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Multicast Distribution For Flawless Massive-Scale Virtual Events

In Enterprise Video Conferencing: Exploring Strategic Integrations, we highlighted how integral Video Conferencing (VC) systems have become for today’s enterprise environment. In these businesses, video conferencing solutions have proven challenging with limitations for the ability for hosting an audience of multiple thousands or beyond.  Popular conferencing solutions are not inherently capable of delivering at this scale, especially within the context of secure corporate networks.  Companies have been reaching out to Vbrick for help in achieving this level of audience reach using both unicast and multicast video content distribution methods. This post will discuss our new capability of Automatic Multicast and Reflection, which will extend viewership of VC meetings or internal (to the corporate network) virtual events, such as virtual townhall meetings.

Automatic Multicast and Reflection for Streaming Video

Multicast distribution provides significant bandwidth savings over unicast distribution by utilizing one-to-many video stream distribution within an (enabled) enterprise network. In this way, the distribution of bandwidth-intense video has a smaller net impact.   

Creating multicast solutions in today’s (near post-Flash multicast) environment requires a number of key components. The most obvious component is the ability to play the multicast at the client browser. Vbrick provides that capability for browser playback through our Vbrick Multicast Agent (VBM Agent). The agent responds to the users’ (Windows or Mac) browser and services Vbrick multicast. 

Multicast is group communication where data transmission is addressed to a group of destination computers simultaneously. Using Multicast optimizes bandwidth for a one-to-many distribution.

Equally important is the logistics and simplicity around stream capture, generating the multicast, and distributing it to users. This is where Automatic Multicast and Reflection capabilities comes into play. Vbrick Rev can now automatically turn ingested streams into multicast and reflection distributions. This enables extended viewership reach without swamping your corporate network.

The Reflection feature is used within corporate networks when multicast is not available. In this scenario, Rev “reflects” the stream through a local or edge Distributed Media Engine (DME).  In this scenario, the DME retrieves all bitrate renditions of the VC stream and caches it for local users to playback. To maximize video distribution bandwidth efficiency, Vbrick will also automatically “transrate” ingested video streams into multiple bitrates for adaptive HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) playback.

Vbrick Automatic Multicast and Reflection for HLS URLs

Additionally, we have extended the multicast and reflection functionality to support third party HLS streams. This allows the specification of third-party HLS streams within the Vbrick interface. Those streams can then be associated with specific DMEs for either multicast and/or reflection playback. Ultimately, those DMEs are used within Vbrick Rev Presentation Profiles to provide video distribution for webcasts and events.

In either case, these features can be customized by local Rev administrators. The customization will allow for admins to control where and when multicast is to be used.

Summary

Vbrick will now automatically convert live video streams in multiple ways to maximize the viewership for secure virtual events and webcasts without sacrificing quality or hindering the corporate network.