Assessing the complexity of delivering video over the Internet

On Aug 3, 1492... almost exactly 523 years ago to the day, Christopher Columbus left on a voyage that would ultimately lead to the discovery of America. His primary tool for navigation: a compass. His discovery, an accident. A mistake, really- he was trying to find a western sea route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia.

This historic serendipity would not have been possible without the compass, which led to arguably the most influential discovery. In history. Ever.

Later explorers had the benefit of maps to help guide their discoveries. These maps provided critical insights. Today, it's hard to remember life before the proliferation of GPS navigational screens built into our personal vehicles. Navigation systems that drill into a specific driver's real-time conditions, from traffic, to where they are, to what's around them. Which is important if you're running low on gas.

Delivering a positive end-user experience on your video network is not too different. Do you have a compass? A robust set of tools to diagnose and resolve? Or are you going at it completely blind? How do you know when you’re running low on bandwidth- is it because the end-point died?

An imperfect analogy perhaps, but an essential and fundamental question nonetheless: how are you getting visibility into the critical factors affecting your end-users? What does your dashboard look like... in addition to table-stakes like usage analytics, does it include real-time performance diagnostics and trends reporting? What about the bottom line impact to the business?

How do you Identify, Troubleshoot, and Resolve issues that affect end-user experience? What is your triage playbook? Who are the key players involved, what does that ecosystem even look like?

These are the questions I consistently see the most innovative, established, and high-growth customers struggling with. And only the most advanced organizations are even thinking about these questions.

These terms and concepts are not original. In fact, in the Media industry they refer to it as: "The Digital Supply Chain". {Wikipedia} This new(ish) term encompasses the process of delivering digital media, be it music or video, by electronic means, from the point of origin to destination (consumer). In much the same manner a physical medium must go through a “supply chain” process in order to mature into a consumable product, digital media must pass through various stages in processing to get to a point in which the consumer can enjoy the music or video on a computer or television set (content capture, compression, quality control, content delivery network, etc).

A former employer of mine (Gomez/then Compuware/now Dynatrace) did a great job addressing this in general terms of delivering an application. Products like Vyopta can help provide key insights for collaboration tools and the networks supporting them. This post focuses specifically on the challenges, and complexity, of using the Internet to deliver face-to-face video from one end-user, to another.

Delivering video over the Internet involves a complex and fragmented ecosystem that must work in unison to successfully provide a satisfactory end-user experience. That’s “The Video Delivery Chain”- further illustrated in the image below.

When leveraging a cloud solution, your provider is responsible for everything to the left of the vertical dotted line. You, the customer, are responsible for everything to the right (follow the red arrow): your network, MPLS provider, other participant connections, the variety of room systems and devices attendees will use to join the meeting or event, etc.

Oh, and end-user error. But that's probably never happened. "Are you sure it's plugged in? Yes, that's correct... it does need to be turned on."

Think about how complex and highly dependent everything depicted below is... so many moving parts. How many time-bombs are just waiting to go off and disrupt your end-user experience?

What happens when that's the CEO of your large and rapidly growing enterprise? His/her meeting room drops, and you're left scrambling to figure out what happened, where the issue is, and how to ensure it doesn't happen again. Is it a bandwidth issue, network conditions, at what end-point, in what location, etc?

And is it just key execs that matter? What if it's an IT war room, pivotal Sales meeting, HR interview, Marketing brainstorm session, Customer Success or Support call that is interrupted. Is that any less important or impactful to the business?

Enter the Blue Jeans Command Center. Your command and control platform, a pane of glass and reporting engine that not only gives you insights into user metrics and meeting/event diagnostics, but also provides remote moderator controls to support staff.

Simplify day-to-day operations and empower Admins and Support staff with intuitive, powerful tools

Data collection, analysis, and presentation that can take weeks using imperfect data from disparate sources is now completed in minutes

High-level usage metrics available at a glance in the dashboard, with deep-dive analytics available with a single click (Jitter, Buffer Rate, Frame Rate, etc)

Instant Time To Value, provisioned with the push of a button

Develop a true partner playbook for more effective triage

Better Capacity Planning

What does Command Center provide?

Interactive Dashboards

Live Meeting Metrics


Historical Trend Analysis 

Real-Time Triage Data

How is your organization doing this today? We have some of the most innovative startups and high-growth billion dollar enterprises in the world relying on us to:

  1. First provide visibility into their video network and infrastructure (you can't fix what you don't know)
  2. And then help develop a playbook for rapid remediation (the key to consistently high-performing teams).

We're here to help. Just like the Compass and the Map. Only more like advanced GPS as you work to successfully navigate the labyrinth of The Video Delivery Chain. Given the proper insight, what would you discover that you just don't know today? You might be surprised... I know many of our customers have been.

That's why they love Blue Jeans. Our deep commitment to their success. Cost savings. Vendor consolidation. And most important: empowering our IT/Ops customers to innovate and really provide value, execute on their vision, and lead the business forward.

You can find the original post featured on the Technology Channel of LinkedIn Pulse here. If you found this interesting or relevant, please "Like" and "Share" the post on LinkedIn. I'd also love to hear any thoughts you have on the topic- join the discussion!!


Andrew Elliott supports Enterprise customers for Blue Jeans Network across Northern California. Andrew has been empowering companies to adopt Cloud services since 2001. He’s passionate about helping organizations drive innovation to cut costs and deliver better results, faster. In his downtime you'll find Andrew plotting his next adventure to distant lands, probably in a vineyard or on a beach. An avid proponent of social selling, join the conversation on LinkedIn and Twitter.