One-To-Many Satellite Delivery of Content for Cost-Effective Solutions
Retailers and other businesses have discovered digital signage is an effective way to directly increase revenues, generate customer awareness, and improve and augment the customer experience and satisfaction. However, delivering and managing content can be resource intensive, particularly if it is to a large number of sites.
A key component to any digital media solution is having a scalable and dependable network in order to reach the intended audience. Many businesses begin by using common-carrier IP connections, including DSL or cable. But these technologies are based on unicast (one-to-one communication). As the digital-media network expands to hundreds or thousands of locations, unicast is often not an economical or scalable solution. Satellite, on the other hand, is designed to support broadband and multicast (one-to-many communication) more efficiently than traditional IP unicast networks. It provides the ability to cost-effectively and rapidly deliver large volumes of content to multiple locations without impacting the performance of the primary network or the user experience of employees and customers.
From a strict content delivery perspective, satellite communications provide advantages such as:
- Ubiquitous availability
- Independence of terrestrial networks
- Broadcast/multicast content distribution
- Security and privacy
- Superior economics
- Rapid deployment and installation
- Flexibility and expandability
Satellite provides reliable content distribution via its inherent multicast capabilities (the process of sending data across a network to several recipients simultaneously) and enables clients to verify and track how often content is viewed. The multicast capabilities of satellite enable content to be delivered more cost-effectively and efficiently than alternative unicast delivery methods (content is sent to each individual site using a separate IP session for each destination) via DSL or cable.
More importantly, satellite communications can be integrated into a network and repurposed for a variety of tasks within the organization, meeting the all-important metric of maximum return on investment. In addition to providing highly reliable delivery of advanced out-of-home media, including digital signage, commercially licensed music, business TV, or two-way video, satellite networks can be utilized for business continuity or emergency communications.
When incorporated into a fully managed network solution, satellite not only provides the only true multicast option available over a single network, it also provides a diverse network path with no exposure to terrestrial network liabilities. All other terrestrial options, even other wireless options such as cellular or WiMAX, are still vulnerable to any number of natural or man-made disasters. Even a simple cut cable can lead to a costly network outage. This has proven particularly relevant to retail customers who, in addition to being industry leaders in the use of digital signage applications, have a critical need for high network availability.
Utilizing a customer premise routing device, terrestrial networks can be swapped over to the satellite network at single or multiple locations in the event of network outage almost instantly, minimizing the impact of a network event. These satellite networks can support all critical network functions at a retail location, including VoIP or PCI compliance. And, because satellite coverage is ubiquitous, these networks are portable and can be established in remote locations in a matter of minutes.
Network managers understand that today more than ever there are a number of networking options, all with certain benefits and limitations. When selecting the right combination of solutions to meet an enterprise need, managers need to consider more than functionality and cost. They need to consider a number of contingencies such as risk mitigation, new requirements or applications, even emergency continuity planning. While it’s not ideal for every situation, satellite offers a number of unique benefits, particularly if digital signage or other multicast applications will play a key part in the organizations strategy. Today’s satellite providers can deliver satellite as an overlay to primary networks, reducing the cost of content delivery and providing a diverse network route in the case of unforeseen network events.
Jon Douglas (jon.Douglas@spacenet.com) is director of marketing for Spacenet. Prior to joining Spacenet, Douglas directed all global strategic marketing initiatives for Aruba Networks’ public sector division.