The business world is no stranger to video content these days, with many large corporates building libraries of streaming content for their own employees, business partners or customers. Some have built their own Enterprise Video Platforms (EVPs) to help them create, manage and distribute that content, but the vast majority rely on third-party software solutions to do it for them.
On-Premise Solutions of the Past
In the past, streaming libraries were exclusively licensed, on-premise applications owned and maintained by the business itself. But the emergence of cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) delivery model in the last decade has led to a different approach that allows applications and content to be hosted on third-party servers in remote data centers and paid for via subscription fees.
Cloud Solutions of the Future
EVPs themselves come in different flavors. Some businesses use products or services to create internal YouTube-like applications just for their own employees, customers, and commercial partners, who are able to upload and publish videos with content moderation and secure viewing features.
A good example of an online video portal comes from Vimp, aimed at corporate e-learning initiatives and internal videos on private networks. Vidizmo is another, a white label solution which can be customized with the businesses own brand, and which sends video content to a range of different fixed and mobile devices and operating systems.
Clipster is another portal-based solution hosted in a cloud environment, with three versions – Campaign, Channel and Distributor – aimed at marketing companies looking to kickstart new advertising initiatives, and share online video inventories with customers and business partners.
As a remote cloud-hosted service, these applications can put a strain on the wide area network (WAN) and backbone network links needed to transmit all that data from the server hosting the content to the viewer. As such, businesses leasing these services have to be certain their SaaS provider can provide sufficient performance and reliability guarantees to make sure the applications are not affected by downtime, jitter or latency, and can scale quickly to handle more content at peak times of the year.
Hybrid Platforms: Trust & Data Security
Many companies worry about losing control of the applications and content they host in remote clouds, with others worried about data security and regulation. A second option for an EVP is a hybrid solution – one that hosts some elements of the platform in a remote cloud and others at the customer’s own site to address management, performance and security concerns.
Vidizmo can also be leased as a hybrid platform that integrates with other on-premise applications for security and management purposes, for example. Vimp has the option of being delivered either as a cloud-based SaaS platform or as on-premise software running on the company’s own servers with extensive integration options with other applications via open source APIs.
But while this approach may take some of the strain off the network, it puts more pressure on in-house local area network (LAN), server and storage resources which may be difficult and expensive for the business to upgrade and maintain. Enterprise content delivery networks (eCDNs) take a similar approach in using the company’s in-house architecture to host content, sending it using multicasting and peer-to-peer delivery techniques across private LAN/WAN topologies. MediaPlatform provides its SmartEdge eCDN to accelerate and optimize HTTPS video delivery across corporate networks for example (though the company also provides an enterprise video portal solution).
There are also products or services that manage video content produced by the business and make them available to those same employers, customers, and partners, often via custom portals or plug-ins that fit into existing portals created with Microsoft SharePoint or other collaboration platforms.
Qumu is a cloud-based enterprise video platform, used by BT Global Services, NetApp and Vodafone amongst others, which relies on a mixture of its clients’ own CDNs and those delivered by third-party service providers. One customer – Henderson Financial – uses Qumu to communicate with employees at branch offices via real-time webcasts and to share sensitive client, trade and market information with workers and business partners securely.
Ultimately, the buying decision for any EVP will depend on a range of factors – including the suitability of current in-house architecture, performance and reliability requirements, internal staff resources, trust and a preference for opex/capex orientated billing models. Fortunately for businesses, there are lots of choices available.