Haivision: How to Bridge the Gap Between Enterprise and Internet

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Companies that want to bring streaming video into their corporate network, or stream their internal video to outside viewers, find there's no perfect end-to-end solution for doing so. That message came from Chris Gottschalk, director of technology for Haivision, who led a second day panel during the 2012 Streaming Media Europe conference entitled "Beyond the Media Firewall: Bridging the Gap Between Enterprise and Internet Media." What's left to them is to create the best solution they can in-house by integrating multiple smaller solutions, something that can be a challenge for companies with limited resources. Gottschalk believes that will change in 2013, when new solutions should come on the market as a result of acquisitions and mergers. That doesn't help companies trying to do it today, though.

For purely internal or external video streaming, the options are clear-cut. Internal video typically uses Multicast, a system unknown to those who work with consumer video. For standard internet video, it involves a workflow with a CDN, encoder, and distribution to viewers.

It's getting video into or out of the enterprise that's the problem, Gottchalk said. For the internal-to-external workflow, companies start out with already encoded video. While they could create two separate workflows with different teams running them to create internal and external videos, a better solution is to put one video transmuxing device on the network, a device that puts internal video into the right web formats. If possible to cut out extra pieces and create a simple workflow, do so, he advised.

For bringing external video into the enterprise, the solutions are more complex. Companies need to optimize their networks to support public streams. If everyone on the network wants to watch a public stream, such as an Olympic event, a proxy would block the stream to prevent a strain on the network. Instead of having that roadblock, companies need to add a solution such as Adobe Media Server or Wowza Media Server, to create multicast streams. That media server serves as an edge device bringing broadcast media to a network. The drawback of this solution is that it can be hard to set up, and nothing works out of the box, Gottschalk cautioned. Peer-to-peer distribution also works in a corporate network, but then the developer needs to build a custom app to serve Apple iOS devices. The developer will also need to build a custom video player

Companies also need to decide which mobile devices are important to support. Don't make the mistake of trying to do too much at the beginning.

"Somebody in marketing always says ‘I want everything,'" said Gottschalk. Trying to support every Android device is much effort for small rewards, he said. Start with HLS and Flash streams, and the audience will be happy.

"It's a lot of work, so choose wisely and start small," said Gottschalk.

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