Use streaming, don’t be afraid of it!

Use streaming, don't be afraid of it!

Streaming is becoming a trend in the meeting industry. It is used by professional networks and very suitable for business events.

1. What is it?
Streaming (also known as “live streaming” to distinguish it from the streaming on demand) is the service of online live broadcast. Today it’s becoming a trend in the meeting industry with good reasons.
Use streaming, don't be afraid of it!From a functional point of view live streaming allows to expand the users base of an event, on the symbolic level it’s an efficient way to involve more the audience: being “live” is very satisfying, and attending even one live for us is exciting. Everything happens “here and now”. It’s a modernity certificate for the event and the Company.
Live streaming isn’t a new thing; big events and the professional networks have been using it for 15 years (do you recall the connections a few seconds late?), but only nowadays, with the improvement of the internet connections and Facebook’s take over, it reached a very wide diffusion and moreover the technologic and economic accessibility. Shortly: doing a live streaming became enough easy and cheap, but it’s also a great effect.

Use streaming, don't be afraid of it!2. You can’t be out of it
Dear Planner, if you’ve only organized live events “on attendance” so far, you might want to achieve a new professional ability with some basics on how to enrich your events with live streaming. And at least for these 2 reasons:
– knowing how to move in this level gives you a big advantage compared to the competitors;
– as a trend, your clients will ask for it more often.
Live streaming can bring to a big return of quality and image to your event (and to you), paying attention to avoid some traps that can compromise the success.
Here are the important steps to grab some advantages and avoid live streaming’s traps for your event.


Use streaming, don't be afraid of it!

3. Play early
In my experience, I can assure you that you won’t be the one who’ll deal with the streaming starting from the choice of the venue, you risk that the client is the one who’ll request for it in a few days before the event.
This may bring big problems that you have to solve.
So I suggest you to introduce live streaming to your client since the first meetings, see if he’s interested in it (that is very likely) and have all the time to organize the stuff without tragedy.

Use streaming, don't be afraid of it!4. In or out streaming?
Another thing to know very soon is if we want a live “from the event” towards one o more external users (for example we make our convention – or just a part of it – available to our clients in all over the world), or vice versa if we want a live streaming “towards” the event’s venue (for example the President’s greetings who is in New York). This decision is crucial, as you’ll acknowledge in the next paragraph.

5. Connectivity first!
The most important factor of live streaming is the connectivity, actually a good connectivity. If the venue doesn’t have an excellent cable connection (wi-fi is inadvisable), you’re the one who have to provide it. You can choose among a temporary Telecom connection, a satellite connection or other solutions that you’ll evaluate with a technical specialist. The earlier you move the easiest it will be to choose the ideal solution.
I’ll give you some examples to be clear.


Use streaming, don't be afraid of it!

6. Practical solutions
– The ideal solution for more quality guarantee is a temporary dedicated line. You can reserve it with Telecom Italia by calling 191, but consider that the activation takes at least 10 days + technical verify. If you don’t have 2 weeks (better three), you blew it. The cost is around 1.000 €.
– The satellite connection can be an excellent option, but the cable must be pointed in order “to see” the satellite and if you are in a historical center, with narrow spaces, obstacles and architectural bond, it’s possible that the game don’t work. Moreover if it rains hard or snows you may have problems with the satellite connection. The cost depends on the time of usage of the satellite, but you can consider around 1.000 € per day.
– Very good are the 4G connections, very fast but also risky because, when the room is full, the mobile network saturates and the connection quality gets worse.
– Finally there are very sophisticated devices that aggregate the speed of 8-12 sim and they’re ideal for the streaming connection on movement. It’s the technology used in the last years by the news casters for critical connections (earthquakes, floods, etc.).
The price is always around € 1.000.
I won’t let you suffer with technical details but as you can see there are different solutions of connectivity, so if you want to find the best one for you, listen to me: activate yourself on time!
You’ll offer an excellent service to your client and you’ll avoid a lot of troubles!

Use streaming, don't be afraid of it!7. Being prosperous is the rule
If you chose to address to a external supplier for the live streaming service I suggest you to immediately agree a rich and complete system. At least you have to ask: backup connection, secondary server, UPS group (to prevent decreases of tension). Consider that the service implementation occur thanks to the perfect chaining of a set of technological devices and software. Among all of these things there can be thousands of eventualities that can happen, by guaranteeing the redundancy is the only way to avoid the streaming to be a ridiculous disaster.

8. Choosing the platform
Once you’ve decided the type of connectivity, you have to choose the “vehicle” to transmit the live streaming with.
There are 3 ways:
– free platforms such as Facebook and YouTube,
– other free services or partially free such as Livestream or Ustream,
– dedicated server with prices depending on the number of users and the event’s duration. But don’t panic: for an event of a thousand of live users you’ll hardly spend more than 400 € per day.
The choice depends basically on the event’s nature, on the level of customization and on the purposes in terms of communication that you want to achieve.
Here is a recap of the different existing solutions.


Use streaming, don't be afraid of it!

9. YouTube
It’s completely free, but you must consider that on YouTube there is a rigorous control of the copyright, so any minimal violation, such as projected videos and the soundtracks used in the room, causes the immediate interruption of the live streaming; moreover YouTube delivers advertisement on the player.

10. Facebook
It arrives everywhere and it’s free. But also here there is a rigorous control of the copyright, every minimal violation causes the interruption of the video.

11. Livestream or Ustream
These 2 solutions are a something between the free services and the dedicated platform. The disadvantage is that if you want to insert a video flow on your own site without their logo you must pay a monthly fee around 1.000$ that means you have to use the system intensely.

12. Owner server
This is the option chosen by the streaming’s professionals, which can amortize the considerable prices with managing many services during the year. It allows to insert a video player directly on the client’s website, you remain the owner of the navigation data and it’s possible to customize the player.

Use streaming, don't be afraid of it!

13. Conclusions
Live streaming activity is, in the end, very simple with the modern instruments, but it hides some traps along the path: a minimum error or an accident is enough to block everything. “So and so” doesn’t exist.
90% of the problems are though ascribable to the connectivity, if it’s already solved you are on the right way.
But pay attention: DIY (do it yourself) is possible (Facebook, YouTube) but in practical it’s dangerous. It’s acceptable only if the live streaming has a marginal role in the event, and if it goes wrong it doesn’t matter! Otherwise, for your tranquility, rely on a representative. It can be a technical specialist of the venue or the service supplier, but be assure without shyness of his skills and experience. But, if your client wants a high-level live event with precise guarantees, you should rely on a specialized agency who’s able to assist you in every step of the project. Believe me: these agencies aren’t after all so expensive and they relieve you from any kind of responsibility. An example of the prices: complete direction service with 3 cameras, speakers slides, dedicated connectivity and streaming server for 1000 users can cost less than 5.000 €.