The State of Enterprise Video 2019
While the vast majority of attention in online video, especially cloud-based delivery, centers on media and entertainment—including consumers, content creators, and content delivery networks—the last year saw a consistent uptick in enterprise video usage.
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This article will examine the state of enterprise video by pulling from published reports, exploring trends, and leveraging insights from industry experts.
Trends in Video for the Enterprise
In late 2018, Wainhouse Research analyst Steve Vonder Haar published an extensive report on trends for video in the enterprise. As part of this survey, Wainhouse sought to identify growth in the overall enterprise video market.
Almost half (41%) of the nearly 2,000 respondents in corporate enterprise positions stated that they watched more business videos in 2018 than they had in 2017. The growth of streaming video in the workplace was equally impressive: Almost 80% of respondents used streaming video for work-related activities—up from 73% in 2017—as the trend toward streaming video for training, corporate relations, and internal “all-hands” meetings continues.
Live has become the new on-demand. Chris Knowlton (right), a long-time streaming video industry expert who has spent a number of years in large organizations as well as in video technology startups, says that live is becoming more prevalent in enterprise environments, in no small part thanks to cloud-based offerings. “Live video is seen as a way to more effectively attract, engage, and retain employees,” says Knowlton, “so live streaming continues to drive many deployments— which are getting easier to implement—especially in medium, large, and distributed organizations.”
Knowlton also notes that enterprise streaming has slowly transitioned from on-premise enterprise video platforms (EVPs) to software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery. “After years of on-premises streaming, and some dabbling with consumer and non-enterprise-grade streaming services,” says Knowlton, “many organizations are now embracing SaaS EVP solutions. Without the on-premises infrastructure requirements for media processing, content management, and storage; decision-making, trials, and cloud-base deployments are moving faster than ever.”
For the team at MediaPlatform, as well as its Customer Advisory Board, one of the continuing trends is more granular analysis of stream delivery as well as stream consumption, especially during live events.
“Our customers tell us that their management measures their success as webcasters primarily by how many video streams they’ve been able to successfully deliver to end users,” says Mike Newman (right), CEO of MediaPlatform. “The more data they have about precisely how many streams were delivered—particularly during live events—to whom, and at what level of quality (buffering, start time, failovers, bandwidth rate) is how they validate that the company’s enterprise video initiatives are impacting their audience and ultimately the business itself.”
Newman adds that two areas in which MediaPlatform is delivering on this more-analysis-is-better approach are somewhat intertwined: Quality of Service (QoS) and Customer Experience.
“QoS information during live webcasts (our VBI product) helps them see, in real time, how video is being delivered across internal networks,” Newman explains. This allows a customer to “identify service issues and resolve them proactively down to a subnet or individual IP address.”
Customer experience is an area that’s discussed—often in abstract terms, such as particular subjective sentiments—but has lacked both the research and the real-time analysis capability to evaluate it effectively. Newman says that his company is trying to change that.
“Our new Event Success Dashboard [released in Q1 2019] allows webcast producers and corporate communications professionals to gauge audience sentiment,” says Newman, “in real time, during webcasts.”
The system is designed to provide audiences with information, then display reactions and positive or negative feedback, to be able to shape content dynamically. Newman notes that MediaPlatform “stores this data to give customers the ability to compare audience sentiment by topic, presenter, location, and more.”
Artificially Intelligent, or Purposely Repurposed?
At last year’s Streaming Media West, one of the hottest topics was artificial intelligence (AI). As many attendees learned, though, current developments have to do more with training machines in an attempt to automate repetitive tasks than it does with true AI.
Knowlton points out the value isn’t in the intelligence as much as it is in the metadata. “There is much talk about artificial intelligence and machine learning,” Knowlton says, “but the broader trend is extracting more value from a format type that has traditionally been a black box. The return on investment of video for organizations grows significantly with the help of features such as searchable transcripts, object recognition, auto-generated metadata, and automatic highlight clips.”
In other words, the data is used to repurpose traditional streaming content rather than relying on any form of AI to create unique content.
Knowlton points out that the end goal is to save time when relaying information. “Similar to watching a sports highlights reel,” he says, “video intelligence will allow you to get a customized short video that shows you just the moments that matter to you in an enterprise-focused video.”
Operating Systems Come, Linger, and Finally Go
It’s no surprise that enterprise adoption of new operating systems (OS) lags that of the general population. After all, while a consumer can choose to become an early adopter of the latest bleeding-edge version of an OS, the enterprise rollout often entails months of testing against existing apps, installing OS patches, and conducting vulnerability assessments.
Still, it’s interesting to note that one of the most popular systems from Microsoft, Windows 7, is still so widely used despite its end-of-life designation in less than a year’s time. Just under half of enterprises are still running Windows 7, which will officially stop receiving support on Jan. 14, 2020.
This follows a pattern set by Windows XP back in the late 1990s and, to a greater extent, the pattern set by Windows 7 itself, when enterprise customers revolted against Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 by downgrading their new laptops and desktop computers to Windows 7.
“You can continue to use Windows 7,” Microsoft notes on its Windows for Business blog, “but once support ends, your PC will become more vulnerable to security risks. Windows will operate but you will stop receiving security and feature updates.”
For enterprise customers who want to upgrade computers from Windows 7 after the Jan. 14, 2020 date, there’s a semi-free path to upgrade to Windows 10.
“Microsoft 365 Business comes with a free upgrade for users with a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 Pro license on their device,” the Windows for Business blog states. “By purchasing Microsoft 365 Business your users can upgrade all of their old Windows Pro licensed devices at no additional cost.”
In reality, Microsoft ended what the company calls “mainstream” support for Windows 7 on Jan. 13, 2015, but since many enterprise customers had extended support contracts, those are in place until the January 2020 deadline—assuming that the enterprise Windows 7 installation has Service Pack 1 installed.
But the Jan. 14, 2020 end-of-life date isn’t really the final support date. It appears that Microsoft will offer additional, paid support for Windows 7 through January 2023.
The Inquirer reports that many companies don’t plan to upgrade: “In a recent survey, it was found that well over half of companies had no plans to upgrade. Microsoft has not suggested any plans to make businesses contractually obliged to show they are working towards migration, as they did with XP."
In other words, companies can pay for extended Windows 7 support in lieu of being forced to upgrade to Windows 10.
I Want My DVD (Playback)
All of this is interesting, but what are the practical implications of Microsoft discontinuing support for Windows 7?
First, there’s the impact on Windows Media Services for prerecorded content on shiny discs. While Windows Media Player 12 is supported across Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10, built-in DVD support is available only in Windows 7.
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