Video Consumption Continues to Rise. Is Your Network Prepared?


Video Consumption Continues to Rise. Is Your Network Prepared?

With 270 million monthly active users , usage of Microsoft Teams and its live video capabilities has risen dramatically in the past two years. While return to office movements have made in-person meetings more frequent, the prevalence of hybrid working has continued to propel the growth of live video as companies seek better ways to connect their dispersed teams. As 74% of U.S. businesses currently have or are planning permanent hybrid options, video will remain a central part of the modern workplace and pivotal to the digital experience of all employees. The ongoing boom in virtual communications makes it more important than ever to ensure enterprise networks can meet the increase in demand for digital collaboration tools.

Teams and Live Video Usage Continues to Climb

How many Teams meetings do you have on your calendar right now? Chances are it is significantly greater than the number of meetings you had two years ago. Microsoft’s Work Trend Index 2022 found that Teams users have experienced a 252% increase in weekly meeting time and a 153% increase in the number of weekly meetings since February of 2020.

Kollective’s usage statistics for live video mirror Microsoft’s findings. Between Q2 and Q4 of 2020, live events delivered by Kollective increased by 187%. During that same timeframe in 2021, growth continued at a similar rate with a 170% increase in live video and a 92% increase in Teams Live Events.

Over the past two years, Kollective observed that the rise in live video usage is global – a trend that can be seen across all regions:

  • Americas – 130% increase (2.1x growth)
  • EMEA – 156% increase (2.6x growth)
  • APAC – 264% increase (3.6x growth)

Live Video Enables the Hybrid Office

The return to office has been reimagined and hybrid work models are being widely adopted to meet the needs of both businesses and employees. A July 2022 study by McKinsey found that 58% of U.S. workers currently have the option to work remotely or on-site. The prevalence of flexible working has placed more pressure on businesses to facilitate effective communications between employees at different physical locations. Whether it is day-to-day team meetings or large-scale corporate communications, live video has become integral to connecting employees and fostering collaboration and communication in the modern workplace.

Hybrid Networks at Risk

While Teams and live video offer businesses the opportunity to enable hybrid work, its success depends on the quality of each user’s experience. As a bandwidth-intensive medium, video can overtax unprepared networks and cause excessive buffering, jittery streams, or event failures. During larger events like All-Hands, viewers in locations with insufficient bandwidth may not experience the same event quality as those working remotely. These poor experiences lower engagement, reduce productivity and derail communication efforts.

Exacerbating this problem is a phenomenon known as network volatility. Network volatility is caused by the ever-shifting number of concurrent streams running across corporate networks. In a hybrid scenario, the number of people working in the office on a given day is in constant flux. While networks may perform well on days with low employee attendance, high-demand days push the limits of a network’s capacity and cause live event failures and business-critical cloud applications to perform poorly or, in the worst-case scenario, total network failure. However, even a relatively small number of employees streaming live video in an office can cause problems for networks that are not equipped with an ECDN.

ECDNs Prevent Network Failures

Adding an enterprise content delivery network (ECDN) to your technology infrastructure is a simple and cost-effective way to optimize networks for live video. An ECDN reduces the bandwidth needed to deliver high-quality video, allowing you to securely scale communications across the enterprise.

As flexible workplaces often bring added network complexities, not all ECDNs can meet the needs of the hybrid office. Kollective’s ECDN, Edge Accelerator, offers the complete coverage necessary to meet the needs of modern networks. With three content delivery methods built under the same architecture, Kollective offers the flexibility to handle even the most complex network environments and ensures that every employee receives flawless video.

Preparing for a return to the office, Michelin, the world’s largest tire manufacturer, added Kollective to optimize their network for Teams video distribution. Since implementing Kollective in 2021, they have run over 1,300 Teams Live Events reaching over 50,000 people globally with a total bandwidth savings of 60% in every region. Their employees rely on high-quality video communications with no impact on their network.

As the numbers show, Microsoft Teams and Teams Live Events are being utilized on a massive scale to connect people and organizations across the globe. The hybrid office’s dependence on video will continue to fuel that growth, putting unprepared networks at risk. Investing in an ECDN like Kollective’s Edge Accelerator will ensure your network can support your hybrid workforce and deliver a flawless digital experience to all employees.

The post Video Consumption Continues to Rise. Is Your Network Prepared? appeared first on Kollective Technology .

