Livestreaming vs Internal Conferencing Tools – Which Is Best For Your Company?

Video conferencing, web conferencing, video streaming – as more and more platforms enter the online meeting space, the lines between them and what they can each achieve are fading. Every organization has different needs for their communications strategy and because of that, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to live video platforms. Companies examining their communications strategy are asking: What are the differences between livestreaming vs internal conferencing tools?

Which online meeting tool is a better fit for my company’s internal communications event? Can livestreaming do what a video conferencing tool does, and vice versa? Understanding their core capabilities and differences, as well as what they can each achieve separatelyand even together – will enable you to prepare and train members of your team with skills required of each. Let’s break down their differences and help you decide which is a better fit for your next live event.

Why using video for company-wide meetings is key for employee engagement

Video is no longer a nice-to-have for your internal communications; it’s a must-have. As Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff explains: “Rowing teams know that if you row together in sync, you’ll go faster.” By using video for company-wide meetings, your leadership can communicate their vision more clearly and consistently across a global workforce. In turn, employees also have an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback in real time, helping them lean in to your company’s vision.

Employee engagement can have a profound impact on your company’s business performance, with the cost of disengaged employees estimated to account for $450-$550 billion in lost productivity per year. Companies today are looking for more impactful ways of engaging with their employees, and live video is the only scalable solution for global companies looking to communicate as one team. It is no wonder why it has become the most popular and accessible go-to communications tool – the barriers to entry are lower than ever, and all-in-one livestreaming platforms have made it simple to broadcast your live event to an engaged audience.

Video/Web Conferencing Tools For Business Communications

What Conferencing Platforms Do
While the features of these platforms vary, the value of web and video conferencing is the same: they provide two-way video communication with audio, video, and screen sharing technologies across two or more locations. These online meetings are typically conducted via desktops and laptops – rarely through a full-scale production.

Examples of Video/Web Conferencing Platforms
GoToMeeting, WebEx, Skype for Business, Adobe Connect

Benefits of Video and Web Conferencing Platforms For Business Communications
These online meeting platforms enable two-way online interaction in real time between hosts and participants, with near-zero audio and video delay.

Challenges of Video and Web Conferencing Platforms For Business Communications

  • While conferencing tools are great for online meetings of small groups, they are less equipped for larger audiences. Some platforms have limits of up to 200 concurrent attendees while others like Adobe Connect charge based on your audience size. This also means that you will need to purchase another tool for marketing events or external communications.
  • Your participants may want to watch your video on-demand after the live event. While tools like GotoMeeting, WebEx, and Adobe Connect offer recording services, most conferencing tools aren’t built with sharing and overall long term content storage and management in mind.
  • The ability to introduce production value, such as adding graphics, videos and picture in picture, on these types of platforms can be extremely limited.
  • For the purposes of optimizing bandwidth to enable real-time sharing, conferencing tools are often constrained by video quality and various software requirements. Often participants have to download some software update to join the event, which can be confusing and time consuming.
  • Web Conferencing platforms have very restrictive video and audio quality, due to the limited audio/video capture capabilities, and low resolution encoding.

Livestreaming For Business Communications

What Livestreaming Platforms Do
Livestream technology enables you to broadcast HD plus quality video (1080p) to tens of thousands – or even more – in near real-time.

Examples of Livestreaming Platforms
Livestream, UStream, JWPlayer

Benefits of Livestreaming For Business Communications

  • One of the key differences between online conferencing tools and livestreaming platforms is video quality. Conferencing tools typically offer a resolution of 640×480 while platforms such as Livestream offer a more dynamic and professional experience with multiple camera angles, supporting higher video quality with broadcasts up to 1080p.
  • Livestreaming platforms are designed to make uploading, storage, and management of your on-demand videos in a central account easy. A great user experience could be the difference in whether your viewers choose to engage with your videos, long after your live event is over.
  • The best way to identify what can be done better with your next event is to look at the data. Platforms like Livestream give you the opportunity to get to know your audience across multiple streaming destinations with real-time data from our native analytics dashboard. This will help you understand how your employees are engaging with your message.

