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Analysis for 'Business Apps'

  • IBM is Turning to Video to Make Its Point

    While most of VideoNuze's coverage is of online video's impact on the media and entertainment industries, I'm constantly on the lookout for examples of how video adoption is infiltrating other organizations. Therefore, a new case study about IBM Software Services from Lotus, presented by video platform vzaar, hit my radar. In it, Mark Leaser, Worldwide Offerings Manager, describes how he and others at IBM are increasingly using video for internal sales training and communication, along with external marketing. I caught up with Mark yesterday to learn more.

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  • Origin Digital's New Business TV Solution is Like Hulu-for-the-Enterprise

    Switching gears a bit, lately it has become apparent to me that broadband video is not just proliferating for consumers, it is also beginning to change how businesses communicate with their constituencies. As people spend more of their time watching video at sites like YouTube, Hulu and others, it was probably inevitable that businesses would embrace video as well. This is the context for Origin Digital's new business TV solution, which can be thought of as a "Hulu-for-the-Enterprise" solution. Origin's Darcy Lorincz recently walked me through their strategy and showed me a demo at NAB.

    Origin has been managing large scale corporate video events for 10+ years, and was recently acquired by Accenture. With the business TV solution it is leveraging that experience and its relationships to present a one stop solution for companies to communicate their messages. The solution is a hosted white-label video content management system, player, customizable UI/template and social media features, rolled into one. In a sense the business TV solution turns enterprises into video publishers presenting TV-like experiences.

     

    Origin's goals are to help companies improve on how key messages and information are communicated to constituencies and save on face-to-face meetings and travel budget. Darcy explained how Accenture itself has used the business TV solution to build 11 internal "channels." The most active is for human resources, a crucial function in a professional services firm with offices worldwide.

    In the HR channel I saw, supporting written materials are still available (with some neat zooming options) and they are arranged alongside relevant videos. Topics include HR policies and procedures, training classes offered, company updates, etc. The business TV solution can also integrate with existing ERP and SAP resources. Other channel examples are executive communications, marketing, sales, investor relations, etc. Users can save specific videos, create playlists, embed, download, share and comment.

    Of course, to make use of something like this presupposes that the company has a library of video assets, and/or is ready to commit to shooting ongoing video. Darcy said feedback it has received suggests that a lot of big companies already have lots of video; the problem is there's been no easy way to organize and present it. Further, with the cost of producing high-quality video becoming cheaper and more available through companies like TurnHere and StudioNow, this will become less of any issue over time. Still, it's a paradigm change that will take time to adjust to.

    Interestingly, Origin's is just one of many business-focused initiatives hitting my radar. Brightcove told me recently that they've set up a group focused on non-media (i.e. business/government/education) sectors which is getting traction. KickApps has also shared with me they've seen an uptick in corporate communications interest, with an emphasis on social media/interactivity (Alcatel Lucent's Network Cafe is an example). Lastly, a consumer-oriented video platform company recently explained to me confidentially that they're planning a full shift of their model to support business video.

    If you happen to be going to next week's All Things D conference, Origin will be demo'ing its business TV solution. If not, there's a pretty good overview video here. Between it and all of these other business-focused initiatives, there could be a lot of Hulu-like activity coming soon.

    What do you think? Post a comment now.

     
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  • Wistia Harnesses Video for Business Communications

    VideoNuze readers know that I focus mainly on the media industry and how broadband video is creating disruption and opportunity across the value chain. With so much media-related broadband activity it's a constant challenge to maintain a wider lens so as to not miss any of broadband's impact in non-media segments. These can be just as exciting and significant. That's why it was compelling for me to recently have Chris Savage, CEO/co-founder of a local Boston-area early stage company called Wistia, explain their model.

    Wistia is all about online video sharing and collaboration for businesses. While collaboration tools have been around for ages, and have become increasingly cheaper (think WebEx, GoToMeeting, etc.), Wistia's difference is that it focuses mainly on video.

    The company's assumption is that as the cost of creating quality video has become ridiculously inexpensive and the popularity of watching video online has skyrocketed (by sites like YouTube and others), the environment is now right for businesses to embrace the medium to achieve increased productivity and cost-effectiveness. Given the economic climate and knowledge workers' geographic dispersion, these are no doubt goals for millions of businesses.

    Wistia makes it simple for a project manager to set up an account and begin uploading videos which are all automatically converted to Flash. Users are invited as "viewers" or "collaborators" depending on what privileges they're to have: viewing and commenting only or uploading media and inviting others as well. When commenting users have the option of turning on a time-coded option so that when others read their comments they are jumped to that specific point in the video. Wistia also provides a powerful analytics package that tracks actual consumption of the videos, including time spent in specific segments and completion rates.

    No surprise, the types of companies and their uses of Wistia vary widely. Chris explained a few: Cirque du Soleil, the circus arts performer, is using it for managers in disparate locations to review audition video when making casting decisions. Tribal DDB, a large ad agency, is using it to share rough cuts of ads with its clients to get immediate feedback. Kiva Systems, a robotics manufacturer is using it to share demonstration videos with prospective customers as part of their sales cycle. And many companies are using it for training distributed workers. When you take a moment to think about all the potential business applications, the list is mind-boggling.

    Remarkably, Wistia is still just a 5 person company that has been largely bootstrapped to date. Chris and his co-founder Brendan Schwartz are twenty-something Brown University friends who have built the product by focusing tightly on customer feedback. To be sure, customer acquisition tactics are still a work in progress and pricing models are being tweaked. Currently, basic customers pay as little as $79/mo and heavy users up to $5,000/mo.

    Business communications may not be as sexy as the media business, but Wistia is showing that innovative entrepreneurs are finding unexpected and exciting ways for broadband video to create new value.

    What do you think? Post a comment now.

     
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