Edge Computing Is Changing Live Streaming
Demand for video is at an all-time high. The Internet, affordable computers and digital video devices have led to the fact that today non-broadcast companies produce and distribute 1,000 times more high-quality video content than the entire television and film industry. According to Cisco, video currently accounts for 80% of all global Internet traffic, while live video accounts for 13.2%, up from 3.3% in 2016.
Edge computing is a distributed computing environment that brings enterprise applications closer to data sources such as IoT devices or local edge servers. This proximity to the data at its source can provide significant business benefits, such as faster response times and better bandwidth availability.
Edge computing allows you to use many of the flexible and reliable features of cloud computing at the time of video production. This makes it possible to deploy a scalable platform that can do whatever it is programmed to do, depending on the available processing power, storage, and software applications, rather than having a stationary device that does just one video processing task. This solution simplifies live video workflows, reduces latency, enables faster deployment of standardized protocols across device networks, and eliminates unnecessary operational costs.
Importantly, edge computing allows broadcasters and content creators to continue to innovate and build the features and capabilities they need to create customizable live video workflows. This computing environment does not dictate how companies work to help shape their present and future.
There are four main concerns with video delivery options: equipment reliability, its ability to adapt and be flexible to all diverse use cases, the continued complexity of device layouts, and the cost-effectiveness of delivering large amounts of data.
As a way to solve these problems, media service providers are turning to cloud services. The cloud acts as an intermediate step towards the processing of video streams and their distribution. This workflow has many advantages, including allowing for less powerful and expensive physical hardware, but does not address the reliability or manageability issues of local encoders. Transferring many of the benefits of cloud computing to the edge, i.e. to the live video source, offers an alternative.
Edge computing for real-time video offers the power to run many video processing tasks locally that extend the functionality of the cloud. For example, sports leagues and broadcasters can leverage the power of edge computing to increase the number of channels in their own production workflows without investing more in encoding equipment and operational costs.
The use of edge computing at the point of origin, combined with cloud computing, optimizes processes: lower latency, lower cloud costs, increased reliability, and improved quality due to the need to encode only once compared to twice with a conventional encoder. Leveraging the capabilities of the edge can reduce operating costs by as much as 50% and lower latency from tens of seconds to less than 200ms.
At the same time, edge computing is not a dichotomous choice between the edge and the cloud. There are use cases that complement cloud workflows that will make video transfer more reliable, efficient, and fast. A hybrid approach using edge computing to empower the cloud gives end users, developers and media companies the freedom and flexibility they need.
The flexibility of edge computing reduces cost and complexity while increasing reliability and scalability to unlock the new potential of video. Content owners get a powerful set of features that enable them to create streamlined and flexible workflows. Most importantly, edge computing at the point of origin of video enables industry players to innovate and push the boundaries of what exists.