Enterprise video is a massively growing part of digital business. It’s also about more than just video conferencing: There are multiple — often intersecting — enterprise video use cases that in turn demand the kind of technical expertise partners bring to the table. It all adds up to significant market opportunity for channel pros.
In this article you will learn:
- How video, both live-streamed and recorded, is poised for explosive growth in terms of global internet traffic and business usage
- What are five of the most significant enterprise video use cases beyond video conferencing
- How partners can improve their odds of success by delivering real value in their video solutions
Enterprise video is more than just video conferencing. There are a number of other video use cases that demand the kind of technical expertise that partners bring to the table. It all adds up to significant market opportunity for channel pros.
The Myriad Uses of Enterprise Video
Live Event Streams
Immersive Video Collaboration
Employee Training and Communication
Partner Strategies for Enterprise Video Success
When you think of technology trends, evolutionary changes like cloud computing or mobility probably come to mind, or perhaps your IT brain jumps further forward to hot topics like edge computing, serverless or AI.
But video? That’s just a big, heaping scoop of plain vanilla.
That might be because online and other digital video formats have become so pervasive as to almost be taken for granted. We’ve been video conferencing and watching YouTube for so long now that we think of video as normal.
Maybe we should find video a bit more remarkable than we do because, well, it’s pretty darn remarkable, and it’s far from plateauing. Consider Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, which predicts that IP video traffic will account for 82 percent of consumer internet traffic by 2021. Fun fact: It would take one person 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks each month in 2021, according to Cisco.
It’s not just a consumer story: The same report says that business IP traffic will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 21 percent between 2016 and 2021. Needless to say, it’s not corporate email that’s to blame, even if your inbox is stuffed.
“Increased adoption of advanced video communications in the enterprise segment will cause business IP traffic to grow by a factor of 3 between 2016 and 2021,” the VNI report reads.
Maybe enterprise video isn’t just plain vanilla, after all. That characterization fits only because we’ve already become used to online and digital video in the workplace, thanks to ubiquitous and easy-to-use apps and conference room tech, that we hardly notice it anymore. But with that kind of projected growth, it’s as if everything to this point has just been a warmup.
In this article, we’ll go beyond your standard video conferencing apps and solutions – which obviously aren’t going anywhere any time soon – to examine some of the other compelling use cases for online and digital video in business contexts. Then, we’ll dig into some partner success strategies for selling and managing your customers’ video needs.
Video by the Numbers
- It would take an individual more than 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks each month in 2021. Every second, a million minutes of video content will cross the network by 2021.
- Globally, IP video traffic will be 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021, up from 73 percent in 2016. Global IP video traffic will grow threefold from 2016 to 2021, a CAGR of 26 percent.
- Live Internet video will account for 13 percent of Internet video traffic by 2021. Live video will grow 15-fold from 2016 to 2021.
- Internet video surveillance traffic increased 72 percent in 2016, from 516 petabytes per month at the end of 2015 to 883PB per month in 2016. Internet video surveillance traffic will increase sevenfold between 2016 and 2021.
- Virtual reality and augmented reality traffic will increase 20-fold between 2016 and 2021, at a CAGR of 82 percent.
- Internet video to TV grew 50 percent in 2016. Internet video to TV will continue to grow at a rapid pace, increasing 3.6-fold by 2021.
- Consumer Video-on-Demand (VoD) traffic will nearly double by 2021. The amount of VoD traffic in 2021 will be equivalent to 7.2 billion DVDs per month.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN) traffic will carry 71 percent of all Internet traffic by 2021. Seventy-one percent of all Internet traffic will cross CDNs by 2021 globally, up from 52 percent in 2016.
The Myriad Uses of Enterprise Video
If enterprise video at least seems like old hat, blame video conferencing: We’ve been doing it for so long that it’s as standard as a traditional phone, with plenty of accessible and easy-to-use apps for doing video calls and meetings from our laptops, phones and other devices. Even the more advanced video conferencing setups have been around awhile. And their impact is widespread and well-known: “Working from home” is no longer code for “paid day off”; distributed and remote workforces can be highly productive and collaborative. Companies can cut down on unnecessary travel. Recruiters and hiring managers can potentially cast a wider net. And so on.
But doing a video meeting with a client or colleague certainly isn’t the only use case here, nor is it the sole driver of video’s continued, massive growth – and the attendant networking and other technical considerations. We tapped a variety of experts to share their perspectives on other compelling business use cases for video. Here’s what they had to say.
Surveillance video is an enormous – and rapidly growing – category that spans a wide range of verticals, from schools to healthcare facilities to corporate campuses and more. Traffic from internet video surveillance traffic alone grew 72 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to Cisco.
