Category

Video

Simulive: Bringing Recorded Presentations to ‘Live’

By | Best Practices, Communication, Engagement, Marketing, Video, Virtual Events, Webcasts & Webinars

A simulated live webinar, “simulive”, is a scheduled webinar which streams a pre-recorded presentation while allowing organizers to engage with the audience in real time using interactive tools.  

In case you have not looked into simulive before, there are key advantages that are worth your consideration:

1. Ease of Coordinating Schedules

Your webinar presenters are all busy professionals, located in different offices, different cities and countries.  Finding the one time slot convenient for all which fits your marketing schedule can be a daunting task. With simulive, you coordinate the timing of the recording at the presenters’ convenience, and then broadcast the recording as live at a time convenient for your target audience.

2. Reducing “Live” Production Risks

Should we even elaborate more?!  We all have scars on our backs with production issues that happen from time to time during a live webinar.  Whether it’s presenter delays, networking and audio problems, or incorrect downloaded presentations, these degrade the attendee experience and leave a bad mark on our brands.  With simulive, you can avoid many of these problems, by pre-recording highest quality presentation, and then broadcasting it live from the cloud.

3. Addressing Globally Dispersed Customers and Prospects

Agreeing on the best time to schedule a live webinar to address the east, central and west coast US time zones is already a challenge.  What about the rest of the world? Simulive is a perfect solution that enables you to schedule the same presentation multiple times, using a recording of the original, each optimally timed for a specific region of the world.

4. Increasing Rate of Return on Marketing Spend

Simulive allows you to leverage a presentation recording multiple times, hence increasing your utilization of an asset you have already committed time and money to.  Meanwhile, the “live” nature of simulive increases the attendance, and substantially improves viewership, compared to on-demand utilization of the same video.

5. Engagement of Attendees

Perhaps even more important than increased viewership, simulive sessions give you the opportunity to engage with the attendees in real time, through online chat with staff, Q&A with experts, surveys and polls.  Engagement data is crucial in your follow up strategies, and simulive is a powerful way of collecting more.

Now, you might be thinking “hey, I see the advantages for the organizer!  But how about the attendees? How would they react if they knew the “live” session they are attending is pre-recorded?”.  

Based on our experience, the attendees don’t care as long as the following expectations are met: (i) the presentation delivers fresh and high quality content on the advertised topic, and (ii) they can ask presenters questions and expect timely answers.   When these expectations are met, simulive is a win for all!

At engagez.com, we take pride in our simulive offering. Our customers use Engagez not only for simulive but also to host live, and on-demand events.   We view simulive not as an alternative to live webinar but as a lower-cost means of offering more frequent live programming. Our calendaring mechanism further allows an organizer to mix and match live, simulive and on-demand sessions and create comprehensive and engaging events.  These events expand the concept of a traditional webinar, offering attendees more content and higher educational value, while increasing their engagement opportunities.

Best Practices for Hosting Video on Demand

By | Best Practices, Communication, Engagement, Marketing, Video, Virtual Events

We have come a long way from the days when hosting a video was simply putting a file on a shared drive and letting people download it. First with desktop players, we were able to play the video directly from a shared drive. This was a step forward but still painful since the initial players had to download the entire file before starting to play, hence costly and slow. The next generation of players were embedded within your HTML pages and were able to cache and start the video with some delay without having to wait for the full download. This somewhat improved the video experience but was not as helpful if you wanted to consume the content by jumping around the video. The shortcomings of these approaches were only magnified as the popularity of mobile devices exploded, leading to further challenges in maintaining a steady internet connectivity speed.

Today, the best practices of serving high quality VOD have substantially evolved. You experience these best practices when consuming videos on the largest of service providers like YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, etc. What is not obvious to the consumer is the amount of computational work and process flow that goes on behind the scenes in preparing an uploaded video file for that smooth viewing experience. These providers are addressing the consumers insatiable desire for flawless playback experience and ease of navigating/jumping within videos, on any device, and in most connectivity situations. As the cost of adopting these best practices become more affordable, more and more service providers will adopt them over time, yet many are not there yet.

As you evaluate the best solutions for your VOD needs, consider the following best practices and whether they are adopted by your service provider:

1. Transcoding

Having a single high quality video file does not translate into best consumption experience: depending on the situation, it could translate into wasted bandwidth for those on desktop/notebooks with high internet connectivity and poor to unusable experience for mobile users and those with slower internet speeds. The best practice is to transcode the original file, generating multiple versions of it, each with its own optimized streaming segmentations, bitrates, bit depths, and framing policies, targeting differing internet connectivity situations. This process is usually performed as part of the video upload process, prior to making the VOD available for viewing.

