Use live streaming to help prepare for crises, natural disasters

live streaming

Growth of the world’s economy could be cut in half if the coronavirus (COVID-19) cases show up around the globe, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; even if the outbreak is mostly contained, growth could fall to 2.5% instead of the 3% the group predicted.

The update O.E.C.D. released today, “Coronavirus: The World Economy at Risk,” actually takes a less severe tone than some other Wall Street analysts have. Increasingly, the onset of another global recession is one of the concerns from a mass outbreak of COVID-19.

Some other fallout from the virus:

  • Cancellation of major events – including the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Facebook’s F8 summit in San Jose, Calif., and a pair of LPGA tournaments in Thailand and Singapore. A group that represents U.S. college athletes has suggested spectators be banned from this month’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Game would be played in otherwise empty arenas, much as Italy’s professional soccer teams have played to empty stadiums in the northern part of the country.
  • In Paris, the Louvre was closed this past weekend and again today; government officials banned mass gatherings, as have authorities in Switzerland.
  • Corporations are discussing remote work options, some have already begun to split up workforces and others have announced temporary closures to assess the impact of COVID-19.
  • Japan has closed schools, as have some districts in Oregon and Washington.
  • Larger scale quarantines are being discussed as one way to contain the spread of the virus.

Live streaming offers more options

The common thread that’s emerging from this crisis? The need to communicate with large groups quickly and efficiently.

Traditionally, broadcasters have been among the first point of contact during times of crisis. That has evolved with the rise of cable, as the technology pushed aside free-over-the-air broadcasting. Today, increasingly, especially in the United States, the growing numbers of cord cutters and cord nevers is changing that dynamic yet again, especially among younger consumers.

Also changing the dynamic? The rising of fake news that has eroded the credibility of most public information sources.

This crisis is likely to drive growth in another information channel as federal, state and local governments and health care and safety agencies look to connect more directly and in a more timely manner with their constituencies.

Live streaming.

Broadcasters likely will continue to be a touchpoint for national audiences, but for smaller constituencies, where a more attenuated message needs to be relayed, look for live streaming to be adopted for everything from township and city level alerts, to schools, universities, events and companies.

Why live streaming works

Live video can be easily created and its deployment to targeted audiences can be made very simple, if you have the right tools.

During a natural disaster or a health crisis like the COVID-19 outbreak, demand for information is continuous. Delivering up-to-the minute, accurate and trustworthy content to consumers who may be at work, at school, on the road or at home, with access on disparate devices is crucial.

Many preparedness messages target large audiences. But it’s likely smaller communities will have more specific information to dispense. For them, and for institutions like schools and community hospitals, getting that information out to their specific audience can be a legal and logistical challenge.

Live streaming video offers the ability to target specific audiences with that trusted information. For hospitals and health care agencies in a specific community, for example, it offers the ability to deliver unique, community specific updates.

How businesses can prepare

As we’ve already seen, it’s not just governments and public institutions that need to be able to reach target audiences.

An increase in work-from-home scenarios – voluntary or government mandated through quarantines – will make large-scale employee communications necessary for business continuity. Whether departmental meetings, one-on-one discussions, all-hands meetings or companywide messaging, being able to deliver secure, scalable content is table stakes.

Events – as we’ve seen – have been cancelled, postponed or limited by threats of coronavirus expansion. Live streaming can help there, too.

For performing arts, athletics and the like, audiences can watch live streamed or VOD content. Some organizers already have decided to offer free streams in an attempt to maintain engagement, others have decided it makes economic sense to charge for the streams.

As we’ve already seen with several business-focused events, potential quarantine or consumers’ reluctance to travel also will severely impact attendance and profitability for those events. Live streaming video of panels, presentation and industry news can offset that by offering the content directly.

Stay tuned… and stay well.

Jim O’Neill is Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn