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The State of Enterprise Video 2018

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Rayburn wrapped up his comments by talking about how we all need to rethink some of the approaches we’ve taken to streaming in the enterprise over the past 2 decades.

“The companies I like and respect in the industry are the ones that have focused,” said Rayburn. “They don’t try to be everything to everybody.”

According to Rayburn, “Many vendors in our industry, really from the beginning, have made the mistake of thinking, ‘I’m doing great in this vertical, now I will jump to another vertical,’ but miss the reasons that differentiate the various types of online video platforms. They think they can just tweak their product a little way to go” into a new market vertical.

What concerns do EVPs need to address to get traction in 2018? Here are three key areas:

Don’t Fall Into the Copyright Trap

This area might also be labeled “Why I don’t use a media OVP for work,” and it’s an often-overlooked pitfall when it comes to media delivery within the enterprise.

The thinking behind this, espoused by companies like DaCast, is that media OVPs have hair-trigger copyright protection tools.

Overly sensitive copyright protection mechanisms may accidentally flag videos used in enterprise for copyright violations, wrote DaCast’s Max Wilbert. These false positives could result in the video platform quarantining a video (taking it offline) just when it’s needed most.

Does this mean that EVP vendors turn a blind eye to copyright infringement? Absolutely not. But it is similar to the way that professional audio and video gear, such as the type found in a corporate boardroom, often have slightly more lenient copy protection (HDCP) than, say, a consumer DVD player hooked up to a consumer HDTV.

DASHing Against HLS?

We mentioned last year that a number of EVP solutions are built around Amazon Web Services (AWS) and that AWS now has support for MPEG-DASH in the Amazon Elastic Encoder.

Unfortunately for DASH, the adoption isn’t that high, especially when compared to Apple HTTP Live Stream (HLS). But there’s a big question mark on the horizon called HEVC.

HEVC is the high-efficiency video coding replacement for AVC, also known as MPEG-4 Part 10, or H.264. Other writers for StreamingMedia.com have kept apace of the licensing labyrinth for HEVC, which makes the H.264 licensing snafu of a decade ago look like a two-sentence license document.

Still even more interesting is the recent code freeze of the new AV1 codec, championed by the Alliance for Open Media, which Apple recently joined.

So here’s the key question to watch in 2018 for playback to multiple devices from an enterprise video platform: Will the continued dominance of HLS in mobile devices, including Apple iOS and Android OS devices, become fragmented if Google takes the AV1 codec road and Apple stays on the HEVC codec path?

We’ll keep watching this fluid situation. From a practical standpoint, DASH implementations may end up impacting content security questions, even beyond the Common Encryption Scheme (CENC) that’s used in DASH, which allows multiple digital rights management (DRM) solutions to be interchangeably used for DASH content that was delivered as fragmented MP4 files.

To keep up with this part of the DRM question, tune into the work of the MPEG-DASH Industry Forum, which is still pursuing a model where additional DRM solutions could be included through the Content Protection Information Exchange Format (CPIX). It’s currently stalled at CPIX version 2.0, but there’s a possibility of advancement throughout 2018 when the codec issues are settled in the AV1-HEVC bake-off.

Asset Management

The continuing trend here, which will probably accelerate during 2018, is the concept of logical storage and asset management versus distribution control.

One company that seems to understand this is UStudio.

“We started the business with an understanding that the management of the video file needed to be separate from the management of the actual destination where the video would be viewed,” writes Jen Grogono, UStudio CEO. “We never believed in a single destination management platform or a video player-dependent system.”

Essentially what UStudio espouses it a modular approach, one that looks to integrate high-volume, high-availability asset management with partner platforms for video distribution. It sounds simple, but it’s a fundamental return to asset management for, well, management’s sake.

“That seemingly small concept is fundamentally different than traditional OVPs,” writes Grogono. “Every distribution point—whether it’s a corporate application environment or a big, public social media platform—is like its own country.”

Think about how most enterprise solutions are siloed within different business units and how the combination of video distribution platform and asset management within one business unit may not play well with an integrated solution in another business unit.

Got the concept? Good, because this is going to be a trend moving forward.

Conclusion

While we started out with a look back, we’ll end with a look forward.

Streaming Media is committed to covering video platforms in both the enterprise and media market verticals, as well as education and non-standard use cases. In fact, that’s one of my personal goals in 2018, starting with the “Seed Money” article in the January/February issue of the magazine.

But enterprise holds a special place in the pantheon of streaming, because most of us got our starts handling webcasts for corporate “all-hands” meetings or encoding QuickTime videos for use in a company’s trade show kiosk.

One key constant in 2018 will be the continued advantage—at least for those companies dipping their corporate toe into the enterprise video waters—of testing out EVP solutions in a cloud model before deciding on a hybrid solution that balances financial (capex, opex) and security concerns.

[This article appears in the 2018 Streaming Media Industry Sourcebook as "The State of Enterprise Video 2018."]

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