The partner opportunity here is much greater than simply selling and installing cameras, according to Trent Fierro, director of software marketing at Aruba. There are significant networking, security, storage and other needs; security alone could be a cottage industry for some partners given the sensitivity of some of these industries and settings such as hospitals and K-12 schools. (More on that in the strategies section below.)
“It sort of runs the gamut for a channel partner,” Fierro says, noting that selling and servicing surveillance solutions – and enterprise video in general – can mean a whole lot more than just cameras: networking (both wired and wireless) needs, storage (in many verticals, surveillance footage must be archived for a certain number of years, further complicating this requirement), security (again, consider the enormous risks that would be caused by an insecure surveillance setup in a school, for instance), cloud platforms (which increasingly may deliver the infrastructure behind these solutions) and more.
Analog signs and billboards haven’t completely disappeared, but they’re increasingly being replaced by digital, interactive screens that comprise a new way of thinking about video – again, it’s not just about meetings.
“The sharing of information via digital signage has become very prevalent in just about every industry,” says Linda Hofflander, vice president of global channels and alliances at Agosto, where
Hofflander is building a partner community around the company’s Skykit digital signage product. “In airports, passengers can watch live news feeds, find flight status updates, even order food and watch content. In schools and universities, video is used in classrooms to share educational content as well as to invite individuals from anywhere in the world to join a conversation. In manufacturing plants, video is used for training, HR updates and in the break room.”
Hofflander’s examples reflect that “signage” isn’t just about advertising or ordering a latte on your layover between flights, but encompasses a broader context of information-sharing that intersects with other use cases here. Hofflander also notes that this category can include live feeds but also pre-recorded content that can be served up on a schedule or accessed by users on demand.
Live Event Streams
Speaking of live feeds, live video streaming in general is a growing category; the Cisco VNI report predicts it will account for 13 percent of all internet video traffic in 2021.
It’s a robust business use case, too, especially for corporate events.
“These events can be corporate board meetings to all the way to an off-site, all-hands daylong meeting,” says Jay Cahit Akin, CEO of Mushroom Networks. “Sometimes the video sources are outside of the corporate campuses and therefore [there’s] no access to corporate networks other than LTE.”
A live stream is pretty much pointless if the feed keeps cutting out, so that challenge creates an opportunity for hardware vendors like Mushroom Networks that make routers and appliances that combine two or more internet lines (fixed line or 3G/4G/LTE) into a single, faster, more reliable connection optimized for real-time feeds. That in turn creates a partner opportunity
“[Our solutions] are mostly delivered through our channel partners, who have specific focus on live video use cases,” Akin explains. “I believe the opportunity for the channel is great since, generally speaking, video tech is rarely within the core competency of the enterprise.”
This use case is further buoyed by the proliferation of distributed offices and the remote workforce.
“Video is particularly useful for companies with multiple offices,” says Jen Grogono, president and CEO of uStudio. “One of the most productive uses is for company-wide meetings, as video is a great way to broadcast corporate news and messages to a dispersed employee base.”
Immersive Video Collaboration
If video conferencing capabilities – whether via an app like Skype for Business or Zoom, or a heavier-duty meeting-room setup – are table stakes, then its next generations intend to raise that ante.
David Kung, vice president of product strategy at Oblong Industries, which makes the Mezzanine collaboration platform, calls the next wave “immersive visual collaboration,” which reflects a multichannel experience that includes but is not solely defined by face-to-face video.
“It’s important to recognize the difference between communication and collaboration,” Kung says. “Communication is essential for collaboration, but just because we can hear and see each other doesn’t mean we’re automatically better equipped to work together. Collaboration requires us to hear, see and share, so we can do.”
video conferencing is still a core essential, but Kung says there’s a new class of conference rooms and meeting spaces devoted with multistream, multiscreen capabilities – which in turns creates a partner opportunity for the implementation and ongoing management of the tech that powers these spaces.
“These environments require more than video communication – they require visual collaboration and the means to share multiple streams of content simultaneously, so teams can see and share all the information they need, all at once,” Kung explains. “Rooms such as these may be outfitted with not just a video teleconferencing codec but also IP cameras trained on whiteboards and other solutions that enable information to flow freely from multiple sources and locations.”
Employee Training and Communication
Fierro, Grogono and Hofflander all see employee training scenarios as another robust use case for video, both live and on-demand, especially in companies with multiple locations.
A key here is understanding and meeting the specific needs of different types of organizations and employers. Fierro points to the hospitality industry and, specifically, franchises. If the corporate parent introduces, say, a new menu item or a new customer policy, video is an increasingly attractive (and cost-reducing) way of communicating and training employees regarding such changes.
