DNC goes digital as virtual events hit their stride
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

Even if 2020 wasn’t an election year, it’d still be one for the record books, as COVID-19 has disrupted everything from how we work to how we teach our kids. Now, it’s upending how we choose our national leaders.

While there’s still lingering controversy about how voting will actually take place come November, the Democrat and Republican parties are following the leads of Cisco and other major event holders by taking their national conventions online.

A hallmark of each election cycle, the Democratic National Convention (DNC) and Republican National Convention (RNC) are where party leaders (and thousands of supporters) gather for a multi-day series of speeches and ceremonies to officially nominate their candidate for president. This year, rather than converging on a strategically-chosen host city, both events are being streamed live on virtually every platform (and, as a result, every device) on the market.

The DNC is up first, launching this week ostensibly from a virtual Milwaukee, Wisconsin, though neither the presumptive nominee Joe Biden nor recently-announced VP pick Kamala Harris will actually be flying out to the Cream City for the event. Things kicked off with speeches from party leaders at all levels of national politics, with the night’s main event being an impassioned address from former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Despite positive reviews following Obama’s address, however, there’s uncertainty about just how engaging a convention that’s usually curated by reactions from a major live audience will be when translated to a format – streaming video – that’s become almost exhaustively common in the WFH era.

“The challenge lies in how these politicians will connect with viewers at home, through the TV or computer, when there’s no live audience,” Kate Molloy, the creative director at New Hampshire-based Malloy Events, told CNET, adding that she expects the production quality of both conventions to be top-notch..

The good news for organizers is that, as expected, there were few issues regarding video quality from the remote locations speakers broadcast from. But when the target audience is stuck at home and streaming from the same residential ISP connections they leverage to do work, go to school and enjoy entertainment, the DNC and RNC are up against a lot of competition when it comes to network bandwidth critical to performance.

Compound this with the 24/7 news cycle, an emphasis on social media to help amplify political messages to digital-first audiences and an uptick in virtual events in general, traffic out to end users has never been more congested.

For enterprises who need their workers to “cut through the noise” of all their ancillary digital experiences to focus on the job, the problem is not so much one of attention spans, but actually having access to adequate network capacity levels to support their digital workflows. This puts the onus on enterprise IT teams to gain visibility into the “last mile” residential ISP connections delivering network resources out to users in the WFH era, helping them to get ahead of IT issues beyond the enterprise edge to minimize downtime while users are remote.


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Filed Under: Industry Insights

Tags: enterprise IT , network management , network performance monitoring , network performance , streaming performance , streaming conference , streaming convention , streaming events , live streaming , streaming , democratic national convention , rnc , dnc