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The New Sophisticates: Enterprise Year in Review

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As the year 2008 marched to its close, almost any vendor would have been nervous to find itself a key supplier to General Motors.

But at The FeedRoom, a New York-based provider of webcasting software and services, the well-chronicled financial tribulations of the automotive giant actually provided a fourth-quarter shot in the arm.

Already helping GM produce an average of 30 webcasts a month, The FeedRoom actually saw the manufacturer expand its webcasting activity—and its use of services from The FeedRoom—as GM went through the extended process of flirting with bankruptcy while requesting financial assistance from the federal government.

"What’s important about webcasting becomes even more important during a time of crisis," says Matt DeLoca, senior vice president of sales at The FeedRoom. "This technology has become a vital component of GM’s efforts to keep dealers and suppliers abreast of everything that is happening during a very chaotic time."

A few extra webcast events from GM may not make much of a difference in a business multimedia technology sector that swelled to $460 million in revenues during 2008, according to estimates by market research firm Interactive Media Strategies. But GM’s growing embrace of online video is emblematic of growing acceptance—and in some cases, even reliance—on webcasting in corporate America.

It’s a technology adoption pattern that gained significant traction through 2008, underscoring the progress of the fledging market for business online video and the continued maturation of the market sector.

The Class of 2008
"The level of sophistication of questions we’re taking from prospective customers is greater than ever before," says Jim Janicki, president and chief executive officer of Ignite Technologies, a developer of enterprise class solutions for multimedia distribution and management.

Rather than having to evangelize the benefits of online multimedia in general, Janicki and the Ignite team now encounter more questions from executives who are clearly serious about comparing and contrasting the features and benefits of a range of enterprise solutions.

"We’re extremely close to graduating from the early adopter phase of this market," Janicki says. "We’re not quite there, but we’re a lot closer to moving out of the early adopter stage than we were 12 months ago."

Whether or not the enterprise multimedia sector has yet fully matured, the rate of change seen in the marketplace has accelerated in the past year. A bevy of product announcements—including new enterprise video entries from technology giants such as Google—epitomize this rapid revolution.

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