Quibi enters the streaming race: How will it impact the enterprise?
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

The past year has seen the market for streaming services turn a big corner into the mainstream as a slew of new offerings – both from legacy broadcasters like Disney and first-time content producers like Apple – have gone live, dealing another blow to once-dominant cable TV.

While the majority of the new services are designed with the typical home-viewer in mind, one streamer that goes live today was actually dreamed up with the mobile user exclusively in mind: Quibi.

Short for “quick bites,” Quibi delivers content that is specifically designed to be viewed on smartphones, with each program filmed using a “Turnstyle” technique that allows users to view content either on their phone’s widescreen, horizontal layout, or in a more traditional, vertical-orientation on standard smartphones. What’s more, the content on the platform is designed to be ingested in short order, with programs designed to last the length of a subway ride or bathroom break, or in between meetings.

For enterprises, Quibi has long posed a huge question mark for how this streamer could impact the performance of business-critical apps when users are casually streaming Quibi in short bursts throughout the day. While Netflix and Amazon content can theoretically be streamed from any connected device, those platforms are still optimized to deliver home viewing on a television and as a replacement or supplement to standard broadcast TV.

Quibi, on the other hand, appears to exist as a supplement to these services, providing on-the-go content that users can digest when they aren’t tethered to a computer screen or hanging on the couch at home. It’s this factor that poses uncertainty around just what the impact of Quibi will be both in terms of market share and downloads, and also on worker productivity, both in the office and at home.

One of the main reasons for this uncertainty is the fact that Quibi is going live during a time when most companies have their employees social distancing in an attempt to “flatten the curve” amidst the spread of COVID-19. While workers may use the free WiFi when they work from the office, they’re likely to leverage their data plan or home WiFi when they’re working at home. This means that currently, enterprises may not see a huge impact on their network performance as an immediate result of Quibi’s launch, though worker productivity might be a different story should Quibi’s popularity pick up in the coming months. Particularly interesting is the impact on residential internet connections that are now under stress from kids looking to occupy their time and parents navigating work from home.

Another factor is just how popular an app that’s designed to be mobile will succeed in an era where workers aren’t taking the subway into work or stealing away moments to consume content on their cell phones. When workers are stuck in their apartments with TVs mere feet away, there’s little inherent incentive to favor the small screen in their hands to watch shows. And with people having more time on their hands these days, short-form content may not satisfy consumer tastes today.

So while IT teams need to be aware that there’s a new streamer in town to add to their list of apps to monitor, it may not be until workers begin returning to the office in a few months that IT starts noticing a negative impact on network performance as a result of Quibi adoption.

In our 2020 Enterprise App Report Card, we identified that even when only a few users are accessing streaming services over the enterprise network, it can still have a disproportionate impact on network capacity versus more popular, lower-throughput applications. That’s why it’s essential that teams have visibility into all apps leveraging network capacity to ensure valuable bandwidth is going to the appropriate tools and applications.


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Filed Under: Industry Insights

Tags: work from home , remote work , remote workers , enterprise network , network visibility , observability , network monitoring , network performance monitoring , streaming content , streaming media , streaming video , streaming tv , streaming , Quibi