Coronavirus: What have we learnt, and what the OTT industry can do

By Silvia Candido, Field Marketing Director

If you had told me in December that, in 3 months’ time, 1.7 billion people worldwide would be stuck at home – with police checking if those few who are on the street have the required authorisation – I would probably not have believed you. Yet today, that is exactly what is happening.

These are strange times indeed.

Perhaps the current crisis could have been prevented – or at least reduced. But it’s useless to mull over what could have been, when it can’t.

What is useful, instead, is to ask ourselves what we have learnt from this upheaval. Personally, I take two lessons out of it.

1. Listen to what the experts say

The warning signs were there – yet some leaders and citizens have been in denial as the situation got out of hand, the numbers kept increasing, and the patients kept piling up in hospitals. Less than two weeks ago, in Paris, my neighbours stuck a note on the front door asking us to pardon the noise as they were “obliged” to have their party at home since there was a ban on gatherings of 100 people or more.

We knew that the virus was here. We knew it is extremely contagious. We knew it is potentially deadly. Yet somehow, they felt invulnerable.

2. Act soon

How many lives would have been saved if the social distancing had started just one day earlier? How many if it had started two days earlier?

I don’t know the exact answer to that question, but it’s clear that it’s quite a big number. The virus spreads exponentially. If one person infects x people in one day, each one of those will infect x more people, so the number of people infected after 2 days (by just that one person) will be x times x, i.e. x². That’s why it’s been getting out of hand so quickly – and why it’s important to act soon.

How can we Use these Lessons?

So how can we transfer these lessons to other areas of our life? What other impending crises are looming ahead that we could apply these lessons to?

The obvious one, of course, is climate change. Levels of carbon dioxide have been increasing at an alarming rate. The Arctic ice is melting. Sea levels are rising. Biologists suspect that we are in the middle of a mass extinction of species. And human activity seems to be the culprit.

We could, like my Parisian neighbours, ignore the warning signs and keep on partying.

Or we could decide that, at some point, we need to do something about it.

But when?

That’s where the second lesson comes in: act soon. In the case of climate change, as with the novel coronavirus, soon means now (or even better, yesterday).

But the problem is – most of us don’t really know what we can do. We don’t want to become social outcasts and go live in the jungle with no modern comfort. So what can we do beyond recycling?

Lessons for the OTT Industry

Actually, if you work in TV – and especially in OTT – there are a few things you can do to make your TV offering greener.

OTT TV contributes to global warming with its huge amounts of storage and bandwidth requirements.

Anevia has been working on optimising storage efficiency and reducing bandwidth requirements by at least 30%. We have developed a number of technologies that can help you make your operations greener. These include:

  • Highly efficient encoders
  • Just-in-time packaging for reduced storage requirements
  • Embedded Distributed Storage – a hyper-convergent solution that can use the same servers for both streaming and storage, thereby halving the number of physical racks
  • A shared workflow approach that greatly reduces both storage and bandwidth requirements
  • An elastic CDN solution that eliminates wasted CDN capacity.

We don’t expect people to stop watching TV – and frankly, as an industry, we probably don’t want that either. But we can all contribute to making that habit greener – if we take to heart the lessons learnt from this crisis to avoid the other crisis the experts have been warning us about.

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