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The New Sophisticates: Enterprise Year in Review

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Contributing to the year’s transformation was a steady stream of news on technology vendors attracting fresh capital, revamping product lines, and charging into new markets.

The epitome of this change in 2008 was the Emeryville, Calif., company that entered the year under the name Media Publisher, Inc. Through the course of 2008, the firm changed its name to Qumu, significantly expanded its range of offerings beyond its flagship multimedia content management solution, and raised $10.7 million in venture capital financing from a group of investors led by Advanced Technology Ventures. Along the way, Qumu announced significant new partnerships with the likes of AT&T while expanding its existing relationships with Polycom and Microsoft.

By no means, however, did the transformation of the 2008 enterprise online multimedia sector end with Qumu.

Witness VeriSign and its move to spin out its Kontiki peer-to-peer networking unit as a stand-alone independent company in 2008. At the same time, consulting firm Accenture made a significant move into the market with its acquisition of content management technology developer Origin Digital.

On the product development side, consider well-established vendors such as Libertyville, Ill.-based Video Furnace, which significantly restructured its product platform in 2008 to make its system more interoperable with complementary business video platforms. Likewise, The FeedRoom engineered a significant product-line enhancement after raising $12 million in new financing earlier in 2008.

And while new names such as Qumu hit the ground running, some of the longest tenured brands in the enterprise multimedia sector also embarked on shifts designed to capitalize on emerging trends in the online business video market.

For instance, Sonic Foundry, a longtime industry player best known for its on-site rich media appliance called Mediasite, continued its expansion into the world of online multimedia services. After launching a webcast event services unit in 2007, the company now is producing thousands of online events for clients annually.

Likewise, with the introduction of the 5.0 version of its Mediasite platform, the Madison, Wis.-based technology vendor continued a string of enhancements that serve to blur the lines between Sonic Foundry’s historic focus on selling on-site appliances and its current embrace of packaging technology that users access on a hosted basis.

Hosted vs. On-Premise Solutions
With its 2008 product-line upgrade, Sonic Foundry continued to improve its core appliance product while expanding its platform, which takes content produced by the on-site appliance and manages it via an integrated—but hosted—content management solution.

For Sonic Foundry, which generates about 45% of its revenues from enterprise sales with the rest of its business coming from the education sector, the tight integration of back-end software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions with its existing appliance product line represents a natural next step in its evolution, says Kristin Zurovitch, product marketing manager for Sonic Foundry.

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