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Video Sprawl in 2011: The State of the Enterprise

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Mike Newman is well-versed in looking into enterprise video’s crystal ball.

As chief executive officer of video software vendor Accordent Technologies for more than a decade, Newman has pretty much lived through all of the growing pains that come with transforming the technical novelty of online video into a viable business communications tool.

Like many other vendors in the enterprise video sector, Accordent got its start selling basic platforms for capturing video, PowerPoint slides, and other presentation inputs and putting them all together in a single webcast interface. Eventually, Accordent—like many of its rivals—sought to expand its sights by building full-fledged content management solutions and audience measuring capabilities that help companies make sure that the right video content reaches the right people at the right time.

Even with the progress in the enterprise video sector, the maturation of this corner of the digital media industry is not complete in Newman’s eyes. Even as brand-name giants such as Nike and Intel continue to push into broader adoption of enterprise video technologies, Newman and other leaders of the business video technology sector now see the opportunity for online video in 2011 to take on a more central role than ever before in enhancing the corporate communications experience.

“If I were going to use just one word to describe what’s going to happen with enterprise video in 2011, it’s ‘pervasiveness,’” Newman says.

Companies like Accordent have always made a decent living providing video solutions that live on the periphery of business communications. One company would use online video, for instance, to hold “all-hands” employee meetings, reaching thousands of workers across the globe. Another firm would use video to enhance training of a far-flung work force.

New Opportunities in Video

Heading into 2011, however, video technology vendors are beginning to recognize opportunities that extend beyond the relatively narrow confines of “ego-casting” and employee training. Indeed, video sprawl is making its mark on the world of corporate communications, setting into motion a series of technology trends with the potential to transform how business users perceive and implement online video capabilities. 

As executives from an array of functional disciplines find new ways to leverage video to convey their messages to key audiences, information technology departments are growing increasingly serious about identifying and deploying comprehensive solutions that support more broad-based use of video on their corporate networks.

“The best evidence of this comes in the fact that many of the (deployment) initiatives we’re seeing are being driven by the information technology department. Video is becoming part of the stack,” Newman says. “The transformation of this market is all about the ubiquity of video and the ability of video to grab significant mindshare at the chief information officer level.”

Even as technology’s profiles increases, though, the changing landscape makes for an enterprise video crystal ball that is cloudier than ever heading into 2011. Some vendors predict that companies will begin seriously expanding their corporate networks to handle a growing flood of video traffic. Others see 2011 as the year when tablet computers such as the iPad fundamentally change the way executives view business video content. Still others see growth coming from the proliferation of video produced and distributed from the employee desktop.

In some cases, predictions about the growth of mobile video or the accelerated adoption of “YouTube in the Enterprise” have colored industry projections in years past. This year, vendors contend, will be different.

“There has been lots of noise about this in the past, but 2011 is when it all starts to happen,” says Michael Rubin, vice president of marketing for video technology vendor VBrick. “We’ve already been all the way up the hype cycle. Now, it’s down to reality.”

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