To view our Partner blog, click here

Return to Office and the Future of Hybrid Work


Return to Office and the Future of Hybrid Work

The pandemic has radically changed how and where we work, giving businesses and employees the latitude to redefine the modern workplace as they plan their return to the office. Planning a successful return to the office requires businesses to understand employee expectations, develop a plan that addresses those needs, and ensure they have flexible technologies that support the unique demands of the hybrid workplace.

Return to Office – Employee vs. Leadership Perspectives

Microsoft’s Work Trend Index 2022 examined what a return to the office looks like from both the worker and employer perspectives. The study found that 50% of leaders say their company does or plans to require a full-time return to the office. However, this is in stark contrast to the 52% of respondents who stated they are considering moving to hybrid or remote work this year.

Due largely to the pandemic, employees’ priorities have shifted and maintaining flexibility and a healthy work-life balance is now of the utmost importance to many workers. The divergence in expectations between leadership and employees has led many workers to draw a line in the sand when it comes to required full-time in-person work. In the same report, Microsoft found that 52% of Gen Z and Millennials are considering changing employers in 2022. With the desire for workplace flexibility so evident, many business leaders have taken note and developed return-to-office (RTO) strategies that will help them retain and attract talent.

The Hybrid Future

A powerful compromise between the two sides is the hybrid model. This strategy grants leadership the facetime needed to build company culture and foster collaboration while offering the flexibility their workforce demands. Industry leaders like Microsoft and Google have publicly announced their return-to-office dates in conjunction with the hybrid work models they will use going forward. Both companies plan to allow certain roles to remain fully remote, while others will be asked to return to the office on a part-time basis with essential positions remaining in-person full-time.

The hybrid approach requires leadership to be deliberate when creating synchronous work. Building inclusive hybrid meetings and scheduling them on days when hybrid workers are in the office allows teams the opportunity to maximize collaboration and re-establish a strong company culture. Offering adaptable options like on-demand recordings for those who cannot attend will further the reach of communications and keep goals better aligned. The surge in live and on-demand video usage during the pandemic will continue to play a critical role in connecting the hybrid office. Still organizations must equip themselves with technologies that enable fast and efficient communication with all employees regardless of their location.

A Flexible Workforce Needs a Flexible Network

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there’s been a 252% increase in weekly time spent in meetings for the average Microsoft Teams user. In the past two years, it’s become apparent that the real-time communication and collaboration live video offers is essential to modern businesses. Video is a bandwidth-heavy medium, and existing corporate networks may be unable to support the increased load as employees return to the office. Many organizations have learned this the hard way after initiating their RTO plans. Even with only a fraction of their workforce back in the office, many businesses have discovered that their networks are not equipped to handle the influx of live and on-demand video being consumed on site.

Network spikes can occur when a small number of people are streaming an event or viewing it on-demand in-office, leading to poor user experience and decreased engagement, while impacting critical business applications running on the same network.

With the hybrid model, businesses must ensure their network is prepared to support a dispersed workforce’s communication and collaboration needs. Optimizing networks for video with an enterprise content delivery network (ECDN) like Kollective ensures hybrid workers are connected no matter where they are working.

Meet the RTO Protection Plan

Kollective’s Edge Accelerator platform offers businesses the flexibility and confidence to meet the demands of the hybrid workplace. With three intelligent delivery solutions – Browser-Based Peering, Agent-Based Peering, and Edgecache – Kollective’s Complete Coverage tackles all of the complex network challenges of hybrid work environments, including:

  • Remote offices
  • Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
  • Firewalled or backhauled locations (e.g., China)
  • Hard-to-reach users
  • Zero Trust Networks

Prepare your network for the return-to-office and hybrid work today with a free trial of Kollective’s Browser-Based Peering solution.

The post Return to Office and the Future of Hybrid Work appeared first on Kollective Technology .

To view our Partner blog, click here

The Rise of Zero Trust Networks


The Rise of Zero Trust Networks

In the past two years, we have witnessed a rapid evolution in cybersecurity and a rise in Zero Trust security as a top priority for organizations across the globe. With the shift to remote and hybrid work models, businesses must adapt to support employees working in locations beyond the perimeter of the corporate network. Increased prevalence of cloud-based services, the internet of things (IoT), and the growing sophistication of cyberattacks has caused business leaders to adopt more robust security protocols.

