Bernie Marolia

Member Article

How high bandwidth connectivity can keep consumers entertained during lockdown

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our professional lives and is set to change where and how we work forever. We’re spending more time at home and for most, consuming an increasing amount of online and TV content has become somewhat of a norm. These circumstances might seem like an opportunity for media companies – ranging from broadcasters, to digital delivery, to gaming and podcast companies – but those without the right network in place to adapt quickly, have been unable to cater for growing user demands.

Increased consumption, greater demand

It was back in March when the UK government announced a strict lockdown, and although restrictions have since been eased, we are still months away from what many of us would regard as normal. People have had to adapt to a new digital reality, where nearly all aspects of our lives, from working, to shopping are now performed online. Entertainment is no different.

Audiences in virtually every household now consume more media and are on the lookout for new, engaging and tailored entertainment. In fact, on-demand video providers have experienced a surge in subscriptions since the lockdown began. But the sudden and continuously high levels of consumption of online content can cause multi-faceted implications for the media.

Already voluminous, the amount of data media companies deal with is ever-expanding, with high-quality content being streamed on multiple devices simultaneously. Indeed, government concerns around the immense pressure streaming content puts on networks is growing. A good example of this was when the European Union authorities had to request entertainment giants including Netflix and Amazon Prime to reduce their streaming quality in Europe, as their high-definition was leading to severe connectivity issues.

Another pressing issue for media providers is changing user behaviour. We know that people are sophisticated consumers of media across devices. For media companies this means high bandwidth requirements that may change quickly in line with connectivity solutions that can cater to nation-wide audiences. Furthermore, staying at home is synonymous with a vast increase in media consumption with more people willing to subscribe and pay for services with viewers expecting a first-rate experience.

Bearing in mind these challenges, ensuring greater capacity and reliability of the services media companies offer is vital.

Futureproofing operations

The current issues being faced by media organisations can be boiled down to how robust, future-ready and reliable their connectivity solutions are. Networks need to be able to support high-volume applications immediately - from high-quality video streaming and HD mobile gaming to virtual learning. For instance, streaming quality depends heavily on low latency capabilities, particularly as the era of 4k and even 8k gaming sets in. A high-capacity network is vital for media organisations that have to flex to cope with significant data and device demands.

For IT leaders within the media industry, this all comes down to reliable infrastructure. If they have the underlying connectivity in place, they will be able to support increasing user demand. Without that, it’s almost inevitable that their organisations will struggle with the increased engagement.

Developments including SD-WAN can support IT teams, helping them to spot opportunities to enhance speed and flexibility. However, it is the swift adoption of 5G that promises to bring a massive change to media companies as well as to their customers. Although still in its infancy, where it is operational, 5G is indicative of what the future will look like in terms of real-time, high capacity connectivity. 5G will see connectivity challenges like video buffering and unstable internet connections become a distant memory. Furthermore, high-speed pervasive networks will make it possible to apply more advanced and future ready technologies to traditional media experience such as augmented and virtual reality.

The media industry’s need for fast and dependable connectivity means that there is a gap for telecoms to bridge. It’s a great opportunity to grow and support the media, whether it’s by developing new networks or by utilising already existing infrastructure. And if leaders can procure fibre connectivity that’s of sufficient calibre, they’ll be able to do all their organisation asks of them. What’s more, they’ll be able to provide the bedrock for further innovation and development that will ensure they thrive in the future.

It’s more than just meeting demand

Media is inherently forward-thinking and fast-paced. The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on how essential dependable networks are in delivering best-in-class user experience for digital audiences.

Media and technological developments have always been inextricably linked. From the earliest written tablets, to the first phonograph and the successive eras of radio, cinema, television, on demand streaming and podcasts. It therefore makes sense that media will be one of the key industries to be influenced by the rise of next-generation connectivity.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Bernie Marolia .

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