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It's All About Integration: Enterprise Year in Review

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"We rarely hear about the glamorous side of digital video," says Mike Newman, chief executive officer of Accordent Technologies. "Our customers are business people solving business problems. They’re serious about it."

And companies are spending serious dollars on the implementation of online multimedia for business applications.

One-quarter of all companies represented in a survey of 1,209 executives conducted by IMS in the first quarter of 2007 reported that they invested more than $100,000 in online multimedia technologies annually. At the top of this list, 6% of all companies represented in the survey reported annual budgets for online multimedia that exceeded the $1 million level.

True to historic form, the ranks of the big spenders for online multimedia are populated primarily by large companies. Of the companies represented in the IMS survey that generate more than $1 billion in annual revenues, 54% report that they budgeted more than $100,000 for online multimedia technology.

The emergence of reliable, consistent corporate spending patterns is a good sign for the long-term health of the industry, says VBrick’s Mavrogeanes. "What’s noteworthy about 2007 is what is not noteworthy," he says. "Success is never newsworthy. We’re seeing thousands of companies using this technology and using it successfully."

Increases in multimedia spending in 2007 came primarily from the companies that had already invested significantly in the technology. Among organizations spending more than $100,000 a year on online multimedia, for example, 43% reported plans to boost their 2007 budgets for the technology over the 2006 spending levels. In contrast, only 12% of companies spending less than $10,000 a year on online multimedia are expanding their 2007 budgets for online audio and video.

Democratizing Video in the Enterprise
Moves made by major technology vendors in 2007, however, may pave the way for expanded use of online multimedia among companies of all sizes. One may think of these developments as spurring the "democratization of online multimedia" in the corporate sector.

In December, for instance, Adobe announced plans to offer new versions of its Flash Media Server product line that significantly reduce the cost of distributing content in the Flash Video format. The move is expected to spur increased competition with Microsoft, which spent the bulk of 2007 promoting the capabilities of its Silverlight platform, which promises to integrate more interactive design features into Microsoft’s Windows Media format.

As competition intensifies and the enabling technology becomes more affordable, access to the tools for creating multimedia content will continue to expand.

And it’s the development of platforms that push multimedia into ever-smaller organizations and that puts creation capability into the hands of more individuals that will foster long-term growth in the enterprise multimedia sector, says Rimas Buinevicius, chairman and chief executive officer of Sonic Foundry, a developer of rich media content creation and management solutions.

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