How to Make Streaming Video over IP a Vital Part of Your Communications Strategy

By John Shaw  |  Posted 2010-07-08

How to Make Streaming Video over IP a Vital Part of Your Communications Strategy

A rapidly growing number of companies are economically broadcasting high definition-quality streaming video over their corporate LANs and WANs and the Internet. Streaming video combines the universal accessibility of voice over IP (VOIP) technology, the real-time immediacy and visual impact of video conferencing, and the global reach of user-generated content characterized by YouTube.

One of the companies harnessing the power of video today is CARQUEST Auto Parts. Their challenge was to share weekly corporate updates with the more than 18,000 "teammates" who operate their distribution centers and auto parts stores in over 3,400 locations across North America. As you may imagine, it quickly turned into a game of "telephone" gone bad. By implementing the latest video streaming technology, company executives can now reach every teammate firsthand, enabling them to deliver clear and timely corporate communications.

Government agencies are also taking advantage of streaming video to engage not only with each other but with the public as well. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has adopted video conferencing as an alternative to in-person meetings in order to create a virtual environment that's more conducive for public participation.

They can now hold events in front of an audience of constituents and pull in presenters from around the country to share their insights via video streaming. The event can also be streamed in real time on the Internet ensuring that citizens across the country can watch the proceedings.

The Democratization of Video-Based Communications

The democratization of video-based communications

Why is the market for this technology heating up now? It used to be that live or on-demand video running over your IP data network would voraciously eat up bandwidth. Video compression approaches have improved dramatically, and most organizations now have the requisite LAN/WAN infrastructure to support IP video.

Storage costs have also declined dramatically, making on-demand video highly economical. These enabling technologies and infrastructure have quietly passed the tipping point and replaced technical challenges with cost-effective and workable solutions.

Employees and customers increasingly expect to use the same rich media communications in the workplace that they've adopted in their personal lives. And reaching them outside the office is not a problem as broadband to the home and to mobile devices is increasingly pervasive.

The result is a "democratization" of video-based communications. The technology is no longer limited to point-to-point video conferencing or highly-produced broadcasted events. It puts advanced video communication into the hands of every employee across the enterprise, allowing them to incorporate rich media content into their work.

Companies are harnessing this user-generated content to create valuable digital assets. Equally important, the use of streaming video can significantly curtail travel, event and training costs-to the benefit of the organization's pocketbook and the environment.

Creating and Preserving Corporate Culture

Creating and preserving corporate culture

Distributed organizations are using the intimacy of video to help create and preserve corporate culture, which is particularly important in these turbulent times. They are finding that video Webcasting is a far more compelling way to communicate inside and outside their organizations. An increasing number of studies have shown that body language and facial expressions greatly enhance the impact and retention of a spoken message.

Organizations can incorporate live and on-demand IP video into their communications mix either by purchasing a premises-based platform or by adopting a Web-based software as a service (SAAS) model. Either way, the solution elements are the same: a software portal to manage and view the rich media content, encoding and distribution technology to capture and transmit the video stream, record and store devices for on-demand content consumption, and decoding software and hardware to view the video on PCs, TV displays and portable devices.

John Shaw is Chief Operating Officer at VBrick Systems. John brings more than 25 years of experience building networking and software businesses. Prior to joining VBrick Systems, John was chief executive officer of Aptima, a major provider of predictive analytics and Web 2.0-related products and services. Prior to Aptima, John was with Cisco Systems for seven years where he held several senior marketing positions. John was a member of the leadership team which formulated and executed the company's VOIP strategy, representing one of Cisco's fastest-growing product segments.

John joined Cisco via the 1998 acquisition of Summa Four, a leader in the programmable switching market. There, he was vice president of marketing and business development. During John's seven-year tenure, Summa Four's revenues grew fivefold and the company went public. John also spent five years with AT&T in several sales positions. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Bowdoin College and a Master's degree from Harvard Business School. He can be reached at

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