Enterprise video streaming products: Internal YouTube with security

New enterprise video streaming portals from vendors like Cisco and Kontiki combine the lure of social media and the convenience of YouTube with the security and governance that enterprises crave.

The recording of video conferencing and video training can improve employee communication, but how do you store and distribute all those files? Enterprise video streaming products offer a YouTube enterprise experience, combining the lure of social media with the security and governance that enterprises crave.

"This won't be for everybody, but you'll have a small number of high-value contributors and you'll have a long tail of occasional contributors, and you should expect that," said Ted Schadler, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. "Don't spend a lot for this right now because [creating] the video is relatively affordable, so think about using an incremental delivery model."

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In addition to merely offering a secure hosting platform, recent releases from enterprise video streaming vendors incorporate some of the social media features end users may be familiar with in the consumer space -- tagging, rating and commenting -- along with the ability to upload their own content.

As part of its "Show and Share" system, Cisco Systems attempts to make video as "easy to consume as text," said Murali Sitaram, Cisco's vice president and general manager of enterprise collaboration platforms. The enterprise video streaming portal transcribes speech in videos into text and allows users to separate videos in their portal into chapters, associating those chapters with keywords or text.

"What we're trying to do is reduce clutter and improve the information flow for people," Sitaram said. "The way for [enterprises] to continue to grow without having to hire masses of people is to find better and smart ways of people working, and we think social media capabilities are one way of doing it."

Especially for organizations that produce a steady amount of enterprise video content, those YouTube-like features can help users sort through videos to find what is relevant to them, according to Ira Weinstein, senior analyst and partner at Wainhouse Research LLC.

"It adds to the value of the content, and that's the key – a content item is valuable when I post it, and it's more valuable when it gets to the right audience at the right time," Weinstein said. "It's not a questionable return on investment. It's whether this is a priority for your business yet."

Even if enterprises don't use every social media feature, they can benefit from using enterprise video solutions -- especially cloud-based models -- as a better way to store and catalogue videos, said Irwin Lazar, principal analyst and program director at Nemertes Research.

"We're not seeing a clamor for video yet as part of a social strategy," he said. "The area where I've seen it is mostly around training or education, and you can rate the usefulness of the training clip, tag it or share it."

But Lazar said that enterprises are less likely to find value in having users give two stars to a CEO's monthly address or even have the resources to create enough content to warrant indexing multiple channels on their portals. "I see that as a luxury right now," he said. "It's really hard to develop any ROI for something like that."

It's important that anyone thinking about a video solution have a long conversation with their legal department.
Irwin Lazar
Principal Analyst and Program DirectorNemertes Research

Enterprise video solutions raise security questions

Although enterprise video solutions allow a wide range of customization -- such as disabling comments about layoffs on a video from the CEO -- organizations are still squirming over concerns of security and governance, Schadler said.

"A relatively low number of companies are enabling or empowering their employees to do more YouTube-style video where, say, a product manager would make a video introducing new product features to the sales team," he said.

Meanwhile, enterprises in regulated industries may also have concerns about whether video would be subject to subpoena or audit, especially if it discusses how to respond to a legal or regulatory issue, Lazar said.

"It's important that anyone thinking about a video solution have a long conversation with their legal department," he said. "There's going to be a lot of compliance issues."

Kontiki, an enterprise video communication startup based in Sunnyvale, Calif., looked hard at enterprise security concerns when developing its "Video Center" portal, released this week, said Joe Ghazal, vice president of engineering.

The cloud-based portal, dubbed "a private enterprise YouTube," allows users to download videos to their computers but only in an encrypted form to be unlocked by a desktop client. Within the portal, only accessible from the corporate network, users can share the video with only those employees in the directory who are authorized to view it.

"Anybody can build an enterprise YouTube application by putting a bunch of html pages up," Ghazal said. "We understand their need to control every aspect of the experience. It's about giving consumer-based experience but giving enterprise-based control."

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Jessica Scarpati, News Writer

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