Win Hearts and Minds With Livestreaming

Over the next few weeks US voters will focus on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and their running mates at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Their messages will carry well beyond traditional TV with the help of livestreaming. The Republican National Convention in Cleveland will provide a 360 livestream. This will be one of the first high profile events streamed in 360 degrees. Twitter announced a deal with CBS to livestream the conventions whenever they are in session.

 

Image: Facebook Live has a map of every current live broadcast globally.

Read more

Categories:

You Don’t Think You Need An Online Video Platform? Think again.

If your idea of “doing video” means having a YouTube channel, then you need to up your game. While a freemium player like YouTube can be an important part of an overall video strategy, it shouldn’t be the only part. We detail that and more in Forrester’s Vendor Landscape: Online Video Platforms For Sales And Marketing
 
Last year marked the first time that digital video outpaced every other online activity in time spent. It even eclipsed social media. If your customers are spending time with video, then you need to be there too. 
 
Online video platforms or OVPs used to serve media and broadcasting companies. OVPs took charge in streaming media assets online. They still do, but their roles have expanded and now they serve online sales and marketing operations, too.
 
Video is an important component in each step of the customer journey. Brand videos fit into the discover phase, while product demonstrations are important in the buy segment. User generated content and personalized videos fit into each stage of the process and OVPs support and enable them. 
Online video platforms or OVPs should be an essential part of your strategy because they support your efforts to:
 
Read more

Launch Your OTT App Faster

When was the last time you watched OTT programming? If you’re a millennial there’s an overwhelming chance (89%) that you watched it in the last week. Amazon’s vice president of video wants to capture 100% of OTT services in the US and integrate them onto the Fire platform. That means Application Development & Delivery Professionals need to respond to and support this trend.


Amazon's Michael Paull speaking at NAB 2016. 

OTT or over-the-top lets you watch video (repurposed television programming or otherwise) through an app or device like a Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire or game console. They’re big with cord cutters, cord nevers and cord shavers as a way to reduce cost and increase selection. At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference in Las Vegas, Michael Paull the vice president of digital video at Amazon discussed discussed an OTT push for the company, where he revealed his goal of signing up 100% of SVOD (subscription video on demand) services in the US.

As an AD&D pro you cannot ignore the implications of OTT. You need to answer these questions:

  • Will you partner? Amazon made it clear that it’s making a big push to consolidate OTT players. It has 30 US SVOD services on its Fire TV platform and it’s hoping to grow. Partnering can mean growing your audience, but splitting your revenue; surrendering about 30% is standard. 
Read more

4K Applications Beyond Plain Television

As we wrote in “Don’t Ignore 4K Like You Did 3D” the 4K format will be an important driver for technologies beyond just sharper TV shows and movies. At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference I went hands on with the Mevo, a 4K camera that outputs a 720p feed and turns your phone into a control room. A single Mevo creates multiple shots and lets you cut between them or pan around the frame instead of moving the camera.   

Cameras and technologies like this are important to note for AD&D pros, because they may have to support them for internal company meetings or for external productions. It could mean a new workflow for producing video or perhaps beginning to support more frequent live broadcasts.  In my report I detailed how a single camera like this could replace multiple pan-tilt-zoom cameras, saving enterprises expensive hardware investments.  Here’s my demo video of the hardware and software that will be out this summer.  

And while we’re talking about 4K, let’s not forget that 8K is on the horizon, albeit a distant one. Canon had an 8K prototype television at its booth. There was even a magnifying glass so that you could see video in even more detail. One thing you didn’t see were pixels. Japan’s public broadcaster NHK is already piloting 8K broadcasts with a resolution of 7,680 x 4320 pixels in the coming years. Is there more after 8K? That seems to the maximum that our human eyes can discern so likely no.   
 
Read more

Categories:

4K Means More Than Just Cooler Movies

The 4K revolution is coming. The format, which boasts four times the resolution of full high definition, will impact more than just the media and entertainment industries. 4K in the operating room could consolidate the myriad of displays into a single one thanks to the increased resolution. For sales and marketing it can create more convincing virtual reality experiences. And in enterprises it can enable better collaboration and reduced camera hardware costs for video conferencing. 
 
Read my full report on 4K.
 
With its increased resolution, 4K can make the picture look better, but the format creates specific challenges for online video platforms (OVPs) and content creators. 
 
The higher bit rates and larger files create a delivery problem that OVPs and a new codec can help solve. The format also requires more storage and specialized hardware for production and decoding. Android devices will play an important role in the 4K ecosystem because its chipset supports hardware decoding of H.265. 
 
4K will quicken the growth of virtual reality by delivering more immersive and lifelike experiences. With a higher resolution native video file, the resulting sliver delivered in VR will be higher resolution as well. 
 
 
Read more

Categories:

Facebook’s Live API: It’s Time To Evaluate Your Livestreaming Strategy

Live video gets 3 times the amount of engagement as non-live video and that’s one of the reasons why Facebook is releasing its Live API to developers. Here’s what you need to know. 
 
