2015 promises to bring continued growth of video within the enterprise, so today let’s focus a bit on streaming media and one of our technology partners, Wowza Media Systems.
I recently sat down for a discussion with Chris Knowlton, Vice President and Streaming Industry Evangelist at Wowza, to learn more about who Wowza is, and how they fit in with Polycom's video content management solutions.
Q: For those who are new to streaming, can you introduce Wowza?
A: Wowza® Media Systems provides robust, customizable media streaming software and cloud services that simplify live and on-demand video streaming. Wowza was founded in 2005, and has customers of all sizes in over 150 countries, such as video streaming sites, schools, service providers, OEMs, broadcasters, and Fortune 500 companies.
Q: What business problems does Wowza solve?
A: Our flagship product, Wowza Streaming Engine software,
provides any-screen traditional, adaptive, and multicast streaming through a single extensible foundation designed to reach audiences small and large. With this software running on the servers of your choice, you can stream the best-possible audio and video to each user, no matter where they are or what device they’re using. Our upcoming pay-as-you-go cloud service further simplifies delivery by eliminating the capital and operating expenses often associated with setting up servers on your own.
Q: What IT problems does Wowza solve when used with Polycom Video Content Management Solutions?
A: Wowza Streaming Engine is typically used by Polycom customers to extend their video streaming reach. For many, it provides support for additional streaming formats to reach more viewers, especially in BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environments. For some, it’s about scaling out unicast delivery using an origin-edge topology on a large campus that is not multicast-enabled. Similarly, many customers install Wowza Streaming Engine on servers in remote offices to act as edge servers, bringing just a single live or VOD stream in over a WAN link from another location and then distributing it to tens, hundreds, or thousands of viewers on-site. For others, it’s about taking internal streams and distributing them directly or via cloud-based servers to viewers that are outside the corporate network, sometimes adding content protection to keep those streams confidential.
Q: Who are the ideal customers for Wowza?
A: I think ideal Wowza customers typically fall into one of two groups. First are those with straightforward streaming workflows that can be met easily using the web-based admin console of Wowza Streaming Engine and our Quick Start guides, video tutorials, and documentation. Secondly are those customers that have clear yet more complex requirements, and have in-house streaming expertise (or are willing to invest the resources needed) to properly plan and optimize their deployment. For either group, Wowza Streaming Engine is designed to enable flexible streaming media workflows, from on-demand playback to real-time live streaming, from multicast delivery within an organization to advanced transcoding, adaptive bitrate distribution, and any-screen reach viewers anywhere.
Q: Do any particular industries stand to benefit more from this type of solution?
A: Not really. Wowza customers span all industries and thousands of use cases, from small Internet businesses promoting their products, to large corporations improving their communications with employees. By design, Wowza Streaming Engine is high-performance streaming software that can address such a broad variety of scenarios.
Q: What is your view on the streaming industry? What does the future hold?
A: For many companies, streaming audio and video used to be a techy, nice-to-have capability that came with many technological limitations and inconsistent user experiences. With improvements in bandwidth, processing power, and streaming technology, HD video is becoming a ubiquitous consumer phenomenon. Similarly, as organizations recognize the power of video to educate, inform and influence colleagues, students, and customers, wherever they are, we see enterprises moving with purpose to streaming video. Video for every purpose, consumed on TVs, computers, and mobile devices, is becoming expected, and with ever-increasing quality. For more about the future, see my recent Wired.com blog post on 5 Trends to Look for in 2015.