MediaPlatform put out a press release last week announcing that their WebCaster product is “the first enterprise webcasting software enabled with multicasting video to the Adobe Flash Platform using the new Adobe Flash Media Server 4 software.”
I received a couple of questions from readers asking me what this meant for their webinars or webcasts. Does it allow a different form of video content in a presentation? Does it apply to live or recorded video? Does it change the way they need to produce their video clips?
Multicasting is a technical consideration for network specialists and IT professionals. It will not change anything about the content you are producing or delivering in your presentation. It changes how efficiently the data flows over the network.
Multicasting refers to the way a data stream gets distributed out to multiple computers hooked up to a single network (for instance, office workers in a big corporate high rise, using the company's Local Area Network to reach the internet). Traditionally, if everybody in the company was watching the same webcast with video and computer audio, it would place a massive load on the company's network. Every person would have their own connection to the webcast, with all the audio/video data replicated separately for each computer. That could cause slow performance and visible or audible degradation of the signal as the network fights to carry the load.
The new Flash multicast protocol attempts to send one stream from the webcaster to the company's network. The local network then uses the connected computers to replicate and share the signal with each other, lowering the load on the company’s connection to the internet and hopefully improving performance for the entire network.
As you can tell, if your target audience is people from a large number of physical locations and different networks, this really has no impact at all.
(My apologies to technologists and datacom professionals who are getting apoplectic at this gross oversimplification of a complex subject. My aim here is to give a superficial explanation for the gentle layfolk of the world.)