NBC plans to stream 1,800 hours of Olympic coverage over the next few weeks, much of which will take place during the work day. And employees will probably watch, too. A 2016 survey found that 55 million employee Americans (37 percent) would watch a live OIympic event if it aired during work. So as an IT manager, are you prepared for the effects this live streaming could have on your company’s network bandwidth?
Heavy streaming volume creates intense competition for your bandwidth. When too many employees become fixated on the next triple axle or ski jump, their colleagues may notice poor video call quality. Perhaps the audio becomes choppy, or the video jumps in and out. IT teams should be prepared for the possibility of lower-quality video meetings over the next weeks and educate their employees about the effects of bandwidth utilization.
What to consider:
As you prepare for Olympics and other popular events like March Madness and the World Cup, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Do you have a formal policy in place for streaming media during the workday?
While employees need the freedom and space to do their work, creating a few simple guidelines can help them stay productive and help you manage your bandwidth. For instance, perhaps your marketing or sales teams need access to social media to run campaigns, engage with followers, or identify new leads. But will Netflix contribute to the bottom line? Unless you work in the entertainment industry, probably not. Consider which websites take up the most bandwidth and whether they’re truly useful for employees when developing a formal policy.
Do employees understand how video streaming can affect network performance and the impact on call and meeting quality?
Often, employees do not realize the connection between these two. With a brief training or education session, you can teach others how streaming live video can affect not only meeting quality, but also access to corporate email and other applications.
Do you have a way to monitor network traffic, identify spikes, and intervene, if necessary?
With real-time access to bandwidth availability and spikes, you have the information you need you make smarter decisions. Web application monitoring tools can help you quickly identify issues so you can give employees the quality they expect.
Live video is becoming more ubiquitous in both our work and personal lives, and we’re all for it. Streaming can bring people together from around the world to share an experience, whether it’s watching an elite athlete shatter a world record or simply connecting for a quarterly all-hands meeting. But when it comes to scaling to support thousands of users, just make sure you’re prepared.