In recent weeks, Kinow has been able to meet some of its partners for special "expert" interviews. Meeting with Manuel Bergerot, sales Director EMEA at Bitmovin. He discusses the following topic: "The carbon footprint of streaming and bandwidth saving practices".
Manuel Bergerot began his career in business development for the EMEA market. Then he worked in Business Intelligence and Big Data for OTT services.
Passionate about this field, in 2017, he decided to co-found BCN Video Tech, a community of engineers, developers and fans of online video technology based in Barcelona. He is now Sales Director for the EMEA region at Bitmovin.
Is the consumption of online video content an environmentally friendly practice?
Contrary to all expectations, the use of online video is not as environmentally friendly as we would like it to be. The consumption of digital content has exploded in recent years and even more so since the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2019, digital was emitting 4%** of the world's greenhouse gases and video streaming accounted for more than 63%* of content consumption on the internet.
What is the carbon footprint of video streaming?
The carbon footprint of these services is significant. It is composed firstly of the impact of the devices used to play the streams (mobile phones, connected televisions, tablets, etc.), and also of the different stages of production, post-production and distribution of content.
As far as the devices are concerned, we face the same problems of frequency of renewal of the devices and their obsolescence. As far as the impact of production and post-production is concerned, this is relatively similar to that before the use of streaming. By far the most impacting component is the distribution of content, with the involvement of various services such as transcoding of content, ingestion of content in CDN (Content Delivery Network) networks and then on telecommunication networks and finally via the Wi-Fi routers in our homes. These transmission costs are significant because they are recurrent. Each time we request video content, i.e. when we press the play button, we generate the carbon footprint associated with the transport of this content.
How can we control and reduce this carbon footprint?
At the level of the user, there are different reflexes that we could adopt. For example, connecting to Wi-Fi networks to watch videos and not to mobile networks such as 3G or 4G which are more resource-intensive. We can already ask ourselves about 5G, will it be more ecological?
In the case of content that will be viewed several times, it is preferable to download it locally rather than streaming it each time. And finally, be responsible, when acquiring or renewing your device(s), for ensuring the recycling of these old devices.
As far as streaming platforms are concerned, some technologies can reduce the impact of content transport, for example :
- Bitmovin deploys solutions that reduce the size of files (per-title encoding or 3-pass encoding).
- Quortex, which offers live streaming solutions (just-in-time) that allow infrastructures to be deployed in the Cloud according to demand.
- Or StreamRoot which develops Peer-to-Peer solutions to share content with other users located geographically close to each other.
We can also highlight the evolution of the performance of compression codecs that make it possible to reduce the size of files and increase the quality of video.
The very good news is that by applying these new technologies, in parallel, platforms are also reducing their distribution costs.
Finally, I would say that, as a first step, it is critical that consumers become aware and react positively to the efforts. Secondly, online video players should already now define and communicate their strategies regarding the ecological impact of the consumption of their video streams and how they wish to reduce this impact. The topic of ecology is becoming increasingly important in the technology sector and can be a decisive factor when choosing a platform for the user.
- *source: https://www.notre-planete.info/actualites/247-streaming-energieCO2
- **source: https://theshiftproject.org/article/climat-insoutenable-usage-video/
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