What is ‘streaming’ and why should I use it ?
September 2, 2008 @ 09:32 AM | By Guest Blogger
Please welcome our Guest Blogger, Cristina Lucas - Product Manager.
Streaming services have been adding to the increasing web viewer adoption rates over the last few years. It provides a great opportunity to reach a wider audience, at a lower cost, with great success.
Streaming is a method of broadcasting your information via the web. For example, InterCall can take any audio files, video media or PowerPoint feed and provide that information to your attendees in a professional console, even linking in to live conference calls or video conferences to stream over the internet.
But, before we get into too many details, let’s stop for a minute and review some terminology. Webcast, webinar, streaming, web conferencing – what do they all mean? A lot of common phrases associated in the online world can be easily used in place of each other. Some common definitions to help us out are:
Webcast (ing) is the broadcasting of news, entertainment, etc., using the Internet, specifically the World Wide Web.
Webinar, short for Web-based seminar, is a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web.
Streaming is a technique for transferring data so it can be processed as a steady and continuous stream. Streaming technologies are becoming increasingly important with the growth of the Internet because most users do not have fast enough access to download large multimedia files quickly. With streaming, the client browser can start displaying the data before the entire file has been transmitted.
Web conferencing is a meeting between two or more participants at different locations using computer networks and specialized software to transmit data.
We tend to use these terms and phrases interchangeably when discussing web communication tools. InterCall’s focus is to help you figure out what products will help your organization meet their goals and needs. There are a lot of potential uses for streaming. Some common uses for streaming are:
- Announce corporate updates and initiatives
- Launch new products
- Comply with Reg FD for investor relations communications
- Deliver information to customers or the press
- Train employees and customers
If you have a message or information to distribute, streaming can be a great online tool to help achieve your goals simply and effectively. Streaming services also have the capability of being very feature rich. Things such as registration, lobby pages, Q&A consoles, and robust reporting features come with your event as a default. There are also advanced features that can help add impact to your message. Streaming can be set up to track campaign referrals, add additional hyperlinks, perform email domain blocking, support flash video files, add pay-per-view capabilities and incorporate attendee surveys. This is all in addition to being able to fully brand and customize your consoles and emails. Some other savvy tools to help engage your audience are available as well. While in a live stream environment, you can add polling questions with real-time answers – and then display the results to your audience. You can also push out URLs that you want your audience members to see or bookmark for future reference. And let’s not forget the ever-popular Q&A section – providing the ability for your audience members to submit questions as they have them – instead of waiting for a pre determined question period.
As much as the streaming tools and features can help you get your message out, we still recommend taking some time to work on your presentation skills. Check out Dan Uhlmeyer’s articles in our web conferencing section to get some tips on how to keep a web audience engaged - they are still great tips that can be used for streaming events as well. You may also consider having your stream archived. It’s a simple process that can be done at the same time you reserve your stream. The URL that you originally used for your live event stays the same, and future audience members can view the recording as if they were live participants. Another option is to get your stream turned into a podcast. This allows your on-the-go attendees to access and play the recorded stream when it’s convenient for them. If there are any quesitons out there about the best way to use streaming for your presentation, please list it in the comments and I'll get back to you!