The State of Enterprise Video 2013
Corporate networks are another issue. Many were never designed to handle the massive data traffic that enterprise video can consume, especially in a BYOD-driven work environment. Even today, "[I]n many cases bandwidth is underfunded for large scale video delivery growth," says Hards. "While some companies can take advantage of multicast to deliver live events, on demand video will most likely be the ‘straining' factor on enterprise networks."
Solving this problem will require money, Hards adds. "The days of blocking streaming media sites on the internet to save on bandwidth are coming to an end, when the sites are internal," he says.
A Brighter Future
The challenges and concerns posed by enterprise video are side effects of its success. They are growing pains of its maturation into a mass-market medium.
Smart companies are taking these challenges in stride and focusing on the positive aspects of enterprise video. They realize that the benefits offered by enterprise video far outweigh the costs.
GE Capital is a good example of a forward-thinking enterprise video provider; one that knows what it wants from enterprise video.
Among the company's projects for 2013, the one that most excites Kaminski is GE Capital's plans to move its video bridge offering into the cloud. "This will improve the user experience, give us more options for off-network video calls -- video interviewing being a prime use case -- and vastly improve the video experience for non-U.S. participants," he says. "Europe and Asia were connecting to our video bridge in the U.S. data center yielding high latency."
These are great plans. But the cost of implementing them may restrict deployment, at least at the outset. "It may end up having to be an executive-only offering due to our large employee base," says Kaminski. "In the long term, however, I would expect people to use video bridges in the same way they use audio conference lines today."
On a larger scale, "In 2013, we will try to improve the user experience," he says. "We will definitely make progress in unified communications, supporting chat, phone, content sharing, annotation, videoconferencing, streaming/recording with online presence across multiple devices."
Lockheed Martin currently operates a number of diverse, separated video platforms, each operating in its own silo. In 2013, the company wants to bring them together into one single enterprise video system, to add robustness and reliability and to better manage the increase in enterprise video usage. The goal is to create an integrated enterprise video system that can truly ramp up to meet demand, as required.
"The initiative started by using the common platform employed by most of our Business Areas to combine the diverse groups," explains Hards. "This will allow for the new Enterprise team to develop a future focused roadmap for enterprise video growth, and also continue to get valuable feedback from the internal users on what is needed for future support."
Zappos.com also has big plans for enterprise video in 2013. "We're looking to improve the user experience with how the video is integrated into the overall site," says Blair. "We see a huge value in user-generated content that could potentially be used for customer reviews." User-generated content adds a fresh take to Zappos.com's promotions and provides a "word-of-mouth" kind of endorsement that can't help but impress consumers who watch it! After all, people must really like your store if they produce videos to praise its products.
Zappos.com uses online video to walk customers through each product it sells. It has produced a staggering 104,000 videos to date.
At present, Zappos.com has to decide how to curate and serve this expanded content. But Blair is not daunted by this challenge; he embraces it. And it is not the only thing on his plate: "We're also migrating to a video platform that provides a much more in-depth look into the back-end analytics of each individual video's performance, as well as automated transcoding to provide delivery across all platforms and devices," says Blair.
The Bottom Line
Companies such as GE Capital, Lockheed Martin, and Zappos.com understand the power of enterprise video. That's why they are expanding their use of enterprise video in 2013.
So what does this mean for the state of enterprise video in 2013? It seems safe to say that this medium is poised for more explosive growth. The fact is that we are living in an ever-more connected world, in which multimedia and interactivity are prized. Enterprise video is ideally suited to capitalize on all of these qualities, especially among younger users who are glued to their smartphones and tablets.
For those people who work in the enterprise video space, the opportunities for profit and growth are very real, and very immediate. This is a medium whose time has come, and whose pervasiveness will only increase as 2013 progresses.
This article appears in the 2013 Streaming Media Industry Sourcebook.
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