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Video Sprawl in 2011: The State of the Enterprise

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Everyone’s a Media Company

With more distribution outlets available for corporate video, more organizations will embrace advanced forms of “video publishing” as a means to get their message out, Whatcott says.

“We see more and more organizations using a media metaphor to re-define their organizations and how [to] drive interest in their product,” Whatcott says. “It’s starting to blur the lines between what a corporate marketer looks like and what a media company looks like.”

With the new demand for video-enriched marketing communications, corporations must start building teams that enable them to better capitalize on online video capabilities. “If you’re going to build up a content factory, you’re going to have to staff up against that,” Whatcott says.

Indeed, the sprawl of video in the enterprise sector is likely to encourage a broader range of workers to become involved in creating video content designed to communicate business messages. The proliferation of video capture devices, ranging from hand-held Flip cameras to desktop webcams, is making it possible for employees at all levels of an organization to become more actively involved in the creation of video content. Likewise, a range of vendors continues to promote platforms enabling so-called YouTube in the Enterprise applications that simplify the process of creating video content and distributing it to colleagues on a corporate network.

With the democratization of video publishing in the enterprise sector comes a range of embedded social media-style applications that help employees to better share, rate, and recommend the growing volume of video content that is being published. The integration of social media capabilities makes it easier for employees to identify the videos that are most important to watch from their organizations’ mushrooming archives of on-demand video content, says Janicki of Ignite Technologies.

Drawing viewership for an executive presentation is no longer a matter of having a top executive send out an email ordering employees to watch an all-hands meeting online. Rather, solutions that track how many people watch video and how they rate the quality of the video’s message can play a bigger role in getting specific pieces of video content into the hands of the right employee at the right time, Janicki says. 

“What people actually do with video content is meaningful,” Janicki says. “It’s no longer only about the publisher getting feedback, it’s about everybody being able to take advantage of the feedback.” 

The integration of social media capabilities into video platforms is another example of the growing complexity of tasks facing companies as they create, manage, and distribute live and on-demand rich media programming on the corporate network. The expanding set of technical demands involved in managing video communications in the enterprise leaves little room for error for organizations deploying video solutions.

More than ever before, video technology providers must take steps to ensure that their solutions work effectively across the multiple steps of the workflow involved in publishing, managing, and distributing corporate video content. At its most basic level, this demand for interoperability will drive more vendors in 2011 to pursue partnerships that ensure that their products work seamlessly with solutions developed by other vendors, industry participants say.

The drive for interoperability will prompt many smaller vendors to pursue expanded working relationships with industry giants such as Cisco, Microsoft, and Adobe. And while few vendors predict a wave of merger and acquisition activity in the enterprise video sector in 2011, the alliances developed in the coming year may ultimately shape how industry consolidation shakes out down the line.

Beyond partnerships, more and more vendors are likely to broaden the scope of their own offerings in the hopes of positioning themselves more as a provider of a broad-based video communications platform rather than as the supplier of a more limited video solution designed to address a specific application.

For some vendors, the aspiration is to move beyond online video to offer systems that incorporate traditional video conferencing and even video-enriched web collaboration capabilities, says Tom Racca, president and chief executive officer of video technology vendor BurstPoint Networks. 

“Corporations with experience in video are looking for one integrated place where they can manage it all,” Racca says. “They want to have a single platform that they can rely upon.”

Different technology providers, however, have their own vision of how to expand the scope of their video-related offerings for the enterprise. For instance, Thomson Reuters—a long-time stalwart in the webcast event services business—is planning a major expansion in 2011 in which it will offer an end-to-end hosted software solution designed to simplify the process of publishing live and on-demand video content integrated with associated presentation data, such as PowerPoint slides, says Shaun McIver, the global head of multimedia solutions for Thomson Reuters.

“Our goal is to bridge the divide so that corporate customers do not have to roll out technologies from multiple vendors to make this happen,” McIver says. 

Thomson Reuters’ new hosted software solution is designed to capitalize on growing interest from corporate customers for a one-stop solution for enabling video-enriched communications in the enterprise. After a 5–6 year lull in product innovation in the enterprise video space in the middle of the past decade, the past several years have been characterized by increased innovation—and a growing demand for turnkey offerings—that is upping the ante for vendors competing in this technology sector, McIver says.

“Even though we’ve been doing this a while, it’s still early days in business video,” McIver says. “There’s still a long way for us to go.”

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