An individual’s bandwidth connection speed to the internet is probably the single most important variable in defining a successful attendee experience on an online event. Webinar programs are designed to stream data to each attendee’s console in real time; therefore the amount of bandwidth that is available to each individual user often determines how much (or how little!) an attendee is able to participate. Bandwidth requirements from Webinar platforms are also cumulative, meaning the more functionality you wish to use – data, VoIP, Video, web cams, etc- the higher the bandwidth requirement for attending your event becomes. To top it off, bandwidth can also fluctuate for users depending on other traffic that may be flowing at the same time. Depending on your audience, you may wish to consider what content you will include when designing your event.
One thing we always relay to our webinar presenters is the importance of a solid internet connection when using ANY web conferencing platform. To test your connection speed, use the following speed test link: https://www.speedtest.net/ It tests both your download and upload speeds and allows you to choose the closest server that your ISP uses to get accurate information. Other factors that may affect presenter and attendee experiences are transfer rates, networks, and latency. It is also very important to note that your bandwidth speed is affected by what web-conferencing platform you use. Why? The short answer: Different web-conferencing platforms have different server locations. The more servers they have, the more likely one is located closer to you physically, which means better performance.
Below we have defined some important terms related to bandwidth speed that you most likely have heard about at some point or another. Understanding these terms can help you identify and hopefully solve bandwidth issues in the future.
Download is a measure of how fast your connection delivers content to your computer or local area network. This is the important number to test – it will determine how many or how smoothly different web-conferencing functions will work (audio, downloading content, video, presenter video, etc.)
Upload is the measure of how fast content is delivered from your computer or local area network to others on the Internet. This is important to note if you are a presenter who is uploading content to your web-conferencing platform. Especially when trying to upload those last-minute presentations or changes!
Kbps transfer rate = kilobit per second transfer rate. There are 8 bits in a byte, so we would divide kbps by 8 to get KB/sec transfer rate.
Transfer rate is speed at which data can be transmitted between devices. This is sometimes referred to as throughput. As files to download become increasingly larger, the highest data transfer rate is most desirable. Finally, I like to note that the simplest and most easily available method to measure your connection speed to the Internet is to simply download a large file and see what is the transfer rate reported in your standard download progress dialog box.
In a network, latency, a synonym for delay, is an expression of how much time it takes for a packet of data to get from one designated point to another. In some usages, latency is measured by sending a packet that is returned to the sender and the round-trip time is considered the latency. Low latency is extremely important for businesses and power-users. It’s not all about bandwidth! Conventional wisdom says that increasing bandwidth will lead to improved performance. In fact, the transmission control protocol (TCP) limits the number of concurrent bytes transmitted, regardless of the size of the transmission pipe and effects latency.
We hope you found this post helpful! If you have any questions, feel free to contact the V2 team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the more common questions we hear at V2 is what is the difference between a Webcast and a Web Conference? And where does video production fit into all this? In today’s blog we will simplify the difference between the two and explain how video production or Streaming Video Services fits into the equation. We’ll touch on the technology behind each, the workloads they require and offer some typical use cases.
A Webcast is a media presentation that is broadcast over the Internet using streaming media technology. A professional video production team is brought onsite to the broadcast location. A video signal of the proceedings is pushed through an encoder which is then streamed out to an online audience via a Flash-based console such as ON24 or INXPO. This type of online event is designed less for collaboration and more as a broadcast. Some examples where you may use a Webcast are for large events such as a corporate quarterly or yearly wrap up, investor relationship meetings or large e-learning seminars.
Web Conferences on the other hand are usually smaller, more collaborative meetings that allow users to both view and share resources such as PowerPoint presentations or PDFs as well as allow you to desktop or application share content, all over a TCP/IP connection. These meetings may also include polls and question & answer sessions to elicit audience feedback and participation. The presenters in Web Conferences may speak over a standard telephone line or by utilizing VoIP technology (or a combination of both), depending on the web conferencing platform they’re using. Participating in a Web Conference may require an additional software download although that is not always case. Ideal scenarios for holding a Web Conference may include a marketing product rollout, smaller group training sessions or internal team meetings.
So where does video production fit in? It’s more of a stand-alone process of capturing moving images electronically, editing those images and then broadcasting the final, polished product a number of different ways. Obviously when you think of video, television or home videos uploaded to YouTube come to mind. The way we think about it is more from the corporate video side where a client of ours would host it on a video streaming server. They could then share it with their employees for training purposes or other corporate communications via their website or thru a Flash-based web console and broadcast in a Webcast or a Web Conference.
And that’s where we come into the picture! Need Event Production Services to assist with your video production needs or to produce your webcast? Need a skilled Event Producer to guide you through your important Web Conference? We can do that! Contact Us today and let us know how we can help.
