The COVID-19 pandemic has driven a monumental increase in virtual event streaming, with some platforms seeing such events rise by 1000% this year. But for organizations that are new to this arena, planning the live streaming of an event can be an arduous process. Investing in long-term streaming infrastructure can also be unappealing to those simply wanting to test the water, presenting a costly roadblock to getting started.
While providers such as Azure and AWS can facilitate the foundation for live streaming, it can become all too easy for costs to multiply due to the virtual infrastructure existing well before and long after the event has been streamed. This is where an effective “dynamic event orchestration” solution comes into play. This technology enables businesses to band together the required resources to spin up an event right before it begins and efficiently decommission the technology post-event, providing a cost-effective and efficient streaming solution.
FLEXIBLE AND FAST SET UP
A dynamic event orchestration tool is primarily made up of two components: the schedule and infrastructure profiles. The schedule allows the hosting servers to be started and terminated in the shortest time possible before and after the event. Through infrastructure scaling, it’s possible to implement configuration files at short notice.
An adaptable execution plan is drawn up into a definition file, which essentially describes the resources that the business wants for its upcoming project. This file is fed into the chosen cloud hosting system, whether it be Azure, AWS, Google Cloud or another preferred supplier. Virtual servers can be installed in the cloud platform in under 10 minutes or even less in some cases. The network is then fully optimized at the virtual machine and server level.
Ultimately, this technology allows a live streaming project to make use of the tools when they are needed and shut down for when they are not. For prominent media company Claro, based in South America, this capability is crucial. Time-sensitive live events such as the news and motorsport races can be spun up and streamed with the right infrastructure supporting it, with resources geographically focussed on where the company’s customers are based, before being decommissioned during downtime.
SCALING TO MEET DEMAND
The speed and flexibility offered to businesses that leverage a dynamic orchestration tool are also matched by the ability to scale the service when needed. This ensures that the infrastructure can always meet the highest level of demand, without needing to pay for that capacity all year round.
For sports organizations with seasonal variances in demand, such as a summer window of live events, this capability is a necessity. Being able to plan in advance and scale up infrastructure and resources when needed ensures fans receive the best possible viewing experience, while reducing infrastructure requirements during the quiet months.
By looking ahead to high-demand events, broadcasters can avoid the potential complications of making infrastructure changes during peaks by pre-arranging the availability of increased resources. This flexibility also allows new infrastructure to be set up at optimum speed, even in the context of stringent time-to-market requirements.
MONITORING AND POST-EVENT CAPABILITIES
For organizations wishing to outsource the management of dynamic video orchestration, this delivers the added benefit of real-time monitoring to ensure the smooth running of events. Proactive monitoring can cover every workflow in the infrastructure, from the encoders to the CDN, ensuring all these aspects are efficiently running. A tiered monitoring system enables layers of human and automatic monitoring to take place, so any video issues such as lip sync-ing or video tearing that can be quickly spotted at the human level can be identified and corrected.
The benefits of dynamic video orchestration also stretch to on-demand requirements after a live streaming event has finished. It’s simple for organizations to facilitate an on-demand stream following a live event, with any integrations such as DRM seamlessly transferred over. Organizations can therefore benefit from a seamless transition into providing on-demand video, ultimately saving costs and time.
ACHIEVING OPTIMIZATION AND REDUCING COSTS
With the increased financial strain on organizations due to the pandemic, and the resultant uptake in video streaming, it has become even more crucial for live streaming to be fully optimized. With the live streaming market becoming increasingly saturated, it is key for businesses to ensure they offer a competitive advantage through adaptable and efficient solutions that ultimately benefit the end user.
This is where a dynamic event orchestration tool plays a key role by allowing for large cost savings through just-in-time deployments, scalability and flexibility for peak times such as popular events and comprehensive monitoring capabilities to ensure that the event runs as smoothly as possible. This ultimately allows broadcasters and wider organizations to approach an ever-growing market with confidence, now and in the coming years.
James Burt is the CTO of VUALTO.
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