Wistia Joins Cisco, Google in Enterprise Video Race

Wistia prepares for formally entering the enterprise video market with a SAAS platform that lets corporations train employees or sales teams pitch prospects. Wistia adds threaded comments to give its platform a messaging and collaboration flavor, the better to compete with enterprise video players Cisco, Google, Veodia and IVT.

Cisco Systems and Google have some new competition in the market for enterprise video, which when leveraged within collaboration tools should be a multi-billion-dollar opportunity over the next few years.
Wistia is emerging from stealth mode Dec. 29 to lure more customers to its SAAS (software as a service) video sharing application, which businesses use to train their employees, or sell and market products and services.
Wistia lets customers privately share video content with internal work teams, business partners and clients through a Web browser. The tool could be a hit among smaller companies which lack the computing resources to support online video, and even IT staffs to maintain them.

Enterprise video is a hit period, according to Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler, who is preparing a report on the topic for next year. "The opportunity to use video more pervasively inside the enterprise is on the rise."

With Wistia, users subscribe and upload videos to the Wistia's platform, which converts all content to Flash for viewing in any Web browser. Administrators for the Wistia application invite viewers to login to a project page by sending them a Web link to view content, Wistia CEO Chris Savage told eWEEK Dec. 18.
Wistia admins play traffic cop, deciding who gets to see what content, and can use audit and reporting tools to track what viewers are paying the most and least attention to. Suppose a user watches 20 seconds of a video, gets bored and fast forwards the video. Engagement tools in Wistia will keep track of those metrics.
While Savage said tracking what users are most drawn to is especially useful for salespeople, who can get a better handle on what their prospects are interested in. To that end, Savage said Wistia is eating its own dog food, using the video engagement tracking tools in the video-sharing software to gauge customers' reactions during sales pitches.
"We share videos with a prospect about new feature sets and we can tell which of our prospects are watching them," Savage said.
Wistia also lets users post comments on the video content that can be time-coded, or linked to specific video frames. Wistia also supports documents created in Microsoft Office, Adobe PDF and audio formats, as well as high-resolution video.
Though the company is soon launching on the public stage, Savage said Cushman & Wakefield, Nestle Nutrition, and Sonus Networks are a few of the 25 companies that are using Wistia's private video sharing tools.
One characteristic that should appeal to companies with little, no, or harried IT staffs is that users can procure Wistia's solution over the Web without getting permission from system admins, or enlisting their help to set it up. In that sense, it has a simplicity factor akin to most Web conferencing tools.
The base package for Wistia starts at $79 per month, which includes one administrator and 10 viewers. Additional viewers are $3 per month, with volume discounts available. The company also offers 30-day trial for free for curious prospects to test.
As far as video sharing software goes, Wistia is a cinch, but there are a number of players in the space vying for market share.
Cisco has a broad swath of corporate video solutions and just launched a $50,000 media appliance for larger businesses. Sun Microsoft has deployed startup video service Veodia for 30,000 seats as part of its internal training project.

Google in September launched Google Video for businesses as a free addition to its Google Apps suite.

Startup IVT launched shortly thereafter with a solution similar to Wistia. Like Cisco, IVT caters to larger businesses.