Kontiki Goes After Cisco with Live Video for Enterprises

Kontiki offers live video for enterprises in a move to take down enterprise networking giant Cisco Systems in messaging and collaboration. While Cisco sells hardware to propel its video distribution, Kontiki is offering software plug-ins to let IT administrators in branch offices of large enterprises deploy live video.

It's no secret that video is a major collaboration tool in large companies these days. For companies where employees are often geographically dispersed, video makes it easier and cheaper for workers to meet face to face without spending money on airfare.

Kontiki July 28 introduced Kontiki Live, a video broadcasting software plug-in that companies install on workers' PCs to deliver video to their employees. Designed for companies with thousands of employees, the product is an alternative to installing streaming and caching servers from Cisco Systems.

With Kontiki Live, businesses executives can create ad-hoc meetings for crisis communications, or plan quarterly meetings and town hall sessions to help get the message out across the corporate LAN.

To read about how OoVoo plans to challenge the big names in video conferencing for small and midsize businesses, click here.

Traditionally, live video has proven too expensive for businesses because it requires significant WAN bandwidth upgrades and network hardware investments, along with time and costs associated with maintaining the video system. This costs companies millions of dollars over time.

Kontiki CEO Eric Armstrong told eWEEK that 70 to 90 percent of employees in Fortune 1000 companies work in satellite offices that are constrained by bandwidth.

In these offices, anywhere from 10 to 200 employees are sharing bandwidth connectivity rates ranging from 256K bps up to 2M to 4M bps, Armstrong said.

When these workers watch a video simultaneously it will overload the WAN, which is reserved for business applications. To alleviate that bandwidth burden, companies would buy hardware servers from Cisco Systems.

Kontiki offers its video content over the LAN instead of the WAN so that multiple, simultaneous users can watch content live or on demand.

Kontiki Live leverages the company's peer-to-peer technology to support multiple bit rates for live events. The software also automatically detects user connectivity to serve the appropriate load of live video without impacting the network.

Kontiki Live, which has been beta tested by companies ranging from 2,500 to 260,000 employees, is available now starting at 10 cents per user minute.

Gartner analyst Lydia Leong told eWEEK that Kontiki's solution is unique because it is a pure software distribution that IT administrators deploy to employees' desktops.

"Most of the solutions you see from companies like Cisco involve installing hardware," Leong said. "That's all well and good when you have lots of things concentrated in a couple of offices, but the more you get branch and small offices in your organization, it becomes less effective trying to deploy a solution to 100 percent of the users."

Kontiki was acquired from digital certificate provider VeriSign by MK Capital in May 2008 and has been trying to make a go of it alone as an enterprise video content provider. It recently began selling a SAAS (software as a service) video service.