Video Analytics: Data essentials, insights and challenges

It’s common knowledge that a strong data analytics solution is essential to the success of any video streaming business. Data analytics provide crucial information and insights for the many moving parts and processes of content delivery, from infrastructure performance to end-user experience. 

The past decade has seen a veritable boom in the OTT live stream sphere. Leading live streaming platforms are constantly reaching new heights of sophistication and innovation. This evolution has been matched in the world of data analytics, both in the kind of data collected and the way the data itself is gathered. 

What do we need data for?

The reasons are infinite! But essentially we need data to make smart decisions, to provide your customers with the best service and, ultimately, make your business as sustainable and profitable as possible. 

What should we be measuring?

This really depends on your business’ goals. A blanket approach to analytics just won’t cut it these days. When it comes to audience data, metrics which track viewership are important, but operators need to know a lot more about their users in order to keep them engaged, and gain new ones. End-user device, operating system, connection type and geographic location are just a few examples of the kinds of metrics required. 

Specific Quality of Experience metrics are also crucial. Operators need to know exactly what their users are seeing and hearing on their screens, whether that be on a smartphone, tablet or TV. Average buffer health, connection speed, rebuffering ratio and viewport resolution are key to gaining a holistic understanding of the quality of the service you’re providing. 

Lastly, you need to know exactly what’s happening across the whole of your delivery chain. ASN, CDN and geo-mapping metrics are vital to understanding which parts of your content delivery infrastructure are working hardest and where problems are likely to arise (or have already arisen). 

Whatever your business’ goals are, there remains a number of critical challenges that service providers face when it comes to data analytics. Let’s take a look at some of the obstacles that businesses are coming up against. 

Lack of visibility across the entire delivery chain

While many analytics solutions offer visibility over things like their audience’s end devices and content delivery network (CDN) performance, operators now require visibility over what is known as “the open internet”. This is where congestion often occurs, especially at times of high concurrent demand. Without visibility across the whole delivery chain, operators cannot spot, troubleshoot and solve issues before they have an impact on their users’ quality of experience. 

Lack of useful real-time information

Even at 5 second granularity, operators get a limited picture if they want to drill down into key quality of service (QoS), quality of experience (QoE) and audience metrics. Businesses are now seeking to gain the deepest understanding of both their users and their infrastructure performance at a specific point in time. In other words, 1 second granularity.

Lack of actionable audience data

A dashboard decked out with all sorts of colorful charts tracking all kinds of metrics may seem like the best way to get to grips with the performance of your live stream. But that’s not necessarily the case. Data is pointless if you can’t use it.

Now that we know some of the challenges, it’s clear that what you measure really matters. 

System73’s Edge Analytics solution has been designed from the ground up with these challenges in mind, offering complete visibility over content delivery at 1-granularity across an array of vital metrics. Edge Analytics’ powerful API gives businesses the agility they need to drill down into the data and get the information they need to understand their audiences, make smarter decisions and resolve issues that might impact their users’ QoE. Head here to find out what Edge Analytics can do for you.