Using an eCDN for Corporate Communications

Imagine delivering a flawless, broadcast-quality live video message from your executive team, or a live training event, to all of your employees, on any device, wherever they are, without clogging your network bandwidth. Can your corporate network support live events for large audiences without creating a bandwidth bottleneck or crashing? This is something organizations must find solutions for when planning internal live broadcasts to ensure high-quality streaming for no-fail events.

Livestream’s new Peer-to-Peer Enterprise Content Delivery Network (eCDN) solves for these issues by supporting an HD-quality seamless live viewing experience while minimizing the stress on your corporate network, reducing bandwidth consumption and cost, and maintaining privacy and security regulations.

Livestream’s eCDN for corporate communications empowers IT and communications teams to deliver a flawless streaming video event, without risking network health or compromising critical business functions.

What is eCDN?

An eCDN is an enterprise content delivery network, which is one way for companies to distribute content within their corporate network, creating a safety net for their internal bandwidth pipe.

A peer-to-peer eCDN helps to avoid network bottlenecks that occur when a large number of concurrent viewers in one office are watching the same content, such as a live broadcast. Instead of individual employee devices all pinging a single server to access a stream, a P2P eCDN reduces the amount of bandwidth needed coming from the external server. Instead, Livestream’s eCDN uses the bandwidth inside the company, redistributing the requests to devices within the LAN, improving stream quality and reducing the bandwidth load on a company’s internal network.

How Video Is Driving Corporate Communications Trends

Video is the fastest and easiest way to learn and retain information. Streaming your internal and all hands meetings has become de rigueur at large companies, but these in-demand, data-heavy streams can have massive network implications.

Today video is being used in organizations for a variety of purposes:
• Employee training and product demos
• All hands or town halls
• Internal HR events and panels

Streaming company-wide meetings is an effective way to keep employees engaged. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, engaged employees report 31% higher productivity and 37% higher sales. Conversely, the Dale Carnegie Institute reports that businesses with disengaged employees lose $11b annually.

This engagement data is driving demand for access to video in the workplace: according to Cisco, global business IP traffic is set to grow 21% from 2015 to 2021, which will require updated infrastructure to handle the load.

To avoid additional expenses or potential network failures, many corporations are considering eCDNs to meet these new challenges.

Traditional content delivery vs. Livestream’s eCDN for corporate communications

In a traditional content delivery setup, viewers connect to a server to obtain the streaming video they have requested. This server can either be inside the company or external – an example would be video content cached and delivered from a Cloud provider. Both of these setups have their limitations.

If everyone in the company tries to connect to a single server at the headquarters, the connections will quickly become saturated and the server will likely crash as it was not meant to handle thousands of simultaneous requests for data-heavy video.

If the server is in the cloud, companies often have significant limitations when it comes to connecting to the internet. They generally have a fixed capacity when it comes to external bandwidth, and networks are often not dimensioned for a massive amount of data requests from outside their network. Firewalls can further delay external calls, creating huge bottlenecks.

This makes streaming live video within the enterprise network very difficult. There are several means of mitigating this problem, and these solutions are collectively known as “eCDN.”

Solution 1: Install caching servers within the company network at each site.

Installing caching servers allows you to place a copy of the video close to your viewers to avoid the congestion of large numbers of requests to a single server. The challenge is this solution requires both significant CAPEX (cash) and OPEX (operating expenses). Servers are expensive, and installing and maintaining them requires significant expertise and dedicated personnel. In addition to regular maintenance, you’ll also need a dedicated IT team at each site to maintain servers to guarantee no-fail live streams.

Solution 2: Use an internal multicasting tool.

A multicasting tool broadcasts content en masse to every computer on the network. This requires specific equipment that supports multicast, and may also necessitate changing workstation software to be able to support multicast streams. This is not the “typical” streaming setup so it can require additional configuration in addition to this CAPEX.

Solution 3: Legacy P2P solutions.

