4 Common Reasons that Livestreams Fail

Building a successful livestream program is a bit like directing an orchestra. There are a lot of instruments and players to consider, and everyone needs to practice to get it right. However, if even one instrument happens to be out of tune or a player misses a note, it can negatively impact the group’s performance and the audience’s experience.

At Kollective, we hope that every enterprise livestream is a wild success. But with so many factors at play, we also recognize the potential for missteps, and the importance of identifying trouble early so that you can correct any problems and prevent them from plaguing you in the future.

Here are four of the most common reasons that livestreams fail, and how your organization can address them:

1. Bandwidth limitations

One of the most prevalent causes of video trouble is bandwidth limitations. In some cases, the bandwidth capacity can vary by geographic location, with some offices having no trouble while other outposts easily exceed their network capacity.  In other instances, the livestream goes off without a problem, but ends up dominating the network and other business transactions slow down.

Often the issue is that many organizations allot bandwidth for business functions such as cloud computing or email, but they forget to account for video. If you plan to livestream regularly, doing so is critical. Determine how much bandwidth you have available at every point in your network, including between remote offices and their nearest proxy server. You can then buy more bandwidth to improve your livestream performance, though this can be costly and time consuming if you’re working with numerous providers across multiple locations. Kollective’s video distribution platform offers a smart alternative. The solution relies on a peer-to-peer network, which dramatically reduces the impact video has on your bandwidth and allows you to livestream without impact on other business functions.  

2. Equipment and encoder problems

Enterprise video is an equipment-heavy endeavor, and trouble with cameras, mics, and encoders can all torpedo your livestream. Each piece of equipment needs to be updated and connected properly. The fact that many organizations are relying on a hodgepodge of equipment purchased over several years can also complicate things. For example, documentation for using or troubleshooting the hardware may be limited or missing altogether, or the person who worked most closely with the vendor may no longer be around.  

If equipment issues are keeping you from livestream success, don’t fret. Instead, strive to uncover and document every piece of hardware needed to facilitate your livestream, as well as how all of the equipment is connected and works together. Then create a checklist of equipment [KK1] and connections to test before each video event. And of course, keep back up mics, lights, cables and other components handy at all times.

3. Individual access issues

When evaluating what’s caused a livestream to fail, it’s important to examine the end-to-end process. Sometimes the trouble is related to viewers’ devices and issues with their own applications. For example, if employees are using Internet Explorer as their browser, they need a Flash plugin in order to stream live video. Outdated applications, authentication issues, and even unfamiliarity with how to access the livestream can all contribute to viewer problems.

Monitor your buffering and re-connection attempts during your livestreams to see if and when viewers are having problems. Kollective’s video distribution platform provides real-time analytics that make accessing such data easy. Proactively reach out to people who need help, and consider creating answers to common questions about access problems that you can send along in the moment.

4. Human error

Sometimes the culprit behind a livestream failure isn’t technical. Instead, someone made a mistake and it impacted the livestream performance. If you’ve come up empty handed after looking into technical, equipment and network issues, then go back to your documented livestream process and ensure that everyone did what they were expected to do.

To be sure, mistakes happen. Create an environment that allows people to voice when they’ve made one and develop a process for making sure the same mistake doesn’t happen again. As you can tell, we love checklists. Creating comprehensive list that denotes roles, responsibilities, equipment and everything needed for your livestream process also goes a long way toward revealing possible pitfalls and then preventing them.

Livestreaming video to tens of thousands of employees around the globe is a worthy endeavor – you’ll boost employee engagement and improve corporate communication exponentially. So don’t let common problems keep your enterprise video program from reaching its potential. Instead, understand the common challenges, and then plan for how your livestream can leap over them.

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