Partner Strategies for Enterprise Video Success
Whereas a 1-to-1 video meeting might just require a laptop webcam and a garden-variety internet connection – or just a smartphone and a decent wireless signal – these use cases typically, if not always, come with deeper technical requirements.
That’s where partners come in; as Akin notes above about live corporate event streams, for example, these needs aren’t ones that many enterprises staff for on an ongoing basis. Let’s look at three overlapping paths to enterprise video success.
Offer the essential networking, storage and security expertise.
As in some other technology categories, hardware is obviously a key need for these enterprise video uses. But if you’re only selling hardware, you’re almost certainly not meeting all of your customers’ needs – and limiting your revenue potential as a result. The aforementioned networking, storage and security categories are fundamental opportunities here. Here are some quick examples and explanations from our experts.
Networking: “Being able to provide the required networking resources including the quality of service and SLAs for video to achieve high performance is challenging unless you have networking solutions that are designed for that purpose. Throw in mobility and wireless, [and] the problem gets even harder,” Akin notes. He says meeting your QoS and SLA requirements, particularly with live events, depends upon diversification – akin to the wisdom financial advisors give on retirement investing, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
“That means your networking gear should be able to support multiple internet connections and intelligently manage how the video packets are scheduled over them,” Akin says. And there are other networking considerations, too; Fierro points to the need to prioritize video traffic over other data types in certain scenarios.
Storage: Just as video can have intensive demands on a network, so, too, does it have potentially significant storage requirements. This could be true for recorded, on-demand content, but also from a compliance standpoint; as Fierro notes above, multiple vertical industries might have strict archiving needs for surveillance video, for example.
Security: Fierro notes that IT security is a long-time practice for some partners; if you’ve already got security skills, they can be applied to particular vulnerabilities in video applications. (If you don’t, you might need to dig a bit deeper on this front.)
In the surveillance and monitoring category, for instance, Fierro points to some key questions to be asking: “When the cameras get connected, are they being segmented? Are you creating rules that define where the traffic should be going to?” he says. “Obviously, you want traffic from the cameras going [only] to [your] video servers. You don’t want just anybody to be able to look at the video.”
That’s potentially true in just about any video scenario, but the security stakes are especially high in some settings, such as schools or law enforcement or healthcare.
Look to diversification and cross-selling opportunities.
Similar to how video is about more than just hardware or video meetings, think about the ways in which your customers’ needs might intersect with other areas of your business and the partner ecosystems you’re already engaged in. Aruba offers a quick example; it’s owned by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, so a partner selling the networking backbone of a video solution might also expand into servers and storage, even if that’s not something they’ve done in the past.
Regardless of any particular vendor or partner program, consider the ways in which existing segments of your business – the aforementioned networking, storage and security come quickly to mind, but they’re not the only examples – might intersect with or be extended out to a customer’s video strategy.
Specialise in particular vertical industry needs.
Fierro points out that video is indeed old hat for many of us, including end users with little technical know-how. What that means for partners is that many of the back-end components – again, networking, storage and security come to mind – are similarly tried-and-true competencies for partners. As a result, building out an enterprise video segment of your business is likely not so much a matter of gaining new technical expertise, but rather understanding specific industry and company needs. All of the above use cases potentially have particular requirements that vary by industry.
“I think you can leverage what you [already] know,” Fierro says, and learn to apply it to specific vertical or industry needs. Video-related needs in telemedicine and healthcare might differ from, say, video-related needs in the hospitality industry. “It’s more about learning the space rather than learning a new technology area.”
Bonus strategy: Use video in your own sales cycle.
Here’s an extra tip for partners: Consider how video might benefit not just your customers’ businesses but your own. Travis Johansen, a video producer and cinematographer at Provide Films, notes that video messages and follow-ups are increasingly accessible and easy to create, and can offer a way to stand out when following up with sales prospects, customers and others. (In fact, Johansen sent us a video voicemail explaining the approach.) A video could even take the place of a traditional newsletter.
“Very often, I’m getting responses like: ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve never had somebody send me a video like that,’” Johansen says of video messages and follow-ups. “And actually, this is a lot faster than trying to write out this perfect message, because I can use intonation, I can use pacing, I can use energy to [respond] rather than trying to make sure my copywriting is just perfect for every email inquiry that comes through the door.”
It also creates an inherently personal connection; by seeing you and hearing their own name, Johansen says, recipients of video messages inherently understand this is something you did just for them.
“The second best thing to face-to-face is a video,” Johansen says.
Source: Comcast Business