|By Greg Pulier||
|October 21, 2010 11:15 AM EDT||
Hybrid Flash multicasting is the second and decisive wave of innovation that will enable enterprises to stream video without overtaxing their network infrastructures. It eliminates the usual tradeoffs between video consumption and network investment, regardless of increased video traffic in budget-constrained corporate networks. Hybrid Flash multicasting also solves the cost and complexity challenges of IP multicasting. By combining a new form of multicasting, known as application multicasting, which leverages a peer-assisted model of video sharing with an IP multicast network, a video stream can reach virtually everyone on the network using existing bandwidth and infrastructure. Hybrid multicasting finally unlocks the full potential for video within the enterprise by combining IP and application multicasting to deliver streaming media using the most efficient algorithms within a dynamic self-optimizing topology.
Hybrid Flash multicasting, available in the recently released Adobe Flash Media Server 4 (FMS4), arrives at an opportune time. The use of online video is growing rapidly within corporations. Industry data shows that video consumption inside the corporate firewall is growing at an unprecedented rate, following consumer trends of the past few years. Approximately 12 percent of large enterprises were generating more than 100 hours of video content per month in 2009, up from 9 percent in 2008. The number of corporations generating 25-100 hours of video jumped from 21 percent to 29 percent in the same period. At that rate, a company could have amassed a 6,000-hour library of video since 2005. In the consumer public, video as a percentage of Internet traffic is projected to reach 91 percent by 2014, with corporate network traffic likely to mimic that consumer pattern. Gartner Research projects that 25 percent of content that workers see in a day will be dominated by pictures, video or audio by 2013.
Economic Advantages of Hybrid Flash Multicasting
From an internal cost perspective, hybrid Flash multicasting enables corporations to keep up with growing video usage while cutting enterprise video expense across several cost centers. IT managers will appreciate it for the ability to deliver the greatest level of video service while minimizing the need for additional media servers, edge caching devices, eCDNs, and WAN acceleration hardware. By having fewer physical servers to install throughout the network, FMS4 promises a shorter deployment cycle than existing video streaming technologies and lower ongoing IT maintenance and support costs.
Hybrid Flash multicasting is also as valuable to media producers as it is to IT managers. Flash is compatible with all operating systems, so corporations can now stream video to Macs, PCs, and Linux machines with relative ease. It's compatible with all popular browsers, making the video experience seamless for users of Internet Explorer, FireFox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. Media producers will no longer have to produce video in multiple streaming formats when a corporate video is intended for both internal and external audiences, which is potentially a huge money and time saver.
Piloting Hybrid Flash Multicasting
On paper, all of the new benefits of hybrid Flash multicasting sound impressive. However, no one really knew how well it would work until it was implemented in a real-world, global corporate environment. To test hybrid Flash multicasting, MediaPlatform, an early adopter and advocate of Flash and Flex-based webcasting applications, worked closely with Adobe on the development of the industry's first Flash multicast-enabled player.
Adobe and MediaPlatform decided to approach a Fortune 500 client that had been using MediaPlatform's webcasting solutions for several years. We selected this client for the Flash multicast test for several reasons. First, their global network is enormous, with offices in 95 countries on six continents and over 100,000 employees. Second, this corporation is actually comprised of two enterprises, one of which is the original company with a significant portion of their network IP multicast enabled, and the other of which is a large entity they recently acquired whose network is not IP multicast enabled. Third, a number of the client's satellite locations around the world are not equipped for IP multicasting. Figure 1 shows a simple network map of the client as two entities, where there is an obvious division in multicast-enabled networks.
Figure 1 - High level network structure of the client site
The employees within the client organization had expectations of enterprise video and hybrid Flash multicasting that varied depending on their roles. The line-of-business (LOB) people MediaPlatform worked with wanted the highest possible video quality wherever possible. They were most concerned about latency and performance and anything else that could potentially affect the quality of an online event for viewers or executive presenters. In addition to quality concerns, they wanted video to be as pervasive in the organization as possible. The LOB stakeholders wanted to utilize the multicast test to explore other streaming possibilities, which were currently limited, as their remote offices and scattered groups inside the two-network structure were not able to view videos in real time.
The IT department, however, had a different agenda for the hybrid multicast test. The most critical issue they wanted to address was the ability for the entire organization to access and watch videos without causing network failures. To implement this test, the client insisted on scheduling it during the middle of a major network upgrade project. This complicated matters, but we were able to work around the project so that the test would not cause any adverse network traffic patterns.
The Test Solution
Our test solution needed to accommodate four important factors that the client requested:
- Variable streaming rates: These were needed to multicast across varying network conditions throughout the enterprise.
- Support for multiple languages: As a global corporation, the company wanted to make sure that hybrid Flash multicasting would support video streams in more than one language.
