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Digital Pipe and enScaler Team Up For Enterprise

In the world of enterprise streaming, it's difficult to know who's in charge when doing a live or on-demand webcast. After all, many companies don't have a "streaming manager." Is it the responsibility of each department that's initiating the webcast, or should the IT department have final say on all streaming events? Solving this conundrum is at the heart of a deal announced last week between Digital Pipe and enScaler.

The deal will combine the enterprise streaming delivery capabilities of Digital Pipe with a new enterprise-focused digital asset management solution from enScaler.

enScaler (www.enscaler.com) built its base on a digital rights/subscription service, designed to enable entertainment companies to sell and manage content. One of its major customers, Digital Island, uses the system to manage live and on-demand pay-per-view events and subscription services. Now, enScaler is turning to the corporate market with its just-unveiled mediaEnterprise solution.

The combination of Digital Pipe and enScaler makes a nice fit, said Dan McCrary, director of product marketing at enScaler. "Digital Pipe handles the network and infrastructure, and we sit on top of that," he said. Whereas Digital Pipe targets the IT manager, mediaEnterprise was created for content producers. "There was nothing for those two groups to combine resources," he said.

McCrary said mediaEnterprise helps companies manage and distribute their content, using a web-based interface. Content producers upload the media into the central repository, where they can then add intelligence to it. "You can provide business rules, use digital rights management, select who the audience is, to keep a consistency of content," he said.

With solutions for entertainment and enterprise customers, enScaler is weighing in on both sides of the streaming equation. McCrary said it is important to note the differences between the two sectors. Entertainment companies, he said, are looking to monetize content, while enterprise customers are primarily looking at cost reduction and productivity enhancements.

McCrary said that with mediaEnterprise, companies won't have to bother the IT department to help upload and manage streaming content. "[Often] the IT department is the bottleneck," he said. "Some users had to jump through 200 hoops and still didn't know how to get a streaming event started. We help them focus on creating content and managing content."

Digital Pipe's New Direction

Meanwhile, Digital Pipe (www.digitalpipe.com) is shifting away from its managed services focus, toward a revenue model driven more significantly by hardware and software sales.

The reason for this move, according to Vice President of Marketing Fabrizio Ornani, is that enterprise customers have begun demanding greater in-house control. "They want control so they can designate a manager to manage the distribution," he said. He added that Digital Pipe can still provide some outsourcing services to help with integration or help produce events, but that this will not be the company's core business anymore. "Technology is the center stage," he said.

Ornani said Digital Pipe's technology provides a plug-and-play capability, so customers don't need to do any manual configurations. "Enterprises can set up their own private CDN (or iCDN) to distribute and deliver the content," said Ornani.

So far, Digital Pipe's solution is geared for on-demand events. Ornani said that among Digital Pipe's customers, on-demand content is more popular than live events. "Live [events are the] initial hook to enter, but on-demand is the application that's starting to gain over live," he said.

Digital Pipe is not alone in this field, however. "Our big competition is Inktomi," said Ornani, "since they have a content networking overlay system." Last week, Inktomi made announcements saying it was moving squarely into the enterprise streaming space, and acquired eScene, a provider of content management solutions. The Digital Pipe/enScaler combination is a direct hit at Inktomi.

But talk is cheap: Despite the announcements, neither enScaler nor Digital Pipe has customers using the combined system. Inktomi, meanwhile, said that Ford, Morgan Stanley and Williams Communications have deployed Inktomi’s caching and search solutions.

McCrary said mediaEnterprise is available separately from Digital Pipe's offering, but naturally, the two companies are hoping the market will see them as a complete solution. "For a majority of enterprise customer needs, they're looking for a platform they can grow into and scale," said McCrary.

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