Live video conferencing is proving to be a useful tool for connecting employees and branch offices, regardless of location. But enterprises with highly distributed workforces are discovering that real-time video communications is not the only way to connect people in the company. Traditional video conferencing providers have started offering services and platforms for streaming video services.
Persistent video -- often referred to as "YouTube" for the enterprise -- allows businesses to not only view live content and webcasts behind their own firewalls, but also to store and save videos for later use. These services also can offer enterprise-grade security and video management features, such as editing, tracking, and search and analytics.
Enterprise 'YouTube' platforms, managed streaming video services
Many video vendors have offerings for persistent video -- such as Cisco's Show and Share and LifeSize's Video Center, a platform for uploading, editing and saving video content, said Rob Arnold, senior industry analyst at Mountain View, Calif.-based Frost and Sullivan Inc.
The counseling and art therapy department at George Washington University in Washington D.C. uses LifeSize Video Center to record and stream student-run therapy sessions. Psychology instructors can watch live streams of their students conducting sessions with patients, or students and their instructors can watch recorded sessions later as part of a lesson, said Randy Shore, information systems analyst at the university.
"A lot of the products on the market don't offer recording and streaming on the same product, but we didn't want to have to wait for a recoding to be transcoded," Shore said. "Students can come out of their sessions and review it immediately with their instructors."
Because the videos contain sensitive information, there is a permission system built into the platform so users are only able to view or edit certain videos, Shore said.
Some providers are taking streaming video services a step further, offering a more "white glove" approach to managed video service for enterprise customers.
Eatontown, N.J.-based managed video services company Yorktel recently introduced Yorkcast, a webcasting and streaming media platform for businesses. The full-service media offering gives enterprises a single point of contact or management during a live, public or internal broadcast or webinar; post-production editing; and the option to use Yorktel's production crew for filming events or meetings, supported by the company's media services practice.
The production services can include helping an enterprise on the back end with video encoding for a webcast, or on-site services, including a camera crew, said Dan Missbrenner, vice president of commercial Sales for the Western Region for Yorktel. "With Yorkcast, we can do anything from an enterprise account, to a Hollywood production," he said. "We record the content and also provide post-editing services on behalf of the business."
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The media platform also provides enterprises with content creation, distribution, management, and search and tracking features. Enterprise IT can manage and customize videos from Yorkcast's multimedia content management system, or Yorktel can also host and manage the media platform for enterprises, helping businesses deliver multimedia content to other platforms -- like an intranet -- or archive content to help enterprises meet compliance, reporting and reference needs. All multimedia content is available on demand, the company said.
"Yorktel has recognized that video content in all forms -- live or streamed -- is really necessary as enterprises start to expect more from their video investments," Frost and Sullivan's Arnold said. And enterprises need to do more than just access streaming video, he said. "It's about organizing and curating video content for placement down the road on a company website, or for internal employees to view later."
Streaming video services: Persistent video interest grows alongside live video conferencing
As more enterprises take a page out of YouTube's book, demand is growing for persistent video platforms and streaming video services that can be self-managed, Arnold said. "We are also seeing a demand for white glove, fully managed production services -- especially for an investor call or a CEO roundtable," he said.
Streaming video platforms can help drive employee engagement, enabling users to upload their own content, tag it and comment on it while collaborating with other employees.
But while some streaming video services and platforms cater to hosting static, on-demand content, many users want to be able to consume live events, too. "The goal is to provide a consistent user interface for saved, as well as live, video," Arnold said.
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