Until now, a limited set of Facebook users have been able to go live from their smartphones; broadcasting real time video to followers and fans. They could respond to submitted text comments in real time. With the API release we’ll start to see higher quality live video hit newsfeeds because broadcasters will be able to plug their professional platforms into the system. It’s not just broadcasters though who will benefit from the API. An auto maker could give a live tour of a factory and field questions in real time. Or concert venues could give a behind the scenes look ahead of a performance. 
 
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company’s F8 conference. (Credit: Facebook)
 
At the F8 developer conference Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced the live platform with a DJI drone that was livestreaming video directly to Facebook. The previous smartphone-only livestreaming setup didn’t allow this.
 
With this rollout, Application Development & Delivery Professionals need to consider:
 
Read more

Microsoft's Project Rigel pushes Skype Meeting everywhere

You don't need a $20,000 computer to collaborate on a Word doc anymore. Microsoft's Project Rigel will bring a Skype Meeting experience to any meeting room with a display or projector. 

Previously the videoconferencing collaboration technology was only available to users of Microsoft Surface Hub, a large screen computer ranging in price from $9,000 to $22,000. 

If you're not familiar with how Surface Hub works or what collaboration with it may look like, here's a video.

Surface Hub married document collaboration, whiteboarding and video conferencing into a single system with the obvious drawback of the initial hardware investment. With wide ranging enterprise implications for AD&D pros, Project Rigel will: 

  • Democratize the technology. Project Rigel lowers the barrier to entry to any meeting room with a display or projector. 
  • Force Windows 10 upgrades. Rigel will only work on machines running Windows 10 so for enterprises that are holding back, this could be the push needed. 
  • Make Office a stronger application for collaboration. Google's suite of productivity apps led the charge in collaboration, making it free and easy co-edit documents, spreadsheets and slideshows. With this announcement, Microsoft could recapture lost market share. 
  • Push hardware investments in Polycom and Logitech. The two VC companies partnered with Microsoft and certified elements of their portfolios to work with Project Rigel. These include the Polycom RealPresence Trio and CX5100 and Logitech ConferenceCam Connect, ConferenceCam GROUP and PTZ Pro Camera. 
Read more

Vidyo, Xiaomi challenge Apple Facetime with multi-point VC

Look out Apple, Xiaomi is coming for you.

China's smartphone juggernaut is using technology from Vidyo to bring multi-point video conferencing to the masses. In the age of the customer, AD&D pros need to take note because mobile is often the driver for business transformation. 

Xiaomi (pronounced shaow-me) is a device maker that up until recently has been driving huge sales, growing 227% in 2014. That number drastically shrank in 2015 so it appears that video conferencing is part of a differentiation strategy.

The calling app, Mi Video (seen left) will be pre-installed on the company's new flagship device, the Mi 5, but it's also available for free on iOS and Android devices. The difference with Mi Video is that it lets consumers do multi-point video conferencing. Every other consumer VC service only allows for point-to-point conversations on mobile. For example, with Apple's Facetime you can only videochat with one other person.

For AD&D pros there are a few important points to note:

  • Forrester research encourages organizations to use tools like video conferencing to enhance day-to-day interactions. There is more value than just cutting travel expenses. 
Read more

Virtual reality video is doomed, unless...

Virtual reality and 360 videos continue to gain momentum, but one obstacle that could stop them in their tracks is the lack of an analytics standard.
 
Virtual reality or 360 video (synonymous for this post) deliver immersive experiences. If you have never consumed VR video, imagine standing inside a globe with content flowing all around you. 
 

 

Video analytics can be robust, but 360 introduces new challenges. Instead of a “lean back” experience, viewers of VR video take an active role in deciding where to focus. This means that success can’t be defined by views alone. Application Development & Delivery professionals will either need to develop their own analytics scheme or partner with a third party firm. 
 
In order to understand 360 analytics, we first need to understand the format. 360 video is captured by multiple cameras and stitched into a common resolution like 1920 by 1080 pixels. The flattened (or equirectangular) video allows you to see everything at once. In order to create an immersive VR experience, that flattened video is then wrapped around a sphere using special metadata. Viewers can focus on a sliver of the video at a single time. 
 
If your team is looking to deploy VR video, Application Development and Delivery professionals need to figure out how to define success. A few options might include:
 
Read more

Chipotle Used Video To Address Its Entire Workforce. Could You?

What happens when your business is food and it sickens 500 people? If you’re Chipotle you close your stores and produce an all-hands video address with your executives.

The company closed its 1,971 US stores on Monday for four hours so that employees could attend a company meeting hosted by its co-CEOs Monty Moran and Steve Ells.

The setup was elaborate with studio lights, multiple cameras and a teleprompter. Chipotle took this seriously and while the content of the address was for employees the pomp and circumstance was for the public.

 

Read more