Coming of Age: 2006 Enterprise Year in Review

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It’s a change in outlook that emerged in 2006—a year that marked a sea change in the issues that matter most to those deploying web-delivered audio and video in day-to-day business activities.

Where purchase decision-makers were once focused simply on whether they could publish and distribute online multimedia, concerns among a growing number of corporate users are beginning to center increasingly on how they can best manage online content, keep it secure, and track who’s watching online presentations.

"What this all represents is a transition in how companies perceive online multimedia," says Mike Newman, chief executive officer of multimedia publishing software developer Accordent Technologies Inc. "Video is evolving from a technology that is used to present corporate events into one that can serve as a broader communications platform for an organization."

The roots of this transformation in corporate thinking can be directly linked to a technology adoption trend taking place far outside the confines of the traditional IT department: The rise of personal web video publishing.

As individuals begin to post more and more of their own videos online and distribute them around the world, management executives are asking pointed questions about why the technology can’t be put to work in the same way within their organizations, says Todd Johnson, senior vice president of marketing for VeriSign, which recently got into the content delivery game with its acquisition of Kontiki.

With the increased popularity of consumer online video sharing sites such as YouTube, top executives are seeing that their kids at home have access to higher-quality video technologies than do the employees within their own organizations, Johnson says.

"They come back into their IT organizations and say it’s time that we re-investigate what we should be doing around desktop video," Johnson says.

Most executives from companies selling online multimedia technologies credit the rise in popularity of YouTube—along with Google’s $1.65 billion purchase of the online video sharing site in October 2006—as the single event with the most influence in changing the way average executives perceive online multimedia.

"Video has come of age in the consumer world, and it’s coming of age in the corporate sector as well," says Greg Pulier, chief executive officer of Interactive Video Technologies, a developer of web multimedia publishing software. "These changes are driving expectations that video should be an integral part of a company’s broader communications strategy."

Overall, more than 70% of companies surveyed by Interactive Media Strategies report that they have deployed some form of online multimedia.

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