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Ready for Close-Up

By David F. Carr  |  Posted 06-05-2008 Print

Companies have been using video for years, but the demand is growing rapidly in this YouTube era. Supporting video will soon become IT’s problem, and CIOs must be prepared.

Ready for Their Close-Up

In his research on enterprise video adoption, Wainhouse's Weinstein sees similar scenarios playing out at many companies. A group, usually within corporate communications or training, decides it needs to get its message out to more people, faster. "They can't get all those people into conference rooms and auditoriums--that's where it starts," he says.

Desktop video "is coming, and you're not going to hold it back," predicts Raytheon's Tarleton. CIOs who want to be prepared should understand the ramifications of this technology for their networks and server infrastructure and take steps to build that out, he says, adding, "Once an organization within the company begins using it, they ramp up very quickly."

Another major area of adoption is in higher education, where many lectures are recorded explicitly for on-demand video playback. Frank Monaco, who served as CIO of Pace University from 1997 until March 2008, says the school takes advantage of classrooms that were configured specifically for videoconferencing to also make recordings for later playback. In addition, it uses portable video equipment that can be wheeled on a cart into any classroom.

The classroom videos are cataloged in Blackboard, the university's curriculum management system, and published to streaming servers from Real Networks. The university has also begun publishing videos to Apple's iTunes University, and Monaco expects the school to increasingly rely on such external services, rather than on storing and serving the video content itself.

Wainhouse's Weinstein says the first step in forming a strategy for enterprise video is to assess the complexity of your requirements. If your needs are modest--say, limited to streaming out a recorded video message from the CEO a couple of times a year--you may be able to keep it simple. In other words, encoding the video with simple desktop tools, uploading it to a Web server and publishing a link to it may be just fine, he says.

On the other hand, if executives, trainers, university professors or other professionals are going to record their own videos on a regular basis, your organization needs to figure out a way to automate that so these users can create the videos themselves, without the help of IT. That's the only way video can be part of an organization's routine communications, Weinstein states. "Imagine if you had to get help from IT every time you wanted to send an e-mail," he says.


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