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Video Sprawl in 2011: The State of the Enterprise

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Enter the Tablet PC

One of the key triggers poised to accelerate the adoption of enterprise video in 2011, industry vendors agree, is the emergence of tablet devices, such as Apple’s iPad, and mobile devices based on Google’s Android operating system. Tablets simplify the process of viewing any type of video content, creating a work venue that makes it easier for executives to watch business-related video. 

With even conservative industry estimates projecting that Apple will sell 25 million iPad devices in 2011, many vendors are scrambling to fine-tune applications that capitalize on the capabilities made possible by the emerging class of tablet devices.

Take the case of Sonic Foundry, for instance. For years, the Madison, Wis.-based maker of rich-media capture and content management solutions has been a bastion of solutions developed primarily based on Microsoft-centric formats, such as Windows Media and Silverlight. But this year, Sonic Foundry will be releasing the first version of its solution based on the HTML5 standard in a move that makes it possible for Sonic Foundry to tap into the growing iPad universe, says John Pollard, a technical product manager at Sonic Foundry.

“The iPad has put a bee in everybody’s bonnet,” Pollard says in discussing Sonic Foundry’s embrace of HTML5 and tablet computing. “We don’t like to follow fads as much as we focus on applications. This lets us focus on applications that are increasingly relevant to the enterprise market.”

Simply put, tablet computers expand the reach of enterprise video, creating new venues where executives can viably view relevant content, says Jim Janicki, president and chief executive officer of vendor Ignite Technologies.

“For years, we’ve talked about the concept of delivering any content anywhere to any device,” Janicki says. “And the iPad fulfills that vision.”

Already, corporate users are developing home-grown video solutions incorporating iPad capabilities. One insurance company is studying ways to use tablet computers to capture and process video collected by claims adjusters in the field, says Scott Safe, vice president of product strategy and marketing for video technology vendor Qumu.

“iPad is the tipping point,” Safe says. “Organizations recognize it as a portable device that can deliver content anywhere, and you see a lot of these business process applications that are ripe for streamlining using video.”

But even though some organizations are developing their own video solutions for the iPad, the adoption of the tablet devices creates significant opportunities for developers of enterprise-grade video solutions, Safe says. Despite the novelty of the iPad, corporate customers ultimately will recognize the need for a secure, reliable set of software applications to handle the creation, management, and distribution of video content designed to be viewed on tablets.

“Everything that applies in developing online video for the PC applies in the mobile environment, as well,” Safe says. “We’re seeing enterprise information technology departments looking more to established vendors as they seek to expand their video footprint.”

Some vendors contend that the vision for distributed video used for business extends even beyond media players like the iPad and all the way to an emerging class of televisions featuring integrated internet connection capabilities. Television sets with embedded web connections ultimately will enable home viewers to subscribe to packaged channels of online content, including marketing-oriented video programming associated with specific corporate brand names, says Jeff Whatcott, senior vice president of marketing for Brightcove, a seller of hosted video software solutions.

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