Behind all those shiny new iPads and Android tablets that employees are bringing into the workplace, some troubles are arising for the video pros who are trying to make streaming video work in the enterprise.
Of course, the good news is that the rise of tablets drastically changes the equation when it comes to consuming business video content. Compared to desktops, tablets provide a much better environment for watching online video. The enhanced viewing experience translates into a greater demand for video— and increased work for the people helping to create that video content.
The challenge that emerges with this mobile revolution, however, is that the platforms that organizations use to manage and distribute business video must evolve as well. The process of distributing video to the employee desktop—already a hearty technical challenge for many organizations— becomes that much more complex when you throw support for a sprawling array of mobile devices into the mix. Keep the following innovations in mind when contemplating mobile video for your organization.
The ability to convert a file into a format suitable for online distribution once was deemed by many to be a commodity element of the streaming video workflow. After all, in a video environment designed only to reach corporate desktops, all you really needed at one point in time was a simple encoder pumping out Windows Media files. That dynamic changes drastically in an era with expanding adoption of tablet devices and smartphones. Seemingly with each new device comes another media format that is needed to enable video distribution to that device. Suddenly, good transcoding becomes a very big deal for organizations aspiring to make video accessible to the wide array of devices that employees are bringing into the workplace.
Most businesses have no need for the industrial grade transcoding solutions historically associated with high-quality media file conversion. Even as the adoption of online video grows, not enough volume exists at most companies to justify that type of technology investment. Rather, look to the growing set of hosted solutions that are coming onto the market, providing high-quality transcoding capabilities at a cost within the reach of the typical corporate video creator.
Simply put, the end-user experience on a mobile digital device is different than the experience one has accessing online multimedia content via a desktop PC or laptop. As a result, the traditional templates used to package and present video content archives on Web-based computers won’t really address the needs or expectations of wouldbe viewers in the mobile environment.
Corporate decision-makers considering the deployment of new online video technology solutions must keep the issue of mobile presentation in mind. While most vendors today can rightfully boast about their ability to enable online video distribution in mobile environments, the devil is in the details. Some are already optimizing the mobile experience, while others lag.
Be sure to ask tough questions of would-be technology providers about how they handle mobile video content. Find out how links to videos will be presented on mobile devices.
Many capabilities offered by streaming platforms to track viewership on desktop devices will naturally transfer to the mobile world. Specifically, any viewer activity measured on the server side of the platform will be available to gauge activity in the mobile environment as well.
However, the engaging nature of tablet devices opens the door to tacking a wider set of variables that can be used to measure the extent of viewer interaction with the business content they are consuming. Do viewers pause the content and what activities do they take part in on the tablet during their time-out? Do some viewers take the time to watch a specific section more than once? How do viewers of streaming content on tablets respond to questions presented on-screen?
Quiz would-be vendors of streaming video platforms on their plans for developing novel viewership tracking metrics that apply specifically to tablet computers and smartphones.
Steve Vonder Haar is a senior analyst with Wainhouse Research and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.