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How to Make Your Live Streaming Scalable?

By Ziad Amir
A woman watching a live stream

Live streaming is rapidly becoming the most consumed form of video and it’s not hard to see why. It’s the easiest way to reach a large audience at the same time which makes for a more immersive and engaging experience than on-demand videos. According to ResearchAndMarkets, Live streaming market is expected to reach $184 billion by 2027. 

In fact, many businesses have found a way to leverage live streaming as a tool for corporate communications, marketing, training and change management involving internal and external stakeholders. Others yet are quickly following suit, and for good reasons. 

To a growing audience, it is essential that the livestream is scalable, which means it should have the capacity to accommodate large number of viewers without compromising the quality of the stream.  Now this is by no means a piece of cake. Achieving truly reliable scalability is a real challenge that streamers face. 

Challenges In Live Streaming

If you’ve made your way to this blog, that’s a good sign that you’re interested in leveraging live video streaming yourself. But before you get started, it is important to familiarize yourself with the challenges of live streaming and how to combat them. 

Coming from the era of live television, livestream audience has grown to expect a smooth and consistent transmission without buffering, rebuffering or black screens. But the inherent trouble with live streaming is that as more people start viewing them, that quality and timely delivery get harder to maintain, especially if the viewers are scattered across the globe. 

Distribution

When thinking about delivering your livestream to a growing audience, the most prominent question is ‘how. If your stream was meant for merely a handful of people in close geographical proximity, it could be feasible for them to directly access the content on your origin server without congesting the network.

However, this “direct” distribution model would quickly fall flat on its face when you target your live stream at a growing, worldwide audience because, with everyone reaching for the livestream content at the same time, you will end up with bottlenecks in your delivery system. 

Imagine a popular restaurant with only one attendant serving all of its customers at peak time. You can almost guarantee that about half of the people are going to leave the place with a lowered opinion of the establishment. And those that stick around will get a lousy service.

This is why a livestream, or any web content for that matter, is typically distributed across the internet through Content Distribution Networks (CDN), which works by planting nodes in various parts of the world, enabling your audience to pull the content from the node geographically closest to them. 

Device Compatibility 

When you’re trying to reach a large audience, you’re trying to reach a myriad of devices running different operating systems and browsers. This poses a challenge, in that your single livestream must be adaptable to all of them. 

You must have a player optimized for every device and the software it sports. For instance, if your livestream is not optimized for iOS users, you’re alienating almost half of your mobile viewers. 

Transcoding 

The video you shoot with your camera doesn’t get broadcast right away as it is. It has to be compressed and encoded into binary bits that the computer understands. The challenge here is encoding promptly to have the least possible delay in transmission.

Furthermore, with a growing audience, you can safely guarantee that they will have a greatly varying bandwidth at their disposal and, therefore, they will not all be able stream your content at the same quality and resolution. It is imperative that they receive different renditions of your stream to adapt to their bandwidth.

Just as with different devices, if you’re broadcasting a livestream at 1080p resolution, you’d be disaffecting your viewers with a shared WiFi connection and a fluctuating bandwidth. 

Device-agnostic Playback 

Being able to view the livestream on any device (PC, mobile phone or tablet) would, in turn, mean that the employees can view the stream from any physical location of their choosing as well, effectively ramping up accessibility and engagement. This feature is most useful when combined with playability on any bandwidth and adaptive bitrate streaming, where a viewer’s bandwidth and CPU capacity is detected and the quality of the stream is adjusted accordingly, all in real-time. This means that the video platform should be able to transcode the livestream to different renditions. 

Live Streaming Failure

One of the challenges with live streaming is failure due to increased load or poor bandwidth. The issues with failure is amplified when there are no backup streams available. We did a whole blog on how you can avoid a live streaming failure.  

The Bigger Challenge 

The reason these challenges are problematic is because if even one of them is prevalent, you will have considerable latency, which means there will be a delay in transmission from your camera lens to the viewers’ screens. This will greatly impede any interactivity because your audience will not receive responses from you in real-time. Worst case scenario, the viewers will face rebuffering, having to wait for the stream to load enough to play. This is most detrimental when the viewer is starting the live stream and all they get on their end is a black screen and a turning wheel.

With every rebuffering black screen, you should assume you’re losing a viewer, which, in essence, artificially limits your audience to a certain number, not allowing it to grow. 67% of viewers say that the most important factor in a livestream is its quality, which goes to show the gravity of these challenges. 

 

Scalable Live Streaming Through VIDIZMO

Now, as apparent from the nature of the challenges, your livestream is only as scalable as the platform it’s streaming on. This means that to achieve true scalability, you will need to invest in a platform that offers the features that combat those challenges.

This is where VIDIZMO comes in.

Video Distribution & Delivery

VIDIZMO helps you reach a worldwide audience through public CDN. In fact, enterprise customers with bandwidth challenges within their businesses can also install VIDIZMO’s Enterprise Content Delivery Network (ECDN) to distribute livestream. Natively integrated with Wowza streaming technologies, VIDIZMO comes packed with a scalable and configurable Content Delivery Networkthat allows you to optimize content delivery with Wowza’s globally dispersed streaming servers.

In simpler words, VIDIZMO’s integration with Wowza gives you a global network of servers, which empower you to reach a seemingly infinite global audience with your livestream transmission, regardless of your network’s bandwidth.

Additionally, in case the going gets tough, VIDIZMO’s ECDN is intelligently configured to deal with failures such as server crashes by falling back on other available nodes in the network, allowing for a smooth and uninterrupted streaming experience.

Platform Scalability

Every video streaming platform runs on a single or multiple limited-capacity virtual machines. As the number of viewers spikes up, the limited-capacity virtual machines start to crash; however, VIDIZMO offers a platform that allows you to set up infrastructure to be able to cater to large audiences or any spike in the viewership.  

Video Adaptability

VIDIZMO offers default encoding providers built in that convert the livestream into multiple formats to allow for smooth playback. It also uses adaptive bitrate streaming that allows users to view streams regardless of their bandwidth limitations, by detecting the users’ network and computing capacity and adjusting the quality of the stream accordingly in real-time.  

Paired with the CDN Connector that addresses network congestion and bandwidth issues, VIDIZMO can deliver live streaming with low latency, enabling real-time interactivity, that users can view smoothly at a bandwidth as low as 512 kbps. 

Finally, with its HTML5 based player and Web API based applications, VIDIZMO can easily accommodate users of all kinds of devices, mobile or otherwise.

Backup Live Streams

VIDIZMO allows you to configure backup live streams to which users can switch to, in case if the primary live stream is not functioning up to the mark.

 

Conclusion

Recognized in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Video Content Management, VIDIZMO has the capacity and capability for infinitely scalable live streaming with low latency. 

VIDIZMO can be deployed on cloud, on-premises or a hybrid model, available on the Azure Marketplace and AWS Marketplace.

To learn more about VIDIZMO's live streaming capabilities and offerings.

Learn More

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Tags: Live Streaming, Webcasting, Webinars

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