Motorola Mobility fosters employee connectivity and strengthens the corporate culture with video webcasting.
Motorola Mobility is a telecommunications equipment corporation owned by Lenovo. Motorola Mobility uses innovative technology with human insights to create experiences that simplify, connect and enrich people’s lives.
Motorola Mobility, delivers more than 200 webcasts a year to the company’s workforce. The webcast events vary in scope, but are expected to reach every worker regardless of location or device. As the strategic importance and volume of webcasts at the company has grown, Motorola needed to address growing enterprise requirements for successful internal media stream delivery, whether for town hall meetings, sales kick-offs, training and e-learning, or executive addresses. Enterprise-scale webcasting was becoming increasingly difficult to achieve using Motorola’s aging, homegrown system, based on Windows Media technology.
The Search for Affordable Enterprise Webcasting
The company needed a more advanced webcasting solution that could support sophisticated executive communications, reach the entire company, and play on virtually any platform, device, or browser. Among the biggest challenges, however, was the need to webcast on a network that was not multicast-enabled – Motorola Mobility did not want to invest in a full-on network infrastructure upgrade.
The unicasting system could not manage more than one webcast at a time and it was not compatible with the Firefox browser, Mac computers, or Linux machines. In addition, webcasts could only be streamed from headquarters, limiting the “voices” of other locations. “We partner heavily with Internal Communications. They’re our biggest ‘customer’ and they know our service the best,” says Colin Evans, Senior IT Systems Engineer. “They fully understood the growing impossibility of professionally producing multiple simultaneous webcasts and reaching 16,000 employees worldwide on a network that was not multicast-enabled.”
At the same time as Motorola Mobility had to replace the old system, cost avoidance was paramount. Evans and his team considered running everything over conference bridges, but estimated it would cost more than $1 million a year. Costly infrastructure upgrades such as IP Multicast enabling networks, eCDN or WAN optimization devices were also ruled out, based on their expense and complexity.
Multicasting with Adobe Technology
After evaluating several alternatives to replace Motorola Mobility’s homegrown video system, Evans and his team selected a solution that combines Adobe Media Enterprise Server and MediaPlatform software, based on the Open Source Media Framework. Adobe and MediaPlatform, an Adobe Solution Partner, collaborated on testing and implementing the new solution, resulting in one of the world’s first enterprise instances of multicasting using Adobe Flash technology.
The Motorola Mobility webcasting solution enables Evans and his team to produce multiple simultaneous webcasts using MediaPlatform. MediaPlatform is designed for professional, interactive webcast production, giving producers the ability to stream video from multiple sources, both live and prerecorded, synchronize video with Microsoft PowerPoint slides; and conduct question and answer sessions, surveys, and polls.
Multicasting is made possible by peer-to-peer (P2P) networking using the Real Time Media Flow Protocol (RTMFP) within Adobe Media Enterprise Server. The video streams to end users using Adobe technology on a P2P network inside the firewall.
The peer-assisted capability, known as Application Level Multicasting, allows Motorola Mobility to reach virtually every user on its internal network—without having to multicast-enable the network or invest in any infrastructure upgrades. The peering is securely managed and governed using Adobe Media Enterprise Server. “For a company the size of Motorola Mobility, having the ability to control the peering process using Adobe Media Enterprise Server is a critical requirement of our webcasting solution,” says Evans.
Motorola Mobility chose an atypical but forward-looking approach to deploying the combined Adobe and MediaPlatform solution. Adobe Media Enterprise Server is hosted on-premises within Motorola Mobility’s datacenters, running on a standard Microsoft Windows server configuration. MediaPlatform is cloud-based, hosted at Amazon Web Services. This hybrid configuration offers several advantages, including the ability to harness a powerful webcasting platform without having to install and maintain the entire system on-premises.
Global Reach, Without the High Cost
The benefits for Motorola Mobility include enhanced communication, cost savings, and ultimately, a stronger company culture based on improved communications. The level of interactivity and professionalism of webcasts has soared.
When compared to using conference bridges, according to Evans, Motorola Mobility saved over $1 million a year. Additional cost savings were derived from the avoidance of network upgrade costs, which would have been substantial; the elimination of on-premises infrastructure and support costs for the webcasting platform; and a reduction in the use of telephone conference lines.
“When we told Internal Communications that we were avoiding more than $1 million a year in conference-bridge costs by using Adobe Media Enterprise Server and MediaPlatform, they spread the word to all the departments,” says Evans. “Everyone started knocking on our door. There is no other way to communicate internally so cost effectively.”