Advances in communication has brought the world together more than ever before, today. One is able to take on classes through Skype, chat with people across the globe, watch games or an event in real time – thanks to all the advances in communication technologies. Herein, video streaming that supports live or near live telecasts has come a very long way in providing enriching experiences for end users. Live video streaming sites are available in plenty in the market today – including both commercial and open source solutions. They come in all possible options in terms of speed, quality, and cost giving the end user ample room to choose from, to meet their needs.
Even a few years ago, live streaming was considered a very sophisticated, expensive, yet not so reliable option to relay information. If so, what has changed, making it so popular and easily available at this time? From an end user standpoint, it is worth mentioning that demand for live streaming sites and solutions have picked up given the global interests in events such as sports, film and celebrity events etc. In addition to such public events, even at a private level, there is enough interest and user base to use live streaming solutions for events such as graduations, weddings, birthdays etc. All of this growing demand has certainly created more supply in terms of solution providers. While the demand is encouraging to see, the market is not necessarily a rosy picture for the solution providers. There are number of things they need to bear in mind in live streaming production right from what cameras to use, how many and where to use, what encoding options to use, what kind of streaming bandwidth (fiber, regular internet etc.) to go with, the tests to conduct prior to the D-day to ensure failures are minimized, what alternate plans to leverage if the main solution fails etc. Since they will also have a diverse user base, they also need to have varied packages or solution offerings users can choose from. Also, like in any other discipline, this is a fast evolving space – in terms of players, in terms of advancements in technologies, in terms of the richness of the service they can provide (for example, mandates such as closed captioning for the streamed content may soon become important from an accessibility angle).
Players will have to continue to explore open and commercial technologies in offering a suite of services that is competitive, rich and compelling – as this is no longer a monopolistic market. It is getting into a zone of “survival of the fittest”, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the communications technology world.