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YouTube Comes to the Enterprise

Video conferencing adoption is on the rise, especially on desktop and mobile devices. Nemertes' 2013-14 Enterprise Technology Benchmark notes that the percentage of companies that have deployed PC video to more than 2% of their desktops/laptops climbed from 28% in 2012 to 43% in 2013. Fifty-nine percent are supporting video on tablets (though often this involves leveraging consumer services like Skype and FaceTime). About 71% are integrating or evaluating integrating desktop video conferencing and mobile conferencing with room systems to create a video conferencing platform accessible from anyone, anywhere, on any device.

This rise in video conferencing adoption, and use, is leading to renewed interest in enterprise video streaming & sharing, user-generated video, and video as a collaboration medium. In our client discussions we often hear that the first thing users ask for, after they get access to video conferencing at their desktop, is the ability to record conferences for later playback, or to share with those who were unable to attend. But this is just the beginning as video begins to take its place alongside documents for workgroup collaboration.

It's no wonder that interest in enterprise video collaboration is growing. Thanks to high quality cameras in smartphones and tablets coupled with consumer services like YouTube, Vine, and Instagram, and social sites like Facebook, creating one's own video and sharing it with friends and family (along with sharing video of cats) has blossomed. As the generation that has grown up sharing their self-created video enters the workforce, they increasingly expect that they will be able to share video with their colleagues, inside and outside of the company, with ease. Tell them they can't and you run the risk of users flocking to consumer services, or using document repositories and email to share videos anyway, creating headaches for those responsible for storage, governance, and compliance.

In response, 26% of companies in our Benchmark are using or deploying streaming/stored video platforms like those available from an ever-expanding list of vendors including Brightcove, Kontiki, Kaltura, Qumu, and VBrick, as an integrated offering bundled with video conferencing platforms from vendors including Cisco, LifeSize, Polycom, and Vidyo. Another 37% are currently evaluating deployment of such platforms, evidence that this market is on the cusp of rapid growth.

IT leaders who are adopting or evaluating streaming video platforms cite primarily the following three drivers:

1. Distance Learning/Training--Perhaps the easiest business case for justifying initial investment is the ability to allow groups to create training videos for anytime/anywhere access. Often distance learning efforts meld user-generated or professionally created video with learning management systems to track views, administer post-viewing tests, and record results in HR systems. We've seen easy-to-define business cases based on reducing travel for classroom training, especially for healthcare, utility, and transportation--verticals with large numbers of field workers who require frequent, highly-technical training.

2. Recording of Meetings for Later Playback--As mentioned, this is one of the first requests of IT as video conferencing rollouts expand. Those unable to attend a meeting often wish to view it later, while project managers can store recordings (potentially with transcription) in group workspaces for later reference. For companies in highly regulated industries, recording of conferences may offer protection against regulatory action (or they could represent additional risk--check with your lawyers!)

3. Allowing User Generated Content--This is the fastest growing, and arguably most exciting area of demand for enterprise video streaming/sharing: Allowing employees to use their smartphones or PC cameras to record their own video for sharing among co-workers or with colleagues outside the company, in effect creating an enterprise YouTube service.

While many companies shy away from such a platform over fears of abuse or inability to police content, others are embracing the approach, finding that if they don't offer an enterprise-approved platform for sharing, users will simply create the videos anyway, and clutter up file repositories or email systems with large files. Establishing a company-approved platform allows for control of video, including establishment of review and archiving policies. It allows companies to either integrate video into their other collaboration platforms (including social) or leverage the social capabilities of stand-alone platforms to enable users to tag, comment on, and share video, or find related video of interest.

The bottom line for those involved in video conferencing and/or collaboration strategies: plan for video, video, and more video in your organization. Develop business cases and evaluate various platforms (as well as hosted cloud-based services) to enable you to leverage video as a collaboration medium internally and externally and in accordance with information protection and governance requirements.

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