Challenges of Livestreaming For Business Communications
In comparison to most conferencing platforms, the live interview workflow on Livestream requires ample testing and preparation. While it can be done, two-way communication is extremely limited when it comes to a live interview setup. Our remote live interview enables you to switch back and forth one at a time between guests. You can invite as many guests as you like to the event but you can only select one guest at a time to go live. Guests will also only be able to hear the host speaking to them during the preview mode (when they’re not live on camera) so cutting back and forth live on camera is required.

Livestreaming vs Internal Conferencing: Which is Best For You?

Ultimately, Web/Video Conferencing Is for You If…

You Want Real-Time Interactivity
Video conferencing tools will work if you’re looking for a continuous back and forth real-time voice conversation with a limited number of people, with virtually no audio or video delay. If you don’t need to add graphics or other production elements, these solutions do the job.

Livestreaming Is for You If…

You Want a Versatile Solution for a Larger Audience
Depending on the software, most video conferencing platforms or online meeting tools have a limit on the number of participants that are able to join the event. Livestreaming, on the other hand, creates a more engaging and compelling experience, allowing you to reach, impact – and scale – to millions. Livestreaming also allows you to use polling, chat, and other tools to engage with your audience in real time.

You Want Simplicity for the Viewer
Some online conferencing platforms call for client software to be downloaded while others require a certain browser. Participants then have to call in via multiple toll free numbers depending on their location. With Livestream, all your participants need is a URL link and they’re all set to join your live event from any device, wherever they are.

You Want Production-Level Quality
Quality matters. According to Brightcove, 62% of people are more likely to have a negative perception of brands that publish poor quality video. As video becomes increasingly ubiquitous in how companies are communicating, think about what a smooth high-definition video experience can do to take your online meeting or live event to the next level.

You Want an All-in-One Solution
Looking for more advanced features otherwise not offered with entry-level products? Livestream offers an all-in-one solution by combining the Mevo camera with our live production switching software, Livestream Studio, and cost-efficient hardware, at a fraction of the price of a complete multi-camera live production.

How WeWork transitioned from a online conferencing tool to streaming internal meetings

Based in New York City, WeWork is an eight-year-old startup whose office-sharing concept is revamping traditional work spaces. Today, it has over 140 locations across 44 cities in 15 countries, and 2,000 full-time employees.

Initially, WeWork’s all-company meetings were conducted over a two-way video conferencing platform. As the company expanded across continents, it found the once workable workflow challenging to manage. Juggling hundreds of participants on a video conferencing call proved cumbersome. Employees often had difficulty connecting to the online meetings, and there was no guarantee that calls were secure. “It was either tricky to manage credentials with passwords, or it was just the open link,” says Nick Nienaber, Director of Audio Visual Services.

A new solution was needed to help scale its global communications, and Livestream easily proved it could achieve what WeWork was looking for. Today the company streams all-company meetings live and archives them for easy distribution.

Once WeWork began livestreaming, it was able to easily embed the Livestream player onto its own WeConnect portal, making it accessible only to employees, thereby “solving a security issue.”

In addition, Livestream managed the archiving on the backend, eliminating the need for Nienaber and his team to rush to get the on-demand video up after the event. “On Livestream, video is available literally seconds after the event is finished,” he says. WeWork’s all-company meetings saw an immediate boost in viewership following its switch to Livestream.

Nienaber said livestreaming’s impact on how meetings are now held at the global start-up has been immense. The ease at which employees can now access their all-company meetings has led to similar initiatives today across WeWork’s global family for its regional team meetings, and even public-facing events. “All-company meetings become really critical. The most important factor, above all, is “to create and maintain that sense of community with employees,” says Nienaber.

Think livestreaming is the right fit for your live event? Explore what our different plans have to offer, depending on your needs and budget.

[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.