- Primary and backup streams: The video signal required a backup stream in the event that the primary stream became unavailable.
- Streaming from multiple studios: The client also wanted to be able to originate a video signal anywhere in the world and have it stream easily to any location. They had a goal of being able to produce videos and webcasts from either Studio A or Studio B and allow anyone in the to watch the presentations live without any network performance issues or latency.
The solution resembled the high-level overview shown in Figure 2. We started with the original video signal from the live event, which we sent to a battery of Flash Live Media Encoders (FLMEs) for encoding in different bit rates. We also set up FLMEs for different language versions of the video. Each language stream could then be encoded with a different audio track. Flash Media Server, running with MediaPlatform's software, organized the streams and made them available to viewers using MediaPlatform's OSMF compatible flash multicast player, WebCaster.
Figure 2 - High level overview of MediaPlatform's approach to testing Hybrid flash multicasting.
With multiple encoded streams hitting the server, the key to making hybrid Flash multicasting work is using MediaPlatform's capacity to make a quick match between each player and the appropriate stream. In a process that is completely invisible to the end user, MediaPlatform's software is able to connect viewers with a Flash video stream that was configured for their language, location, and bandwidth. When viewers are invited to participate in the test, they receive a link to a Web page that contains our WebCaster player. The player is set up to transmit the viewer's network location and language preference to the instance of MediaPlatform's software running on top of FMS 4. Using a table of IP addresses and correlated multicasting factors, MediaPlatform's software is able to match each player with a specific type of stream. The viewer then receives the correct type of stream. For example, one viewer might receive a primary low bandwidth stream in English, while another viewer in another part of the network might receive a high bandwidth stream in French.
The hybrid Flash multicasting test was a success. IT stakeholders were struck by how efficiently a high-quality video stream could flow through their network. The bandwidth usage was, in their view, amazingly and unexpectedly low. Audiences involved in the test were pleased with the quality of the video. For some participants, it was the first time they had seen a video on their work PCs, because previous network limitations had prevented them from watching online video. The business stakeholders in the media production department were elated that they now had the ability to produce content in a single format that could span the entire internal audience and also be simultaneously usable for the external Web. The results of the test prove that enterprise video seems destined for a hybrid Flash multicast future.
- Interactive Media Strategies Executive Web Communications Survey, Q4 2009
- Cisco Visual Network Index 2009
- Gartner Data 2008
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be
May. 24, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,245
Container frameworks, such as Docker, provide a variety of benefits, including density of deployment across infrastructure, convenience for application developers to push updates with low operational hand-holding, and a fairly well-defined deployment workflow that can be orchestrated. Container frameworks also enable a DevOps approach to application development by cleanly separating concerns between operations and development teams. But running multi-container, multi-server apps with containers is very hard. You have to learn five new and different technologies and best practices (libswarm, sy...
May. 24, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,164
SYS-CON Events announced today that DragonGlass, an enterprise search platform, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. After eleven years of designing and building custom applications, OpenCrowd has launched DragonGlass, a cloud-based platform that enables the development of search-based applications. These are a new breed of applications that utilize a search index as their backbone for data retrieval. They can easily adapt to new data sets and provide access to both structured and unstruc...
May. 24, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,970
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
May. 24, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 3,987
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
May. 24, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 5,298
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
May. 24, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,255
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists will peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fil...
May. 24, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,997
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
May. 24, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 6,782
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
May. 24, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,809
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
May. 24, 2015 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 4,328
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
May. 24, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,420
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
May. 24, 2015 06:30 AM EDT Reads: 5,587
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
May. 24, 2015 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,507
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
May. 24, 2015 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,490
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
May. 24, 2015 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,959
The Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS) market will grow to $6.4B by 2018. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, will begin by walking the audience through the evolution of Workspace as-a-Service, where it is now vs. where it going. To look beyond the desktop we must understand exactly what WaaS is, who the users are, and where it is going in the future. IT departments, ISVs and service providers must look to workflow and automation capabilities to adapt to growing demand and the rapidly changing workspace model.
May. 24, 2015 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 3,256
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
May. 24, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,067
One of the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things is and will continue to be on data; specifically data volume, management and usage. Companies are scrambling to adapt to this new and unpredictable data reality with legacy infrastructure that cannot handle the speed and volume of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright, will discuss how companies need to rethink their data infrastructure to participate in the IoT, including: Data storage: Understanding the kinds of data: structured, unstructured, big/small? Analytics: What kinds and how responsiv...
May. 24, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,574
Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at home including open source hardware, the raw materials required and the options available to power s...
May. 24, 2015 03:30 AM EDT Reads: 4,086
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
May. 24, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,791