In response to these changes, the adoption of Zero Trust security models has skyrocketed across diverse markets and industries. In their report titled, “The State of Zero Trust Security 2021 ,” identity management firm Okta found that Zero Trust has increased in priority for 78% of businesses. Microsoft’s 2021 “Zero Trust Adoption Report ” echoed these sentiments, stating, “Security decision-makers (SDMs) say developing a Zero Trust strategy is their #1 security priority, with 96% saying it’s critical to their organization’s success.”

As more businesses switch to Zero Trust security models, software solutions they rely on must perform and comply with these new security practices. Kollective’s Edge Accelerator was built with Zero Trust security in mind, allowing businesses to scale content delivery in evolving network environments.

This article will review the basics of Zero Trust, the factors leading to the increase in Zero Trust adoption, where adoption is occurring, and how Kollective enables businesses with Zero Trust networks.

What is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is a security model based on the principle: “never trust, always verify.” In Zero Trust networks, no device is trusted by default. Users must be authenticated, authorized and continually validated before being granted access to applications and data, whether they are inside or outside the organization’s network.

Zero Trust networks redefine the traditional understanding of the network edge. In Zero Trust frameworks, networks can be local, in the cloud, or a combination of the two – supporting workers in any location. With pushes towards digital transformation, Zero Trust allows businesses to ad dress the challenges of the modern office, including securing remote employees and hybrid cloud environments.

Hybrid Work is Driving Zero Trust Adoption

Zero Trust models have been a part of the enterprise for over a decade. Google implemented Zero Trust architecture into their security model as far back as 2009. The growth of Zero Trust strategies in the 2010s was slow, but has accelerated over the past three years. The increase was fueled by the rise of mobile computing, the internet of things (IoT), and cloud-based services, and the pandemic only amplified these problems. Existing challenges and the subsequent shift to remote and hybrid workplaces have driven Zero Trust adoption to record highs as leadership seeks better ways to safeguard systems and data as employees access them off-site and through personal devices.

Business leaders confirmed that the move to hybrid work models accelerated their Zero Trust timelines. In a poll of over 600 global security leaders, Okta found that the challenges of hybrid work caused businesses to become “more security conscious” and forced them to prioritize Zero Trust strategies. As a result, most companies (90%) are actively pursuing Zero Trust initiatives, up from 41% in 2020. While many companies are still determining how to integrate Zero Trust frameworks, Microsoft found that implementation is well underway – “76% of organizations have at least started implementing a Zero Trust strategy with 35% claiming to be fully implemented.”

Zero Trust Adoption Varies by Industry

While Zero Trust initiatives have increased across all industries, Okta discovered that adoption varies among key verticals. Highly regulated industries, like financial services, lead other verticals in their use of Zero Trust, with 94% reporting they already have Zero Trust frameworks in place or “have aggressive goals to get there.” Other industries with notable pushes towards Zero Trust include healthcare and software. Almost one-third (30%) of healthcare organizations stated that Zero Trust is now a top priority compared to 17% globally. While software companies like Microsoft and Google implemented Zero Trust models, only 9% of software organizations have a Zero Trust initiative currently in place. However, the industry is poised for change as nearly 4 in 5 plan to adopt initiatives by the end of next year.

EMEA Experiences the Largest Increase in Zero Trust Initiatives

In Okta’s report, they found that at least 87% of APAC, EMEA, and North American organizations have defined Zero Trust initiatives in place or plan to start them in the next 12-18 months. While all regions saw substantial increases in adoption since 2020, the most significant jump occurred in EMEA where Zero Trust initiatives grew by a factor of five.

Increase in Zero Trust Initiatives by Region

  • APAC: 50% (2020) to 91% (2021)
  • EMEA: 18% (2020) to 90% (2021)
  • North America: 60% (2020) to 87% (2021)

Kollective Supports Zero Trust Networks

Secure by design. Creating an effective security design requires a comprehensive security policy woven into every layer of a solution, addressing present threats and future concerns. That is how Kollective’s Edge Accelerator was architected – with security in mind from conception to release, ensuring the highest degree of protection for your data.

Zero Trust with Kollective. As more businesses adopt Zero Trust frameworks, solutions must adhere to their security standards. Kollective’s Edge Accelerator provides best-in-class content delivery mechanisms and offers advanced security controls to support networks operating in Zero Trust environments. Learn more about Kollective’s security .

