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.

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