Is IT Ready for Video in the Enterprise?

PALO ALTO, Calif.– Video can be a useful tool in the enterprise, but
companies need guidelines, training systems and the right
infrastructure to use it effectively, said a panel of IT vendors here at
the AlwaysOn OnDemand conference this week at Hewlett-Packard’s

“Think about who is going to produce the video and who you want to
view it and whether that content needs to be locked down,” said David
Sayed, senior product manager for Silverlight marketing at Microsoft
(NASDAQ: MSFT). Sayed said another key consideration is how video will
tie into your company’s backend system for storage, management and
distribution. Microsoft uses its own SharePoint content management

Microsoft got on the video bandwagon back in 2004 with what started
as an ad hoc effort called Channel 9 to report internally on various
research efforts at the software giant. “It started with guys going
around the company with handheld cameras asking ‘What are you working
on?'” Sayed said.

The videos proved so popular Microsoft expanded the effort and now
produces more professionally shot segments that customers and partners
can view.

“Quality and high definition are becoming more important. People are
starting to want that in the enterprise today for things like aircraft
repair and medical training,” he said. “That has bandwidth and
infrastructure implications.”

He said Channel 9 now serves up about 131 terabytes of video a month.

Ron Yekutiel, CEO of open source video platform provider Kaltura, said video is proving more
popular in the enterprise as companies see a need for better
collaboration, better training and selling tools.

“A lot of enterprises are looking for the same…wisdom of the crowd
contributions, not Big Brother here is how you do it, but multiple
editing and content tools,” he said.

Kaltura recently launched an online video apps and tools
that Yekutiel said features different vendor products
that interoperate.

“You want an ecosystem that fosters innovation and doesn’t close
people off,” he said.

Kaltura, which has over 50,000 customers, provides a software
“wrapper” that supports the three popular Web playback formats, HTML 5,
Adobe Flash and Microsoft’s Silverlight so customers can use different
encoding tools for video creation.

Flash is still the dominant Web format used in about 75 percent of
all video appearing the Web, according to Ashley Manning Still, group
product manager for Flash at Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE).

Like Microsoft’s Channel 9, Adobe has its own Adobe TV channel that it uses to
communicate information about its product lines and other developments
at Adobe. Before Adobe TV, Still said Adobe basically was challenging
customers to find videos on its sites.

“We created a lot of video that disappeared. It was impossible for
people to find things,” she said. “So Adobe TV is like a single
destination to get rich media content about our products and services
and it gets tens of millions of hits each month.”

Still said Adobe recently used Adobe TV to make its biggest product
launch, its Creative Suite 5 release.

Who is the video designed for?

Still said enterprises can benefit from broadly distributing video if
they have the right infrastructure and distribution model in place.

“You have to think about who you want to reach, including mobile
users,” she said. “And also think about how and when the video is going
to be delivered. If it’s a CEO broadcast, you want to make sure it’s not
going to bring down your network,” she said.

Still also said creating Adobe TV internally lets the company control
the branding and user experience more than if it simply posted to
YouTube. “If you’re going to be successful with video in the enterprise
it has to be an integrated experience,” she said.

Because video distribution is not a core competency for most
companies, outsourcing is also an option.

Another panelist, Sean Knapp, co-founder and CTO of Ooyala, said his firm offers a platform
that can be customized to different companies needs. Dell (NASDAQ: DELL)
is one of its high-profile customers.

“Over time deployments get more complex as you look at things like
integrating video into workflows,” said Knapp, whose company also
provides analytics. “You also are going to want more insight into how
the content is distributed, who’s viewing it and when.”

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at, the news
service of, the
network for technology professionals.