Performance without Security Risks. In Microsoft’s study, overall security and the end-user experience were the primary motivators for organizations adopting Zero Trust frameworks. These priorities are directly in line with Kollective’s goals – to flawlessly deliver content to any user in any location securely. Kollective’s Edge Accelerator handles the most diverse network needs, from delivering video to China to supporting hybrid workplaces with complex network environments. Kollective provides businesses with flexibility and the confidence that their network will always work.

Talk to an expert today to see how Kollective’s ECDN solutions excel in Zero Trust network environments.

The post The Rise of Zero Trust Networks appeared first on Kollective Technology .

To view our Partner blog, click here

What is Kollective’s Complete Coverage?


What is Kollective’s Complete Coverage?

The dynamics of the modern workplace have changed. The hybrid work model has connected employees on a scale never seen before. With employees working on-site, remote, or a combination of the two, the hybrid environment has forced businesses to become more flexible and adaptable. While many organizations have adjusted to facilitate this new way of working, some companies still lag in connecting their dispersed hybrid workforce.

To realize the full benefits of tools that support real-time collaboration and communication (e.g., Microsoft Teams), organizations need to equip their networks with technology that enables content delivery under any circumstance. Furthermore, without a reliable network to facilitate each businesses’ unique content delivery needs, employees risk disconnecting from their coworkers and management. Kollective’s Complete Coverage helps organizations solve these challenges, ensuring all workers are connected regardless of location or network complexity.

Hybrid Office Networks

The hybrid office has created new challenges for network and IT administrators. Teams are more reliant on video communications than ever before. For enterprises to function smoothly, it is critical that every employee, whether they are in the office or remote, has equal access to high-quality video streams. Every organization has unique network requirements determined by office locations, security protocols, bandwidth allocation, and more.

Hybrid work environments complicate the needs of already complex networks. While network requirements change from business to business, typical challenges can include:

  • Remote offices
  • Virtual private networks (VPNs)
  • Firewalled or backhauled locations (e.g., China)
  • Hard to reach users
  • Zero trust networks

Content Distribution Challenges

Any combination of the challenges listed above creates hurdles for distributing content across the enterprise. Whether you are a financial institution with security concerns or a multinational manufacturing organization with offices throughout China, the basic needs remain the same – to deliver content seamlessly to the edge. Network topologies differ from business to business, as do the solutions required to deliver content across those networks. However, the objective for all organizations remains the same – complete coverage.

Kollective’s Complete Coverage

The goal of Kollective’s Complete Coverage is simple: moving content the last mile repeatedly and reliably regardless of network complexity. Kollective’s best-in-class ECDN (Enterprise Content Delivery Network) Platform has solutions covering every use case you are likely to encounter.

How Does Kollective Provide Complete Coverage?

Kollective’s Edge Accelerator Platform is a comprehensive solution that scales and secures content delivery to the network’s edge. Edge Accelerator covers the whole spectrum of delivery needs and use cases, ensuring that all employees receive content efficiently regardless of where they are located. Kollective achieves this through three delivery methods:

Browser-Based Peering – This WebRTC technology is the jack of all trades in the ECDN ecosystem. It covers the most common video delivery needs and is where businesses should start when selecting an ECDN.

Agent-Based Peering – Kollective’s Agent is a solution for businesses looking to scale content delivery beyond video (software and file delivery). The Agent excels in VOD delivery and offers an even higher level of security, making it an excellent choice for zero-trust networks.

EdgeCache – Used with Browser-Based Peering, EdgeCache aggregates content flows within the corporate firewall. This allows businesses to deliver content to low-bandwidth locations, remote offices and effectively bypass the Great Firewall of China.

Start your Journey to Complete Coverage with Browser-Based Peering

Browser-Based Peering is the foundation of Kollective’s Edge Accelerator Platform – the starting point for businesses looking to streamline communication and collaboration across the enterprise. Browser-Based Peering uses WebRTC technology to scale video distribution through a web browser or the Microsoft Teams client. It is a cloud-based software solution requiring no hardware or installation. It can be deployed rapidly with ease and covers a wide range of common use cases for both live video and video-on-demand (VOD). Start a Free Trial now .

Maximize Microsoft Investment with Complete Coverage

When paired with the O365 collaboration suite, Kollective helps businesses get the most out of their investment. Innovative tools like Microsoft Teams used in conjunction with backend solutions like Kollective’s Edge Accelerator allow organizations to achieve effective communication across the enterprise.

The post What is Kollective’s Complete Coverage? appeared first on Kollective Technology .

To view our Partner blog, click here