2. Adaptive Bitrate Streaming

Once you have adaptive bitrate versions of the video, your player and the server need to communicate with each other to leverage the most suitable content. Over the last few years, the best practice communication protocols between the client players and the host servers have evolved into streaming models that work over HTTP across wide distributed networks. These protocols are designed specifically to take advantage of “adaptive bitrate” optimized server content, hence referred to as “adaptive bitrate streaming”.

Adaptive bitrate streaming protocols are superior to delivering a static video file at a single bitrate.  As depicted in the image above, the video stream can be switched midstream to be as good or bad as the client’s available network speed.  It continuously adapts to any changes to the client’s network and CPU situations. To see the advantage of this approach, compare this to the buffering or interruption in playback that would happen when client’s network either did not support the quality of the native video, or the network load kept on changing based on changes to the mobile signal strength or others’ activities on the same network.

There are several implementations of adaptive bitrate streaming. If compatibility across diverse devices are important to you, then MPEG-DASH and Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) are the two most widely adopted implementations available across most devices and OSs.

3. Timeline Thumbnails

The ability to locate with ease the portions of interest within a lengthy video is a high value need by video consumers, especially in the B2B space. One feature that is very helpful in this regard is the ability to move the mouse along the video timeline and seeing the frame thumbnail images of that spot in the video. The smoothness of the frame updates as you traverse the mouse over the timeline are critical in making this capability useful and attractive to users.

4. Use of Content Delivery Network (CDN)

If you have a large and global audience, using CDN for video delivery will go a long way in removing latency and delivering a smooth experience for all users, regardless of physical location.

At engagez.com, we take pride in our implementation of these video best-practices. Our customers use Engagez to host live, simulive (simulated live) and on-demand events. Most live events also transition to on-demand after its completion and stay open for a period of time for further audience engagement. During setup, when you upload videos, whether for on-demand or simulive, we apply these best practices and ensure smoothest possible user experience for your attendees.

2017 Video, Webcasting and Online Event Trends: What’s On the Horizon

By | Video, Virtual Events | No Comments

Video, webcasting, and online events evolved exponentially in the last decade thanks to faster internet services and improved video technologies. Despite this, you perhaps haven’t had time to keep up with all these advancements. Ten years can go by in a hurry, leaving you realizing you have a lot to catch up on and update.

If you’re still using outdated technologies to create videos, it’s time to look at the latest trends in what’s possible. With the ability to do video streaming in real-time, you can create more interactive events with your prospects and existing customers.

Take a look at some of the biggest trends in video, webcasting, and online events to see what you can use in the coming year.

Webcasts Done With TV Style Production

Remember the days when streaming a live event over the net usually meant sudden video freezes and low-quality resolution? Those days are over now thanks to faster internet speeds and better webcast technologies.

One of the biggest trends seen this year in webcasting is TV style production methods. The line between online video and what you see on TV have already blurred considerably in the last few years. With streaming TV shows already a significant part of culture, holding a marketing event needs the same production values.

In other words, upping the entertainment quality of your online events should become a top priority in 2018. Whether in the B2C or B2B industry, making your event like a TV show is going to keep people watching, even on mobile devices.

Going Live Rather Than Pre-Taping Events

We all know how exciting live TV is. The trend now is to make marketing events the same way to bring more urgency and excitement. In fact, HubSpot notes 71% of companies now do live streaming to create better interactions with customers.

Going live during one of your business events while it occurs brings more exclusivity and prevents viewers from tuning out. Posting only a pre-taped event may mean viewers watching intermittently or skipping ahead.

It’s possible to go live with streaming services like Facebook or YouTube, so when you have a video service that can help you set up virtual trade shows or webinars with interactive technologies, you’ll mimic the feel of face-to-face interaction.

Producing Live or Taped Videos In Your Company

A key trend you’re seeing now is further simplification of video production. Also, producing video events in-house is another emerging process to save money and time.

In many cases, you’re seeing companies doing one-person webinars. All it takes is sitting in front of a quality webcam, and you can do a professional show right from your own company desk.

Using interactive technologies connects you with new or existing customers in real-time. This is extremely valuable, especially when it’s possible to stream these videos live around the globe to capture international markets.

Custom-Branded Webcast Solutions

One of the biggest emerging trends for companies is finding custom-branded webcasting solutions rather than relying on live streaming services like Facebook Live or Periscope. While those services are great for certain use cases, they don’t provide the branding and the interactive options professional services can offer.

You’ll want more engagement features like staff interaction, related and recommended content, expanded programming, partner presence, promotional content, as well as enterprise security. Plus, you need thorough analytics to study who visited your virtual event and how they interacted.  Most importantly, it’s essential to have complete access control to become the director of your own online event.

Contact us at Engagez to use our unique technologies to produce engaging webinars, webcasts, online events, live stream conferences, and virtual trade shows.