Video Clutter Has Bandwidth on the Run

Jul 28, 2009 7:54 PM  By

Now that we’re in the digital age, Internet traffic volumes are giving way to traffic jams that can bring business operations to a grinding halt. The primary driver is the explosion of video. Its exponentially larger file sizes and bandwidth requirements strain the IT infrastructure, challenging organizations to meet its ever-growing use.

On the upside, video captures our attention in ways that static pages can’t over the Internet. That’s why the demand for rich digital media, such as video, is changing the attitudes and behaviors of the workforce, especially in regards to marketing strategies. This is being reflected on sites such as YouTube and also within the social media.

But while YouTube is an excellent destination site for video and serves the purpose for socializing and democratizing “like” video content, it doesn’t take the pain out of having to manage and repurpose video and other rich media content.

And what goes up on YouTube is not a branded representation of your marketing assets. It is no longer in your control. That can be a significant downside if you are not careful.

Complicating the situation are issues involving video management. Multiple copies of a file in multiple locations use even more storage. It also makes version control nearly impossible as someone has to remember each file’s location and update or renew it when a new one becomes available or when it expires. Every video file opened places a new demand on bandwidth.

Most e-mail mailboxes and other file-sharing systems have limits on the size of files they can move and store. It all adds to the coming Internet gridlock. According to the U.S. Internet Industry Association, video consumes nearly 80% of all bandwidth. And that number continues to rise.

DAM the gridlock
To reduce the congestion of these massive video files, a “public transit system” is needed. That system is available in the form of digital asset management. DAM facilitates the creation, management and distribution of digital assets, including images, graphics, logos, presentations, pages, documents, animations, and audio and video clips.

Digital files become valuable assets through the attachment of metadata (information about content). Metadata elevates video content into assets because it can be indexed, versioned, secured, stored and assigned a lifecycle state, a unique ID and an owner. When metadata is applied to video files, DAM provides several benefits, including:

Rerouting traffic. Rather than creating separate files for each Web location, all consumers of that content watch it from the same source – even though it may be seen from thousands of Web pages. Embedding code in the page, rather than transferring the file and providing it from a server, greatly reduces storage requirements and makes it easier to update the video.

Getting there. A challenge with video is getting the enormous file from the source server to other locations. With DAM, all viewers are sent to one location to see the file. Rather than sending the entire file, the code required to post the video pointer travels through e-mail or is downloaded on the Internet.

Greater viewing control. An ongoing challenge is version control. With printed materials, creating a master control point for printed materials is simple since materials are usually stored and reviewed before being sent out. This prevents disseminating expired materials.

But video is typically loaded on a site then served on-demand; sometimes past its expiration. DAM creates a master control point for video, assuring that when an update occurs, all users see the most current content.

Simpler organization. DAM creates a system around files so that anyone can locate what they need. Each file has data and metadata around it describing the contents, available formats and other information.

Also, new file formats can be added as another way of using the file. The data provides an effective means to search for files and distinguish between the organizations’s various assets.

Simplifies backup. All digital assets, including video, require backup and safe storage. Core video files in multiple formats need individual backup, increasing storage requirements. With DAM, single files can be backed up, and then used to create and deliver the rest, significantly reducing storage requirements.

You can also leverage DAM through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider. This allows the organization to offload file management and infrastructure to deliver them. It also provides a separate channel for outside parties to access video, preserving corporate bandwidth.

It really comes down to responsiveness and scalability. When you manage your digital assets via a SaaS provider, marketing can go directly to that provider to make changes or updates. In terms of scalability, internally, storage and bandwidth usually are purchased as needed.

A SaaS provider’s main business is having ample storage and bandwidth available on demand. There’s never a DAM question of when the file can go live and who and who can not have access to it.

Matthew Gonnering is CEO of Widen Enterprises (www.widen.com), a Madison,WI-based provider of digital asset management software and services.