I just read an interesting article on GigaOm entitled “Is YouTube for Enterprise Ready for Its Close Up?” and it got me thinking. The article references a recent Forrester study which suggests that employees are averse to videoconferencing at work and “that upper management is driving videoconferencing adoption in the workplace.” But is there such a strong correlation between the sentiment around videoconferencing and online video like YouTube? Certainly, there’s going to be some overlap between the two but I think that when you really consider their respective strengths, “YouTube for the enterprise” has a pretty good future.
That’s not to say that videoconferencing is out either. WebEx has had it since the beginning and it’s really been a simple and low-cost solution. Forrester reports that desktop videoconferencing is still in the survival phase but I think that once newer, higher-definition, higher bandwidth improvements make their way into the marketplace, interest will grow. After all, we’re being indoctrinated with popular devices like the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2, which easily incorporate this function. Having said that, the real sweet-spot of the industry isn’t videoconferencing; now it’s capturing rich video content which is accessible anytime and anywhere.
This is really one of the greater values that platforms like YouTube provide. Granted, there are a number of times when you search a “How-to” on YouTube and are rewarded with a canned videoconference with the author of the video barking into the camera. But ultimately, this doesn’t paint a full picture of the results online video has been producing. In the beginning of the year, Forbes Insights reported that 72% of US internet users view online videos. That’s 144 million people. Also, Hubspot found that this year, 60% of mobile web traffic will be video.
Using the example from the aforementioned article given by Paul Miller, founder of the Intranet Benchmarking Forum, “How should cabin crew on British Airways flights remove coffee machines that get stuck on long haul flights – watch this clip for 60 seconds and you have your illustrated answer.”
Now imagine this clip outside of what you imagine the low-grade YouTube “how-to” video to be and outside the context of your desktop but rather in your mobile device. It now becomes very timely, accessible, and assuming that the author of the clip utilized the rich media effectively, the clip is instrumental to solving a potentially costly business problem.
There’s really no wonder as to why this same Forrester study finds Online Video Platforms like Brightcove and YouTube to be in the growth phase. At the end of the day, it’s a whole lot different than just showing your face, no matter how pretty or highly-defined it is. These OVPs provide quick, on-demand, accessible solutions that are easy to swallow and have a proven track record in getting the audience to retain information. Given our own successes with thousands of enterprise customers, I think this market is here to stay.