for Telestream. “We've got this customer that has this environment where they have a hybrid environment with a lot of people in the office, maybe sometimes up to a hundred or more people,” he says. “So, about a hundred people were pulling it down from the cloud. It sucked all the bandwidth. And so the people that were on site…it sucked all the bandwidth down, so they couldn't actually go to the cloud and do any work. So one of [our] learnings is when you create this hybrid environment with a local CDN, make sure your routing tables are correct so that your network topology actually pulls from the CDN as opposed in going back to the cloud.”

Howard underscores Murray’s story with similar issues that Howard & Associates have encountered. “A lot of people went to the fully virtual environment, and everybody was pulling in the streams from their house, so there was never really any bandwidth contention,” he says. “A lot of organizations have revamped their internal networking, and we've seen that even when people have like 10, 20, 30% of people back in the office, they're having troubles with bandwidth because there's just so much more video. Whether it's Zoom, video conferencing, or streaming, it's chewing up all the bandwidth, and they're not necessarily set up for that. Even some people are like, ‘Well, we got rid of our Enterprise Content Delivery Network (eCDN) because we don't need it anymore.’ It's like, what? People are going to come back to the office at some point, and you're going to still need that infrastructure.”

Learn more about live event production at Streaming Media East 2023.

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