How to Choose a Cloud Video Streaming PlatformMay 13, 2022
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What Is Cloud Streaming?
Cloud streaming refers to streaming services and software that work without an on-premise server. It has become somewhat of an outdated term, so most people in the streaming industry have started using different phrases to describe cloud streaming. You’ll see references to video platforms, live streaming as a service, and more. Whatever you prefer to call it, cloud streaming is all about accessing your streaming software online.
Why Should I Choose Cloud Streaming?
Our customers choose our cloud services over our on-premise streaming software for various reasons. Often, it’s a much more cost-effective solution. You don’t have to invest in the infrastructure required to house and run the server and all the additional hardware that comes with it.
Additionally, video streaming has made its way into nearly every industry, so many businesses leveraging streaming don’t have the technical experience required to run and maintain it. Certain sectors and use cases require or benefit from on-premise servers. For instance, government and surveillance organizations often need their technology to be offline or behind a firewall.
We’ve also found that many of our customers need our video platform’s speed and scalability. By accessing your streaming setup in the cloud, you can rely on Wowza to scale streams up and down in minutes without extra hardware or maintenance. We also have the infrastructure to get you up and running fast. The user interface is accessible from anywhere with a solid internet connection and is easy to use to get started quickly.
How Does It Work?
The platform you’re using did all the necessary investing in infrastructure and expertise. It hosts everything, transcodes and delivers the streams, and maintains the cloud streaming server for you. This is what a cloud streaming service does at its core, but the transcoding aspect deserves more attention. It’s what enables you to distribute your streams in different formats to reach a variety of devices on various connection types.
It’s also important to note that some transcoders do not have video on-demand capabilities. If that’s something you need for your workflow, make sure your cloud streaming server offers both live and VOD streaming.
What Features Should I Look For in Cloud Streaming Software?
You’ll want to find a video platform that meets the needs of your specific workflow. Here are all the commonly found features you may want to look out for:
Content Management System (CMS): A CMS is essential for any cloud streaming platform. To stream live or VOD content, you need a way to manage, organize, and share it.
CDN: Content delivery networks expand your reach, allowing you to stream to any audience, anywhere. The best video platforms enable you to choose between different CDN providers based on your needs and budget.
Analytics: You’ll want to look for two types of analytics. The first, usually referred to as stream metrics, helps you monitor your streams. You’ll know in real-time if you run into any problems with delivery or speed, and you can ensure stream health. The other type of analytics that many cloud streaming platforms have relates to your audience. You can see how many people are tuned in, where they are, and their engagement.
Developer Tools: Some cloud video streaming platforms offer APIs and other developer tools to help you build your solution. Not all video platforms are designed with developers in mind. If that’s something you’re likely to need, make sure you review their documentation to see what options you’ll have to work with.
Security: First of all, you need to be able to rely on your provider to maintain your security. Look for SOC-II compliant options for excellent safety. Additionally, you may need additional security properties such as token authorization, stream-level encrypting, and digital rights management.
Player: It’s always a plus if you can get multiple services from one vendor rather than having to piece together various parts of a workflow from different companies. Always look for cloud streaming platforms with a player, which will also tie in with analytics and monetization. It’s much harder to get either of those features working if the HTML5 player isn’t included.
Monetization: Obviously, not all video streaming applications are designed to make money, but plenty do exist. Look for monetization options such as pay-per-view, ad insertion, and subscriptions.
Live Recording: This is an excellent feature for when you want to distribute your live content again later as VOD. Some platforms record your live stream and then automatically upload them into the CMS so you can redistribute them as you please.
Cloud Streaming With Wowza
We first brought our cloud streaming solution to the market in 2015 and named it Wowza Streaming Cloud based on the trends and way of thinking at the time. However, that way of thinking has drastically changed in the past few years. We’ve witnessed a growing need for a more robust and feature-rich cloud streaming platform, so we decided to revamp our offering entirely and rename it Wowza Video.
Our video streaming platform is just as quick and easy to use as ever. You can still rely on our cloud streaming technology that powers our live and VOD transcoder, but the main difference is it now offers nearly all of the features listed above.