Peer-to-peer within company networks has existed for many years. The principle of P2P is to use the abundant bandwidth within the enterprise network. However, the solutions on the market have had several major drawbacks: at the very least they have required users to install a plugin in their browsers or an app. Some providers even require companies to change their entire video stack and use a special, non-standard streaming protocol.

Solution 4: Livestream’s peer-to-peer based eCDN

Our eCDN distributes the stream with peer-to-peer networking, harnessing idle internal network bandwidth to more effectively distribute the stream. With Livestream, employees connect to the stream as they would in a typical video streaming setup. However, instead of getting the entire video directly from the server, their video player will also ask for segments of content from nearby co-workers viewing devices. This more efficiently distributes bandwidth requirements within your network, eliminating the risk of bottlenecks to the server, slow connections, and poor video quality.

Benefits of Livestream’s eCDN for Corporate Communications

Livestream’s peer-to-peer eCDN shares video across your intranet, utilizing a fraction of the bandwidth necessary from external servers. This allows you to stream high-quality video without interruption, without impacting your bandwidth or internal network.

Lower network costs
With our cloud-based eCDN, you’re not paying for higher capacity networks or any additional hardware.
Ease of use for employees
Using our eCDN does not require viewers to download additional plugins or software. They can still view your streaming video anywhere you would normally display that content. Additionally, since our eCDN is cloud-based, there is no installation cost or time spent.
Better quality streaming at scale
Viewers across the corporate network will experience better video quality and less buffering from using an eCDN.
7-day US-based support
Livestream Enterprise support experts are just a phone call away, any day of the week.

How eCDN works with your existing Livestream account

Many eCDNs work with desktop plug-ins or costly additional hardware or software. Unlike other peer-based eCDN solutions, Livestream requires no installation on workstations and no changes to your video workflow configuration. We use standard HTTP streaming formats and offer plug-and-play integrations for desktop.

Our technology is based on WebRTC, meaning connections are made directly through the browser and there is no workstation software to install, and no browser extensions or plugins for users to manage.

Livestream’s eCDN can be activated one time by your account manager and then can be toggled on and off within your Livestream dashboard to use as you see fit. There is no work or downloads required by the end user, and no additional hardware to purchase.

How do we set up your eCDN?
• First, we test the webRTC connections inside your network.
• Your account manager enables eCDN on your Livestream account and tests different devices on the same network. If you have multiple sites, we will test each site.
• Finally, Livestream will organize a global test with the company users and a test live video. After this, your eCDN is ready to stream.

Want to learn more? Existing Livestream customers can contact their Account Manager, or visit this page and complete a Custom request form

[Case Study] How Nikon Inc is Live Streaming Their Events & Trainings

With a large remote workforce, photography industry leader Nikon Inc was looking for a way to conduct staff trainings using live video. Originally, internal trainings were their only intended use case: it was cost effective and engaging. “There’s nothing quite as engaging as a live broadcast,” said Mark Soares, Senior Marketing Manager at Nikon Inc. Since then, their strategy has evolved into live streaming events and trainings. “We realized we needed to use live streaming to reach and engage our customers,” he said.

Since starting their journey with Livestream in 2017 (now Vimeo Livestream), Nikon Inc’s reach has exploded through live streaming their events and trainings. “It’s not just an add-on to our events strategy, it’s a key part of the strategy.”


Determining a Live Stream Strategy & Metrics for Events

In terms of developing a strategy, Soares and his team eased into broadcasting live from their events. “Our initial goal was to just get the ball rolling,” he said. “It’s intimidating when you first start; many things can go wrong with a live broadcast.” As such, ease of use and setup were critical to ensure they could get their live event running smoothly.

Their first time live streaming at a trade show was during the WPPI Conference in Vegas. To determine a metrics and ROI of their live streams, the Nikon Inc team divided the number of in-person attendees at the event in half, and used that number as a benchmark goal for total live viewers. “That was our guess,” Soares said. “We really had no metric to base it on because it was our first time [doing it].”

