Chris Strijbosch, vice-president of business development at nanocosmos, says that operators must use technologies that offer insight and analysis to ensure they provide the best player experience regardless of the bandwidth available.
Disconnected: how live casino operators can overcome bad internet
One of the greatest challenges that live casino providers and operators face is ensuring players receive the best possible experience on both desktop and mobile, regardless of the market they are in. This requires all pieces of the puzzle to be put together correctly, like the first mile, video camera/source, middle mile, streaming CDN with low latency, and the last mile, delivery to the player devices.
At the moment one piece they are struggling to put in place is managing the different bandwidth/internet quality in each market. This is because providers and operators are taking a trial-and-error approach to the settings used for each market, rather than using technologies that provide the insight required to get it right.
In markets where the bandwidth is low but stream settings are set high, the player experience is negatively impacted as the live casino game keeps buffering, disconnecting or simply does not work. Before discussing how providers can overcome this issue, it is worth looking at which markets suffer from low bandwidth and poor internet – some will come as a surprise.
Low bandwidth is a global issue
Markets such as Africa and South America are among the most challenging when it comes to internet; local investment in technology is not as advanced as it is in other developed jurisdictions. But markets like the US and Europe still suffer from low bandwidth and poor internet, albeit on a local level rather than countrywide. Even in the UK, your phone will connect to different bandwidths depending on where you are located in the country, regularly switching between 3G, 4G and in some cases 5G. If a player moves from one area to another, they can switch from 5G to 3G in a matter of seconds. When this happens, their game playing experience will change for the worse. While infrastructures will improve – in South America internet quality is much better than it was ve years ago, for example – providers and operators must act now to ensure they deliver the best user experience.
Make use of adaptive bitrate playback and live transcoding
To do this, live casino providers and operators must use adaptive bit rate playback and live transcoding – and the good news is both are readily available. Let me use an example to explain how they work. For a player to access a live casino stream from their smartphone, a level of bandwidth is required. If the player cannot access that bandwidth – because they are on 3G when the stream has been set for 4G – the stream will buffer or simply disconnect.
To prevent this from happening, the stream quality needs to be reduced by switching to a lower quality stream encoded with a lower bitrate. With adaptive bitrate playback, the stream automatically adjusts to the best quality for the available network. If the player moves back into 4G coverage, the stream quality is improved. The live transcoder converts the original live stream from a high-quality input stream into the different lower quality streams used depending on the bandwidth available. Providers and operators only need to send a single stream from their live encoder and the Cloud live transcoder takes care of the additional formats. That being said, providers and operators can set up streams from day one based on the bandwidth and internet quality in each market they target. To do this, they need to work with a technology provider whose platform provides the insight they need – visibility of each player, where they are located, and the bandwidth they are on. Based on this, a clear picture of each market, state, etc can be seen and the stream fine-tuned so that it delivers the best user experience at all times. And that ultimately is the purpose here. Stream quality is just one piece of the puzzle operators must complete if they are to deliver the best overall experience to the player.
Chris Strijbosch joined NanoCosmos in 2010. He has over 30 years’ hands-on entrepreneur and management experience with stations in the Netherlands, Germany and the US. At NanoCosmos he is overseeing business development ensuring the demands of all markets such as streaming and igaming are covered with their dynamic and diverse requirements. Being part of the turning point and helping a company with accomplishing the next milestone of sales-profit growth has become second nature to Strijbosch. He worked at Hauppauge Computer Works where he successfully built up the international subsidiary to become a leading TV/video brand. Strijbosch has an MBA from the Business School Nederland.
This article was originally published by EGR Tech (May 21, 2021).