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August 10, 2021
Microsoft has acquired enterprise content delivery network (eCDN) provider Peer5, a move aiming to improve Teams live video streaming capability. The acquisition of Peer5, announced Tuesday, will optimize Microsoft Teams video, specifically for events broadcast to large audiences.
Peer5 is among several third-party providers that offer a WebRTC-based eCDN offering designed to optimize bandwidth utilization. Based on mesh networks, Peer5 provides autoscaling and built-in load-balancing capability. Using peer-to-peer streaming, Peer5 claims it can offload as much as 95% of the bandwidth coming into a network from the internet.
The Peer5 eCDN aims to integrate with different video platforms and video players. Among them: Media Platform, Brightcove, Google Meet, ICV Digital Media, Sequoia and WTV. Peer5 also supports connectivity to CDNs including Akamai, Cloudflare, Fastly and Stackpath.
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According to the announcement by Microsoft Teams GM Nicole Herskowitz, Peer5 also reduces the impact of streaming on other applications. That is particularly beneficial to remote workers in that it ensures the video traffic won’t impede network performance. Peer5 runs in a browser; hence, Herskowitz noted that it doesn’t require installation of endpoint software or network upgrades.
Microsoft’s Nicole Herskowitz
“As live streaming becomes more common in the workplace; large organizations need reliable enterprise video streaming solutions,” Herskowitz noted. “Enterprise content delivery networks can alleviate limited corporate network downlink bandwidth to deliver high-quality video streaming and broadcasting for large audiences of employees. The Peer5 solution will allow Microsoft to provide a first-party offering to help customers streamline purchase process and customer support, improving their enterprise IT management experience.”
Herskowitz did not specify whether Microsoft will offer the Peer5 live Teams streaming capability for all Teams subscriptions or just for premium accounts. It also wasn’t immediately clear when Microsoft will offer Peer5 as a first-party enhancement.
“Microsoft will provide more information when available,” Herskowitz said.
Besides Teams, Peer5 also supports integrated with Microsoft Stream, Office 365 Video, Yammer and legacy Internet Explorer. Hadar Weiss, Peer5’s co-founder and CEO emphasized in a separate post that video broadcasts can cause network congestion. That’s especially an issue during companywide meetings. An email with a video link someone sends to all employees can also be an issue, he noted.
“Our technology solves this problem in the most efficient way possible, without changing the existing network infrastructure,” Hadar noted.
Microsoft recently extended the capacity of Teams, allowing up to 1,000 participants in a meeting and 20,000 for webcasts. Cisco Webex and Zoom, among others, have also added similar support for large meetings and webinars. Industry analyst Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research said Microsoft Teams video without the use of eCDN does not scale well.
ZK Research’s Zeus Kerravala
“The video quality for Microsoft Tams in small groups is OK,” Kerravala said. “Once you get into larger meetings, the quality does go down. And part of that is just the way teams is built. It’s still built on a lot of the older Skype code, which is encapsulated into a WebRTC client. So, it is a pretty heavy application compared to the way WebEx or Zoom works. Peer5’s eCDN capabilities takes a lot of the load off the network and should give them better quality.”
Microsoft will continue to support eCDN options from other certified partners, according to Herskowitz. Hive, Kollective and Ramp are among those partners.
Read more about:Agents
Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.
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