Video has become the new de-facto medium of choice for people online today. Specifically within the enterprise, video has seen very significant growth over the past 18 months. Gartner clients claim that the amount of video their organizations create and consume is increasing at rates varying from 50 to 200 percent annually, and by 2016, large companies will stream more than 16 hours of video per worker per month.
The question going forward for adopters of new enterprise technology won't be if they will use video as a tool, but rather how they do so. There are numerous evolving video technologies and applications (such as Kaltura, the company I co-founded, along with Brightcove and Cisco, among others), and successful enterprises can't afford to waste time on an incomplete or unsuitable platform. Plus, most enterprises will need to integrate video effectively into their existing tools, infrastructure and portals - inflexible platforms, no matter how powerful, will slow integration and put a burden on business altogether.
If your business wants to implement a serious video strategy -- whether for employee training, internal communications, customer relations, public-facing marketing or all of the above -- the following capabilities should be part of your evaluation:
1. An organized media repository
Ensure your solution supports multiple rich-media sources (recorded training sessions, webcasts, product videos, webinars, executive messaging, and so on) and centralizes your content in a single repository. The best platforms allow enterprises to upload media manually, in batch or via an API. Customers and fellow employees will then view and search within your central archive for public-facing and internal content, respectively.
2. Effective management of media and metadata
Unorganized video and other rich-media within your collection will be lost to employees and customers. The right solution makes relevant content accessible by labeling your media, assigning it with consistent categories, allowing for custom metadata and including in-video transcription search.
3. Included analytics and metrics
Video analytics can be useful for examining how and when your content reaches its intended audiences, internally and externally. Helpful feedback from your analytics includes storage and bandwidth usage, video popularity and internal compliance trackers. These tools will tell you how much video you've produced, if your company's latest corporate address was effectively disseminated, and if your employees watched the training videos required of them, among other facets.
4. A friendly interface.
All users should be able to access your video and content creation tools without comprehensive training. Employees should be able to grasp how rich-media can be used in daily interactions - from publication to categorization - while customers play and share your content without interruption.
5. Enterprise-grade performance, scalability and stability.
Responsive players and applications are necessary in order to keep users engaged. The system should also be able to handle spikes in usage without crashing, as visitor surges - during, say, peak shopping hours - typically mean good things for your business. Your platform should have high availability architectures with clear disaster recovery protocol in place.
6. Multi-device support.
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are becoming ubiquitous, and this switch to new modes of Internet access shouldn't mean an altered, slowed or flawed viewing experience. Ensure your platform supports all devices, optimizes delivery to those devices, and is as future-proof (poised to support emerging technologies) as possible. Extend a hand to international or disabled audiences by using compliant players with multilingual caption support.
7. Internal "Corporate Tube".
Customizable YouTube-esque video portals from your platform are the best way to utilize rich-media internally. Much in the way faxes, emails and PowerPoint slideshows were once the building blocks of company communication, collaboration and research, so too will video be involved in these enterprise processes going forward.
8. Creation and editing tools.
Employees in most industries will have little-to-no background in video production, but that should not stop them from partaking in video creation and editing. Your platform should allow for content creation via webcams, screen recordings, synchronized presentations and even mobile (tablet or smartphone) capture. Your platform should also offer easy to use and simple editing capabilities.
9. Security and management controls.
As with all content, the videos created and consumed internally should be protected, and levels of control by higher-authority employees should be implemented without stunting sharing practices. Helpful security features include integration with your single sign-on (SSO) systems, private channels for upper management if necessary and on-premises deployment options behind the internal firewall.
10. Platform ﬂexibility and ease of integration with existing systems.
Most enterprises already have existing technologies to control workflow, manage content, collaborate and train their employees. Rather than replacing these programs, video should support and enhance them. Easy enterprise integration is critical, so look for solutions with extensive APIs and a plug-in architecture that will allow you to extend the platform, rather than diminish it.
11. Tools for increasing viewership.
Video as an external tool should improve brand awareness and engage your audience on
a new level. SEO optimization, distribution to third party platforms, the ability to share across social media networks and recommendations for further viewing should all be standard. Don't let your video sit passively - make it work to generate leads, increase exposure and enhance the user experience.
12. Content monetization options.
Finally, if selling video content online is your business model, your platform should provide you with Pay Per View, Digital Rights Managements, advertising integration and other monetization options, with add-on integration for possible future projects. As with most aspects of business, monetization is the key to future production.
Video in the enterprise is poised to strengthen over time: 77 percent of 18-24 year olds and 80 percent of 25-34 year olds own smartphones, and with them come the expectations of great video capabilities. As droves of these youngsters enter and grow in the workforce, video will play a critical role.