The three most popular conferencing codes are Java, Flash, and HTML5. Our blog in August hinted that although HTML5 has been crowned the heir apparent, it has its flaws. We documented Steve Jobs criticism of the power hungry Flash platform and a subsequent article about Adobe abandoning its Flash IOS development with their recent development of an HTML5 plug-in for Flash further validating that claim. For those of us who make event production our career, HTML5 offers a new world of opportunity that is free of the usual challenges of integration with mobile devices. However, companies that develop with HTML5 will face new challenges regarding security, data collection, and content delivery. These are the primary flaws we alluded to last week – streaming platforms are best utilized when they can safely and securely gather important demographic information about who attends an event, for example. It will therefore be up to developers to create HTML5 platforms that address the holes in the HTML5 boat. More on this in next week’s blog. Now, these challenges are not insurmountable, but rather, they will just require additional development to address. But it’s well worth the added effort.
Most online meetings today require a larger viewing area than what a cell phone or smaller tablet can offer. The HTML5 codec is being hard coded into all of the popular browsers, eliminating the need for a client download. Here is a recent snippet from the ReadWriteWeb blog. Dan Rowinski writes, “Every company that makes a browser has been hard at work to support HTML5 capabilities. That includes Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox as well as smaller browser makers like Dolphin and Opera. Facebook has become a big supporter of HTML5 and introduced a testing suite/browser scorekeeper called Ringmark to test browser capabilities earlier this year.”
According to a Forrester Research report, “Mobilize Your Collaboration Strategy,” 82 million U.S. consumers are expected to have tablets and 159 million to have smart phones by 2015, “with one third or approximately 27 million and 53 million using those tablets and smart phones, respectively for work.” With iPad leading the way among tablets, it’s reasonable to assume that HTML5 will also gain market share with its uniformity and advantage of not being a power hog like Flash.
It is important to remember, HTML5 is a platform in its early stages. The ReadWriteWeb post mentioned above refers to a Gartner report predicting that “next-gen web technologies like HTML5 are still five to 10 years from becoming a suitable basis for businesses.” An online event attendee today is going to have a difficult time consuming any readable content like PowerPoint via their smart phone. It’s up to today’s developers to create and run faster and more reliable HTML5 friendly browsers than their competitors. The faster these browsers advance, the faster the platform will evolve. HTML5 capabilities are available for developers now, so grab your popcorn and watch it take off. It should be an interesting ride! More questions or you just like chatting about these things? Contact me at email@example.com.
Author-Cam Nicholson, V2 Business Development, has been in the conferencing industry for seven years, spending five of those as a UC champion with Microsoft.
One size does not necessarily fit all.
One of our jobs in event production is to choose a web conferencing technology that will best fit our client’s needs. After years of testing performance and functionality, V2 is licensed and certified on the best solutions for clients: ON24, INXPO, Adobe, WebEx Event Center, Live Meeting, GoTo Webinar, Stream 57 and Lync. It is important to note that V2 has no web conferencing allegiance; technologies on our list come and go based on overall performance and as new technologies enter the marketplace. In event production there are many differentiators that drive the web platform decision process but from a high level there are two primary console archetypes; that of collaboration and that of marketing. At a granular level collaboration is generally done on ‘Progressive Download’ consoles and marketing events on ‘True Streaming’ conferencing solutions.
True Streaming – This refers to technologies which match the bandwidth of the media signal to the viewer’s connection, so that the media is always seen in real time. The word “True” is added to differentiate this type of streaming from “HTTP Streaming” (aka “Progressive Download”). Specialized media servers and streaming protocols such as RTSP are needed to enable true streaming.
Progressive Download – This refers to online media which users may watch as it downloads. Progressive download files don’t adjust to match bandwidth of the user’s connection like a true streaming format. QuickTime’s “fast start” feature is a progressive download technology.
Technology examples of true streaming consoles are ON24 and INXPO where Adobe, WebEx, GoToWebinar, Live Meeting or Lync are progressive download. Those of you wondering what the user interface differences between “true streaming” and “progressive download” just need think about YouTube and the download bar i.e., you know you are in progressive download because you cannot skip ahead and watch areas that have not downloaded. Compare this with NetFlix where you can bounce ahead in the movie the moment it starts playing.
Stay tuned next week when we will delve into why True Streaming tools are better suited toward marketing endeavors.
PS- As alluded to in the title, this is just the first chapter in the console V2 fit process, in the weeks to come we will discuss; tablet and cell phone support, meeting size, social media integration, repurposing and recording, marketing application integration (Marketo or Eloqua), E-Learning reporting (Moodle), CRM connectors (SalesForce), and finish with price.