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Cloud Video Platform: A Brief Guide For Business Usage
Video streaming platforms have been steadily growing in popularity in recent years. Today, it’s almost impossible to have a conversation without Netflix, Disney+, YouTube or Twitch coming up at some point.
There’s an opportunity here for companies capitalise on this trend by using streaming platforms to increase their video content. One way to do this is by using cloud video platforms.
Cloud video platforms provide businesses with reliable, scalable and secure options for managing and streaming videos to their target audience. With no in-house equipment required, they’re a cost-effective way to ensure customers can view your videos on any device from anywhere in the world.
Cloud-hosted videos are an effective digital communication tool that can assist your marketing strategies and successfully drive business productivity.
In this brief guide, we’ll go through what a cloud video platform is, its advantages and the key features you should look for when choosing one.
What is a cloud video platform?
A cloud video platform (CVP) is a solution for managing and distributing on-demand video content and live streaming. It allows broadcasters, creators, and businesses to record, organise, and monetise their content without costly on-premises equipment.
CVPs have become increasingly popular for building brand awareness and reputation and boosting marketing efforts. Video platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo provide billions of hours of content and an easy, affordable way to connect with target audiences.
CVPs have also become important in modernising and improving accessibility for more sensitive use cases, such as allowing people to join CVP hearings for the HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).
As a result, CVPs are becoming a necessary tool to facilitate communication, grow customer bases and generate additional revenue. Incorporating them into your organisation is now critical to your business strategy.
The advantages of using a cloud video streaming platform
CVPs are becoming ever more popular, especially as businesses aim to manage and deliver seamless video content to their customers. They have other uses too, from court hearings and tribunals services to tutorials and live events.
Regardless of the use case you’re interested in, here are a few reasons why you should invest in a CVP for your organisation.
Unlike physical or on-premises video platforms, you only pay for your digital storage space, bandwidth and an internet connection for your CVP.
As well as saving on expensive equipment and startup costs, many CVPs have various pricing options, allowing you to find affordable solutions that fit your needs and budget.
Ease of use
Your target audience can also view your videos as long as they have an internet connection, no matter where or what device they’re using, ensuring an accessible video experience. Additionally, videos are easily shared via links and by embedding them on websites.
Another boon is that your cloud service provider takes care of all hardware maintenance. Depending on the cloud video platform, you might not even need to install software, meaning you could get up and running with your chosen CVP in a matter of hours.
With cloud platforms, your only costs are server storage space and required features. As your business grows, you can easily upgrade your storage, add new functionalities, app integrations and more to cater to an expanding customer base.
These upgrades may activate within hours, enabling you to quickly scale your services.
Backing up data and archiving old content is crucial to ensure no vital videos go missing, such as civil or family court video hearings. CVPs can backup all of your videos and even archive old content for you.
Archival storage is often slower but cheaper, providing you with cost-effective and potentially limitless storage options.
Cloud providers must comply with specific security and data protection practices too. This includes authentication measures for users and other platform-dependent features like:
- Video encryption
- DRM protection
- Online video watermarking
Ensuring data is secure is vital to building trust and long-term relationships, so cloud providers will have experts working behind the scenes to keep them up-to-date on any cloud security issues.
Key features to look for in a cloud video platform
When you start looking at possible cloud video platforms, you may be overwhelmed by the various features and functionalities they offer. By drawing up a list of your needs and desires, you can quickly identify the cloud providers and platforms that are best for you.
Several key features are a must when deciding on your cloud video selection.
A free trial
Choosing a CVP is no small decision. You’re investing in a cloud provider and platform to manage and distribute video content to your audience. So, instead of just reading reviews or hoping you have the right one, look for cloud providers that offer free trials, such as all-feature or money-back options.
These let you use the CVP and ensure it’s fit for your purpose before making a final decision and purchase.
CVPs allow you to share videos with your audience on any device, anywhere. However, with watchers having varying internet connectivity, devices, bandwidth and streaming protocols, they need to be converted into different formats to ensure correct playback.
Cloud transcoding is therefore essential for your video streaming workflows.
One big advantage of the cloud is app integrations, which allow you to add functionality to your cloud services. To maximise your video delivery and sharing, ensure your CVP has the necessary APIs for seamless integration and added functionality with:
- Mobile apps
- Data analytics platforms
- Other apps like Skype or Zoom
Video delivery (CDNs)
Content delivery networks (CDNs) are a distributed network of edge servers that cache video content to reduce buffering and loading times. This ensures lightning-fast access and smooth playback for users.
Choosing the right CDN is vital to providing seamless content and live streaming. Look for cloud providers with global CDN coverage to ensure close geographic access for all users.
AI might sound like an overused tech buzzword, but it can be a major benefit for cloud video streaming, where cutting-edge AI is implemented at little cost to you.
For example, AI can transcribe videos into multiple languages and index them to make it easier to find relevant content. This improves the video experience for your audience and saves you time and money because you don’t have to do it manually.
Consider which AI features you might need and look for cloud providers and platforms that match your requirements.
Video player features
APIs ensure your content is available anywhere and on any device for your consumers. But you also need robust video player capabilities to provide your audience with the best possible video experience.
For example, an HTML5 player is compatible with nearly every device. Additionally, it has video playback and quality control, ensuring responsive and smooth playback regardless of bandwidth or geographical location.
Data should be the driving force behind your marketing and business decision-making, so having streaming analytics is essential to gather insights into the effectiveness of your content and make informed decisions about future strategies.
Data features can vary greatly. Look for real-time analytics and user statistics, which will allow you to easily and immediately evaluate engagement. Other handy analytics include:
- Total views
- Average watch time
- Device, browser and/or video platform used
- Watch percentage
- Age, gender and other personal demographics
Cloud security can also be critical for your CVP. For example, magistrates courts, crown courts and CVP hearings need a secure live video platform that restricts where the video can be played and gives users control over permissions.
While your use cases might not be as sensitive, strong cloud security means you have control over your content and are not at risk of cyberattacks.
Cloud providers often deliver top-notch, cost-effective security, but consider other security offerings too to find the one that fits your needs. Features you might want include:
- Sharing or geographical restrictions
- Time-limited availability
- HTTP streaming
- DRM support
- User access and session control
- Encryption and watermarks
With a CVP, you put the responsibility for storing and delivering your video content into the hands of a cloud provider. As the customer, you should expect solid support options to ensure proper employee training, quickly answered queries and concerns that are immediately put to bed.
Look for cloud providers with expert staff, a reliable track record of providing good support and the ability to address any business and technical needs or questions you have. Additional support options and channels should include:
- Support FAQ and documentation
- Help pages
- Video tutorials
- Easy-to-understand guides
Choosing the right solution for your business needs
Cloud video platforms can be an essential tool for your business, providing a new marketing channel for vibrant video content and a wealth of analytics to boost future campaigns and brand visibility. They can also provide a platform for live events, videos and sensitive meetings like HMCTS hearings to take place.
Choosing the right CVP is vital to meet your specific business needs. Fortunately, there are many reliable, scalable and secure solutions available. That being said, picking the best one for you requires in-depth research on various features, functionalities and support options.
Versatile app integrations are crucial if you intend to use a CVP for live streaming, so ensure your cloud provider has the necessary APIs to connect video platforms such as Microsoft Teams.
Robust video player features, global CDNs for smooth playback, cloud transcoding and AI functionality are also essential, allowing you to deliver a positive video experience for your audience and increase their satisfaction.
Finally, always look for free trials. A CVP is a big decision, and you can only discover the right fit by trying them out. Don’t settle for anything less than perfection when managing and distributing your video content.
Originally published Apr 06, 2022