The growing popularity of Internet television isn’t good news for everyone, as businesses are finding to their cost, with falling productivity and rising bandwidth levels.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Carriage Services Inc., a funeral-services company based in Houston, recently found out to their cost that 70% of its 125-person workforce watched videos on YouTube and MySpace for up to an hour a day.
Jeff Parker, the company’s information-technology administrator blocked access to both sites and expressed his shock at the figures:
“I almost fell out of my chair when I saw how many people were doing it and how much bandwidth those sites sucked up.”
Affecting Companies Around The World
Carriage Services is not alone, with companies across the US and beyond starting to take measures to prevent their workers from accessing video sites on the Web while they are meant to be working.
In the same way that instant messaging, streaming music and porn sites have been discovered to be a problem in recent years, online television and video is now the bane of any company’s IT department.
Heavy Traffic At Lunchtime
According to Nielsen Online, the heaviest traffic to Internet video sites is during weekday lunch hours between 12 pm and 2pm, when most people are at work, or at least meant to be.
Rather than slowing down, the problem is expected to get worse, as numerous sites and services including Hulu and Netflix, start to offer high definition streaming, which will push companies networks to the limit, and possibly even over it.
New Problem, New Solutions
But there is a problem associated with broadly banning all media or video files or sites from a company’s network, as it means workers cannot check videos which may be necessary to the running of the business.
This has helped create a whole new business opportunity for some, with various companies offering solutions to the problem, with software which is able to peer into computer traffic and dissect it at the source.
Part of me thinks that company bosses are acting a bit like Big Brother in some cases of worker monitoring, but there’s no doubt it’s an increasing problem which needs something doing about it.
As YouTube and the like continue to grow, and new sites such as Hulu continue to crop up and gain a foothold, companies are going to have to decide on a strategy and stick to it, or there’ll soon find a slowdown in computer traffic, and possibly even outages
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