Voyage of the DAMed
Not only is online video useful for communicating within the company, it is increasingly being used for external communication. As improving internet connections and technology (including DAM systems) make videoconferencing faster, simpler, more secure, and more reliable, two people can meet face to face from half a world away.
The advantages provided by videoconferencing are numerous. First, it saves time. Instead of getting on a plane and spending a day or more traveling for a meeting that may only take a matter of hours, or even minutes, anyone can talk with anyone else in the world, live, using only a webcam, a computer, and a microphone. And a videoconference can be set up in a matter of minutes-compared to physically traveling to another location, the benefits of time saved are obvious.
Second, videoconferencing is cheaper. As with so many corporate projects and technological initiatives, enterprise video is coming to the forefront primarily as a way to save money.
"What we're finding with larger corporations is that they're looking for better ways to engage employees and customers, and they're trying to do it without spending a lot of money," says Ray Hood, CEO of Qumu.
While there are significant startup costs in the hardware, programming, and man-hours required to set up a successful enterprise video system, once it is up and running, videoconferencing is relatively cheap-paying to keep the lights on and to keep the company's computers hooked up to the web is a more attractive option for a company than putting employees on a plane, feeding them, and housing them while they're away.
This is only one application for digital media in the enterprise space. Videoconferencing is a trendy capability because it seems like something out of a science fiction movie. However, external video communication does not end there.
"This really was a PR tool first," says Ken Kaplan, part of the corporate communications team at Intel. "They later evolved to allow downloads of b-roll in higher quality." The intimacy and expression of video are increasingly becoming the standard for internal employee communications and job training materials. Yet, high-quality streaming video is commonly expected by the general public as well. Having video-either streaming, downloadable, or both-on a company website is useful for several reasons from a public relations perspective.
First, a large online archive of videos allows for the quick and easy download of b-roll, or background footage, as Kaplan says. Rather than contacting the corporate public relations office for a DVD or physically tracking down an archive, public relations professionals and even journalists can download high-quality background footage for a voice over. In a way, companies are revitalizing the video news release.
Another target audience for online video is the company's end consumer. Individuals looking to buy a car might compare performance videos from multiple manufacturers before going to the dealership and test driving it themselves. A consumer may want to learn more about a company before making a purchase. Intel, for instance, has a series of videos on its website touting the speed and efficiency of its processors. One video shows these qualities in general, with subsequent videos making more specific claims. This kind of on-site advertising is not uncommon in corporate commerce. After all, a company such as Intel sells not only to individual consumers but to computer manufacturers as well, and hosted online video is just one more angle from which a company can promote and reinforce its brand.
“I call it disposable video,” Kaplan says. “We’ve got to be able to go out there and shoot something that doesn’t cost much money and just put it out there.” Kaplan’s team also produces larger-budget documentary films.
It is rapidly becoming clear that companies need to implement large-scale online video in order to keep up in today’s corporate information world. But there remains an obvious question for a company looking at spending a significant amount of money on DAM.
“It’s easy for people to say, ‘I can post something on YouTube,’ but is it really [that easy to do]?” Hood says.
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