The past 48 months have seen a major increase in work-related video consumption, illustrating the rising importance of this medium to achieving mission-critical objectives across the private and public sectors.
As video traffic on IT networks grows, 93% of enterprise technology executives report the need for capacity upgrades to meet end-user demand for video, according to a recent BTR-100 survey commissioned by VITEC. It is a trend that raises questions about how this bandwidth-intensive category of workload can be deployed efficiently without swamping enterprise resources.
To explore the strategic, operational, financial and technological issues associated with enterprise video traffic, we sat down with Eric Deniau—SVP of R&D at VITEC—to learn more.
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Q What is the current state of business video efficiency across enterprise networking environments?
Eric Deniau: Video has clearly emerged as a mission-critical category of traffic flowing through enterprise networks of industries as diverse as healthcare, education, and financial services. The pandemic has changed the relationship that people have with video in both their professional and personal lives. While it may have been associated with passive consumption behaviors in the past, we now see a growing number of applications in which video is far more engaging and interactive.
Corporate training is a good example and illustrates how video joins written and audio media as a mainstream medium for enhancing the productivity of employees. There is also evidence that video is improving the employee workplace experience. In short, the pandemic has normalized the role of video in the workplace.
This is good news. But it does create new pressures on enterprise networks, which have already been struggling to keep up with a rising deluge of structured, unstructured—and now—internet of things (IoT) data. Video traffic represents a major addition to the amount of content that must effectively flow through enterprise networks if organizations are going to meet their short-, mid-, and long-term objectives.
To this point, a recent VITEC survey revealed that the majority of data centers are currently utilizing 60% of their resources solely for video processing. This can cause other day-to-day business applications to struggle for adequate access to enterprise technology resources.
There is another interesting trend that needs to be understood as organizations absorb more video traffic into their operations. The pandemic revealed that many employees want to work from home. Others, however, are interested in opportunities to return to the office on a full- or part-time basis. This is affecting decisions about where organizations create workspaces.
For instance, some companies have focused on keeping—and reopening—offices in major metropolitan areas to attract young talent. Others are opening campuses and branch offices in less urban locales. Specific business sectors—such as medical, education and financial services—have always operated remote clinics and branch offices or campuses.
These changing dynamics raise questions about how to ensure that enterprise investments in video assets include these remote locations. Success requires a strong understanding of existing infrastructures and insight into how current video delivery and management technologies can support emerging use cases in distributed environments.
QWhat can be done to streamline and utilize fewer resources without sacrificing fidelity?
Eric Deniau: That is an excellent question. It is a topic that is discussed and addressed every day by the research and development team at VITEC, as we design and implement technologies that increase efficiency while keeping video quality high.
The solution revolves around managing the tension between standardization and innovation. We need to remain faithful to industry-wide efforts that make it possible for solutions developed by different players to interoperate while creating opportunities for organizations to differentiate themselves by reducing costs and improving performance.
VITEC works closely with standards bodies to make sure systems can be integrated with an array of hardware to enhance the ease of video optimization. To do this we must take into account hardware integration as well as workflow and software integration. We are active players in the standards bodies, participating in the development of resources that can be applied broadly and making many intellectual property contributions.
But these efforts at the standards level must be matched by internal initiatives to create differentiating value propositions for our customers. That is why we are constantly investing in new technologies and developing innovative algorithms that are based on the standards but which then go on to offer additional features and functions that are tailored to customers operating in different environments. We develop vertical technologies that can be integrated to optimize new and existing investments in enterprise video applications by making use of the best technology at the right time and the right place.
This tension between standards and proprietary breakthroughs creates opportunities to bring more efficient technologies to market that can be integrated into existing IT networks. The entire ecosystem benefits.
Q As we move forward toward a more efficient, high-fidelity video future in the enterprise, how important is it to ensure backward compatibility?
Eric Deniau: Backward compatibility has always been a very big concern for enterprise architects. It is also a critical consideration in standards bodies. Every time there is work to introduce new features to a standard—or the development of an entirely new standard—backward compatibility is on the table.
Organizations that have made major capital investments in their IT infrastructures—including video applications—want to see returns on investment for as long as possible. On the other hand, if you put too much focus on backward compatibility as new technologies emerge, the result can often overburden solutions by imposing constraints to maintain interoperability with older technologies. So it too is a delicate balance.
QWhat advice do you have for corporate technologists that want to maximize and future-proof their investments in enterprise video applications?
Eric Deniau: The first and biggest piece of advice is to remain committed to open standards. Solutions that incorporate open standards will be compatible with legacy systems while also making new investments in video technology future-proof.
The second piece of advice is to really think about the talent and teams that must be in place to leverage those standards to create innovative solutions and creative approaches to deploying video systems in the enterprise. Usage will evolve over time so it is important to continually think about new ways to implement. In other words, the challenge around innovation in video technology is as much an operational imperative as it is a technology development issue.
The final piece of advice is to make and nurture good partnerships. Deploying new solutions and new digital video systems is a matter of working with an ecosystem that shares common values and visions of the future across the different systems, operations and technologies that must interact effectively. Good partnerships ensure a smoother path and better final results.
VITEC’s technology innovation helped modernize NASA’s existing IPTV distribution equipment, enabling new functionality and extending the community that can benefit from — and contribute to — Artemis / Orion missions. Read more: https://www.vitec.com/success-stories/nasa
NBC Universal Studios in New York’s Rockefeller Center deploys VITEC IPTV solution for in-house video delivery monitoring video services with far greater reach and flexibility than previous conventional cable TV system. Read more: https://www.vitec.com/success-stories/nbc-universal-new-york-city