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 ISC Sports Network blends live streaming with video subscriptions

When Greg Maish, President of ISC Sports Network, began using Vimeo Livestream, his goal was to live stream sports from around Indiana into the homes of surrounding communities. “We had this vision of a single place where people can come and see local sports,” he said. “We wanted it to be accessible and readily available, for all of our sports fans.”

In just four years, ISC Sports has grown from strictly live streaming games into a full-fledged online channel, using Vimeo OTT to offer live and on-demand sports content. Learn more about how Maish used Vimeo to scale his local sports business, grow his audience, and monetize video content in our interview below.

Growing from live streams to on-demand video

Working in telecommunications for most of his career, Maish understood the trajectory of cord-cutting behavior, especially those who opt into OTT content, or services that go “over the top” of traditional cable providers. “At the end of the day, we all are TV consumers — but we are also very much OTT consumers, whether it’s Roku, Amazon, Chromecast, or even on our mobile devices,” he said.

After digging into his viewers’ behavior in Vimeo Livestream’s analytics, Maish made an interesting discovery. Despite the in-the-moment experience of live sports, there was a surge in broadcast views after the events ended. “It’s an interesting dynamic. We’ll get maybe the same number of views that we get during the game itself,” he said.

With this intel, Maish saw an opportunity to grow his audience with OTT. “Vimeo OTT was the piece that was missing,” he said. “We wanted a ready-to-go, fully developed solution. It’s been a real easy way in [to the OTT industry],” he said, referring to the simple content management tools and branded apps available in the platform.

Generating and growing ad revenue with Vimeo

For many broadcasters, advertising is a critical source of revenue. Admittedly, “local sports is not always that easy to sell,” Maish said (ISC Sports competes with 10 Division I NCAA colleges in the Hoosier state). Using Vimeo OTT’s analytics, Maish was able to pinpoint the number of viewers his productions brought in, where those views came from, their watch time, and more.

“[The analytics] give us great feedback on stuff we would normally guess on,” he said, and unlike other television measurement models, the data is precise. “It’s not a guess, it’s not an estimation — it’s really what’s happening.” Providing quantitative data to advertisers, and subsequently guaranteeing that their product or service will be seen, makes for a straightforward transaction.

Tips to live stream sports

ISC Sports is a prime example of starting scrappy and scaling quickly. How did they achieve their success with building a local sports network in just four years?

1. Know your vision. “You’ve really got to have a vision when you get started,” he said, while acknowledging that it can (and likely will) change. “Ours has evolved over time.

2. Top-notch, reliable distribution. Your business won’t gain traction unless you’re broadcasting quality content to bring in and maintain viewership. “That’s where having a partner like Vimeo plays into our business strategy,” he said. “With Vimeo, we know that when we’re out streaming, it will work. It’s always just worked, and that’s been a key ingredient in our success.”

In the end, Maish remains invested in and reliant on Vimeo to support ISC because of the team behind the platforms. “One thing we’ve learned as both a community-facing service provider and from dealing with vendors, is that loyalty is everything to us,” he said. “If we feel secure in that relationship, we will preach it from the rooftops.”

“When a vendor does what they say they will do and they do it well, we will be vocal to say, ‘These are the guys you want.’ Looking at what we have with Vimeo, we will share the good news with anyone who needs to hear.”

Engaged audiences spark business growth

Through their highly-engaged audience and growing advertising base, ISC Sports now broadcasts all over Indiana. “Our production team continues to grow,” Maish said. “Even for a local game, we may have 10 guys there doing things. We’ve had to evolve into multiple crews, trying to cover as much as we can.”

Fortunately, as demand grows, so does ISC Sports’ bottom line. “What we’re spending is very manageable,” he said, referring to Vimeo’s Livestream and OTT price points. “[It’s] something we can not only pay for, but it makes it a profitable endeavor for us.”

Learn more about how to grow your business — and audience — with on-demand video in our guidebook, The 2018 OTT Revolution. By analyzing 1.3B consumer data points, we took the guesswork out of how viewers consume and subscribe to video content, empowering you to focus on expanding your reach and maintaining subscribers.