Live streaming solutions in the age of coronavirus

11th May 2020
Alex Lynn

Every aspect of daily life has been upended by the spread of the novel coronavirus. Restaurants, bars, schools, concert venues, offices and other public places are closed. As large gatherings and stay-at-home orders continue in efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, live streaming solutions are more important than ever.

By David Stubenvoll, Co-founder and CEO at Wowza Media Systems

The virus is keeping us contained in our homes, forcing us to realign our lives to the outside world and to each other. As we all work to adapt to the ‘new normal’ in the age of the virus, opportunities to adjust are simultaneously arising — and technological advances in live streaming are easing the transition.

How can live streaming help?

No industry has been left untouched by the novel coronavirus pandemic as efforts to curb COVID-19 have triggered unprecedented change around the world.

While we’re all aware of streaming solutions that enable us to remotely connect with everyone from friends and family to classmates, colleagues and clients, live streaming has never been as popular as it is today. With an increased number of people around the world staying at home and practicing social distancing to prevent the virus from spreading, global streaming viewing catapulted nearly 21% during the first three weeks of March, with the U.S. seeing a 26.6% rise in streaming viewing hours.

With religious services, at-home concerts, virtual events, college courses, fitness classes and government organization press conferences now being broadcast over the internet, live video streaming is helping to fill the void of in-person experiences and transcending physical confines to improve our lives amid the global pandemic.

But the possibilities of live streaming go beyond connecting people and enabling musicians to go live from their living rooms. These technologies are also being deployed to power unique applications like emergency communications, health care patient monitoring and coronavirus case tracking in an effort to flatten the curve. 

Live streaming to enhance emergency response and track coronavirus cases

Traditionally, 911 operators could only assess an emergency situation with information provided by an oftentimes panicked caller. The time lost between when an emergency call is made and the moment when aid actually arrives can be crucial to saving someone’s life.

Compounding the challenge, current legacy technologies and inefficiencies in the telecommunications infrastructure lack the sophistication required to effectively ameliorate emergency situations. 

With such limited information, emergency responders rarely know what to expect when they arrive on the scene. Enter live streaming technologies.

The same technology that enables you to remain connected with your loved ones during the pandemic is now also being employed to provide first responders a better sense of the troubling situation they’re entering. Ushering in a new era of emergency communications, companies like Carbyneare leveraging live streaming to deliver situational information from any connected device to emergency communications centres.

This unique live streaming application enables operators and dispatchers to capture relevant information from a wide array of sources to reduce time to dispatch and time to issue resolution. By leveraging the cloud, AI-enriched functionality, automation, IoT gateways and a global infrastructure, Carbyne’s call-handling solution gathers all available information about an incident to deliver rich, actionable data from emergency communications centres that emergency responders can use to better assess the situation and determine the correct response. 

Carbyne’s live video chatoption allows operators and dispatchers to activate a video session with a caller (once accepted). The live stream is a powerful tool to address incidents in which the caller’s communications are not clear. Additionally, Carbyne’s is the only solution in the world that enables emergency communications centres to share the caller’s location data and video footage with field responders via a unified platform.

This connection provides medics, firefighters and law enforcement officers with better situational awareness. That way, they are fully prepared and ready to address a situation as they enter the scene. 

By leveraging the power of live streaming, Carbyne dramatically reduces dispatch time,  increases safety, improves response efficiency, and provides faster and better care for citizens at risk, which ultimately saves lives. And while Carbyne’s solution has proven beneficial across the globe for several years, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought additional benefits. 

Today, Carbyne enables medical personnel to remotely evaluate potential COVID-19 cases and connect potentially infected individuals with medical professionals via HIPAA-compliant telehealth services. The platform has been used in some cities to help track COVID-19 cases, delivering a heat map that details coronavirus-related calls so the municipality can better allocate resources for emergencies unrelated to the virus and prevent the disease from spreading.

Live streaming to increase patient connection with live monitoring

Emergency response communications and COVID-19 case tracking are not the only areas in which live streaming is being utilized in the age of coronavirus. Now, health care organizations are leveraging the technology to remove the physical barriers that separate families from their loved ones and care teams in many critical settings.

ConsiderAngelEye Healthas an example. For years, the company has provided hospitals 24/7 live streaming access that removes the physical barriers separating families during their neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) stay.

Parents with newborns in the NICU are able to check on their babies via a secure stream for peace of mind when it matters most. As the pandemic has increased, intensive care unit (ICU) doctors have taken note and are beginning to request this technology in their wards and other parts of the hospital. 

Today, AngelEye’s unique solution is being expanded to help families stay connected with ICU patients. With limited visitation inside hospitals, the technology has proven essential to families seeking real-time “visits” with loved ones and information regarding their health status.

Seeing as hospitals are overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic and hospitals are restricting visitation, AngelEye gives families access to their family members in the hospital and updates directly from the care team, alleviating concerns created by a lack of information.

In these unprecedented times, live video technology has evolved into nothing short of a necessity. Both Carbyne and AngelEye Health are answering this need with the reliable, secure and scalable streaming infrastructure that today’s reality demands.

The pandemic demonstrates how essential virtual learning, video conferencing, telemedicine and unique applications are to life in the new normal. While the virus has tested us, there’s clearly a growing opportunity for the implementation of live streaming technologies to help us overcome challenges posed by the crisis.

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