So, how did Nikon Inc fare with their first experiment? “We exceeded it significantly. We had almost 300% more viewers than what we had initially planned.”

“With a fairly modest increase in budget, you can reach a considerably higher audience [with live streaming].”

Since then, Nikon Inc has been on a live streaming rocket ship, launching a marketing strategy built around live. This includes major product announcements and trade show events, and has become a cost-effective way to reach a larger audience than even the biggest trade shows. “People go to trade shows for education, and a lot of brands bring education to the trade show floor,” Soares said. “If you’re already bringing that talent in, then it’s really not that much of a stretch to put a camera in front of them and broadcast it.”


Image courtesy of Nikon LIVE from NAB 2018 Day 2 – Corey Rich – Paralleling Still and Motion


Selecting Content for Live Streamed Events

One key driving factor to a successful live stream is the quality of the content. Soares’s advice is common (and always applicable): listen to your customers, and you’ll better understand what they want. Then, turn that feedback into content.

“Your end users are your best ambassadors. Take the content that they create [to inform your strategy], because they will inspire others to go out and do the same thing,” he said. Soares also suggests tailoring the content to specific demographics or niche audiences. For example, at WPPI, which focuses on wedding and portraiture, Nikon Inc brought in wedding photographers to share their expertise with attendees and live viewers.

“Take great content, great talent, and schedule it on a regular basis, and users will keep tuning in,” he said. “That’s why the audience keeps growing every single time we do this. You will add viewers to your event every single time. Incrementally, we keep expanding the viewership.”

Tips to Promote & Prepare for a Live Stream

Leading up to every major live stream, Soares and his team rolls out a turnkey marketing strategy to attract new and existing customers. First and foremost, Soares suggests building in paid marketing to your promotional planning. In addition to a paid social media campaign, Nikon Inc also:

  • Updates a landing page whenever a new event approaches
  • Sends email campaigns to current customers promoting their upcoming live programming
  • Features banners on their website with information about the live stream

Nikon Inc has found great value in simulcasting to Facebook Live, as well. “The viewership lives on social media,” he said. “While we get great numbers from streaming to our own site, we supplement that with our social channels, too.”

Don’t forget about the experience for your live viewers, too. “You’ve got to get great talent on camera that can speak eloquently to inspire your user base,” Soares said. “Look to give a great experience through the actual broadcast. We started with a single, fixed camera, and now we have many cameras where we can change the angle, etc — it’s very cinematic.”

However you plan to promote your live event, iteration and consistency is essential. “Start with something you can manage and build on it. There’s this exponential growth when you do these events on a regular basis and with great content. People will keep coming back.”


Nikon’s Technical Setup for Live Streaming

Wondering how Nikon Inc sets themselves up for success with their live streams? Here’s the equipment they use for their live broadcasts:

  • 2 Nikon cameras/lenses (of course), sometimes with a roving camera
  • Cameras are hardwired into a 4K Livestream HD550 (💡Tip: Nikon uses 4K cropping, which increases production level so two cameras look like six)
  • Livestream Studio
  • One back up Livestream Studio HD550

“Nikon makes cameras, but we are not in the business of broadcasting live events,” he said. “We needed a system that would be portable and easy to use, so that almost anyone could use it.”


Why Vimeo Livestream?

As a leading brand in the photography space worldwide, Nikon Inc needed an all-in-one solution that would make live streaming smooth for their large remote workforce and even bigger global audience. Whether internal or external, Nikon Inc’s live streams require a sophisticated workflow with a robust cloud solution, that was also portable and all inclusive. Vimeo Livestream fit the bill: a platform that makes live streaming simple and accessible, along with powerful and portable hardware — the Studio HD550 is Nikon Inc’s encoder of choice.

Livestream is the only end-to-end solution that empowers you to distribute compelling live content, engage your employees, and grow your business. To find out how to get started with live streaming, check out our “Ultimate Guide to Live Streaming Events” guide.