Video Streaming: A Hidden Threat to Enterprise Quality of Experience (QoE)

The Rise of Video Streaming Popularity

As Disney gears up to launch its streaming service, joining Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and more, video streaming is being adopted into the daily routine of many. Most people will download an episode or two for their commute home, and some people may even enjoy watching their favorite series at work while they finish that data entry task or go over invoices.

A dossier released by Statista this year points to online video consumption as one of the most popular internet activities worldwide. Online video penetration is near universal in many leading online markets, including Saudi Arabia, which tops the list with a staggering 95% online video reach as of January 2018. However, the US has plenty of video consumers as well. In 2018, 227.5M digital video viewers surfed the web consuming music, vlogs, talk shows, and a whole lot of cat videos. That number is projected to hit over 239M by 2021.

While those numbers are impressive, the frequency of video consumption is also increasing rapidly. 76% of respondents to Statista’s research say they watch videos at least once a month, with 36% claiming daily video watching habits.

Why is That a Problem?

The internet has become the lifeline of most enterprises, and companies invest large amounts of money to ensure that the network is effectively serving the business. Productivity is affected by the quality of experience (QoE) that business apps provide employees. However, one serious bandwidth consumer is disrupting a lot of careful planning and investments made to get there. The hidden cause of network congestion that can damage user QoE in corporate environments: video streaming.

Are Employees Really Streaming Game of Thrones at Work?

Sure, the numbers are there, but it is hard to believe that so many busy employees could find time to keep up with the Mother of Dragons between meetings. The real culprit of enterprise network congestion caused by video streaming is a little website called YouTube. You have probably heard of it. In 2017, Google Sites including YouTube, amassed 63.8 billion minutes watched in over 13 billion unique sessions, and that number was recorded in June of that year. These figures point to the proliferation of digital media consumption.

YouTube has become a go-to source for videos on an ever-expanding range of topics, which is probably why 95% of Statista respondents aged 25-34, and 90% of respondents aged 35-44 said they used YouTube. One of the most popular video categories are music videos, and in February of 2017, 48% of people ages 25-54 had used YouTube to watch music videos or listen to music within the last week. That means roughly 1 in 2 people were streaming music videos regularly two years ago, and our consumption is only going upwards. These trends raise the risks of internet congestion in corporate environments. 

In fact, the only downward trending form of video consumption is by Facebook desktop users, dwindling nearly 30% from 96.7M in December 2014 to 68.2M in December 2017. The trend is no doubt a side effect of the overarching rise of mobile video viewers, from 1.43 billion in 2016 to over 2 billion in 2019 with an expected 2.33 billion by 2021.

So Many Mobile Devices, So Little QoE Assurance

Whether it is an iPhone or an Android device, mobile phones have become as common as morning coffee in the workplace. YouTube reached nearly 83% of mobile viewers leading the list of most popular mobile music and video apps by a 54 point margin. Netflix and Hulu were the leading iPhone entertainment apps as of March 2019 with 1.7 million and 1.2 million downloads respectively, in case you still aren’t convinced about the surging popularity of on-demand video. Mobile YouTube statistics from the first half of 2017 also support this revolution, with 56% of mobile users accessing YouTube several times a day and 35% admitting to multiple uses.

The Solution for Enterprise WiFi Congestion is QoE Assurance

The problem is clear as day, but the solution is even simpler. Using a traffic management solution, like Allot SmartTraffic QoE, stakeholders gain valuable insights to their network activity, and set policies that are designed to allocate predetermined bandwidth amounts to ensure that everyone gets the bandwidth they need. By reserving the bandwidth required to maintain business-critical applications and limiting the “frivolous surfing”, enterprises can guarantee QoE when their employees need it the most, to nail that investor meeting, or finish that overseas sales call.

If you face sluggish performance for both cloud and on-premise business apps, and want to learn how to efficiently utilize what you have and make informed decisions on where and when you need to invest, check out our recently published whitepaper, or find out how Allot can prioritize the important traffic on your network.



*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Allot Blog authored by Moshe Elias. Read the original post at: https://www.allot.com/blog/video-streaming-and-enterprise-qoe/