Band(Width) On The Run

In the digital age, Internet traffic volumes are giving way to traffic jams that can bring business operations to a screeching halt. The catalyst is the explosion of Internet video and its exponentially larger file sizes and bandwidth requirements.

While video captures attention in ways that static pages can't, even a 90-second video can eat up 150 MB of storage and 13.3 Mbps of bandwidth. Add in problems associated with multiple copies in multiple places, multiple versions, multiple backups, etc. and it's easy to see the snarl ahead.

Video management complicates things. File copies in various locations use more storage and make version control nearly impossible.

Potholes and Roadblocks

This increased demand creates four issues:

  • Supply and demand. Every file opened puts demand on bandwidth. A 150 MB, 90-second video requires enough bandwidth not only to push 150 MB through, but to do so in 90 seconds. Otherwise the viewer will experience pauses and stuttered playback.
  • Moving video files between users. Most e-mail boxes and other file-sharing systems limit size for moving and storage. They are not geared for even simple videos, making it difficult to share and/or upload files.
  • Multiple copies, multiple locations. As video is more available on the Web, each copy requires more storage.
  • Too many detours. Video files are often stored on a network with a separation for internal and external use. The proliferation of video will require a metadata-based search function that doesn't yet exist.



DAM the Gridlock

To reduce the congestion of these massive files, a "public transit system" is needed. That system is available as digital asset management (DAM), which facilitates the creation, management and distribution of digital assets.

Digital files become valuable assets by attaching 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 applied to video files, DAM provides:

  • Re-routing traffic. Rather than creating separate files for each Web location, all content is from one source, though it may be viewed from thousands of Web pages. Embedding code in the page reduces storage requirements and facilitates video updates.
  • Getting there. A challenge with video is getting enormous files to multiple locations. With DAM, viewers go to one location to see the file. Rather than sending the file, the necessary code travels through e-mail or is downloaded on the Internet.
  • Greater viewing control. With printed materials, creating a master control point is simple since materials are usually stored and reviewed before being distributed. Video is typically loaded on a site then served on-demand; sometimes past its expiration. DAM creates a master control point, assuring that when updates occur, users see the freshest content.
  • Simpler organization. DAM creates a system around files so anyone can locate what is needed. And new file formats can also be added. The data provides an effective means to search for files and distinguish between assets.
  • Simplifies backup. All digital assets require backup and storage. Core video files in multiple formats also require individual backup. With DAM, single files are backed up, then used to create and deliver the rest, significantly reducing storage requirements.

Which Road to Take

While DAM software can be added and managed internally, it's almost self-defeating. IT will have to beef up storage while marketing will be limited by how fast IT can fulfill requests.

A better option is to leverage DAM through a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider, offloading file management and infrastructure. This provides a separate channel to access video, preserving corporate bandwidth. Through a SaaS provider, marketing can make changes or updates. And with ample storage and bandwidth on demand, a file can go live at any time.

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