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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.