Knock us over with a feather: Video has gone mainstream in the enterprise. In a Wave released yesterday for Enterprise Video Platforms and Webcasting, Forrester Research describes video as an increasingly common channel for both internal communication with other employees and external communication with customers and partners.

Because of the growing demand for video in everything from marketing and corporate communications to employee education and training, selecting the right technology platform has become imperative. Forrester defines a video platform as software (and optionally appliances) to capture, manage and deliver one-to-many live and on-demand IP video.

So what can you do? One vendor leads the pack — and six more are credible alternatives, the research concludes.

And the Leaders Are …

Take a bow, Kaltura. Forrester describes this New York City-based vendor as the strongest overall choice for combined video portals and webcasting.

On24, headquartered in San Francisco, is the best pure webcasting solution. San Bruno, Calif.-based Qumu, Beverly Hills, Calif.-based MediaPlatform, Madison, Wis.-based Sonic Foundry, Chicago-based InXpo and San Jose, Calif.-based Polycom round out the Leaders for combined solutions.

And New York City-based Nasdaq – the same company that owns and operates the Nasdaq stock market and eight European stock exchanges — is a Leader in webcasting.

Forrester conducted product evaluations last September and October. It also interviewed 16 vendor and several user companies — the seven ranked as leaders, as well as BrightTalk, Cisco, Kontiki, Kulu Valley, Panopto, Ramp, Sonic Foundry, TalkPoint and VBrick.

Video platform vendors have historically specialized in either live presentations with slides (webcasting) or video on-demand publishing (portals) or in specialized solutions for either marketing, training or corporate communications use. However, Forrester noted, "The lines are blurring as vendors seek to become single solutions for comprehensive internal plus external video publishing and presentation needs."

  • Webcasting vendors are adding brandable portals and enterprise software integrations with Jive, Yammer and Salesforce Chatter to extend their reach into employee communications
  • Video portal vendors are move into webcasting to meet the needs of clients whose objective is video for live events, video enabling an intranet or both
  • Enterprise video platforms are extending into marketing by adding integrations with Eloqua and Marketo and improving their reporting capabilities

2015-4-february-video-platform-comvergence.jpg Source: Forrester Research, Inc., 2015

Tapping Growing Interest

Enterprise video has morphed from a novelty to a strategic part of overall communications, marketing or training initiatives. To capitalize on this trend and help drive even more pervasive use of video, Forrester claims vendors are delivering functionality, integrations and services that make it easier to apply video to — and understand how it affects — business processes. That includes:

  • Tools to drive marketing and PR campaign success, including built-in lead scoring based on attendee engagement during a webcast and integrations that pass data on video viewing to marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) systems
  • Self-service wizards to simplify setting up and running live events, including the process of connecting videoconferencing endpoints to their platforms in the cloud
  • Browser-based content creation that enables employees to capture video and create video presentations using webcams, screen captures and slides
  • Cloud offerings to simplify and speed up deployments, including enhanced cloud infrastructure and security features, as well as hybrid deployment options
  • Scalability over the enterprise wide area network (WAN) and the Internet, despite the on-going limitations of network bandwidth 

What's So Great About Kaltura?

Forrester thinks Kaltura has the most complete set of applications for all discrete markets for video platforms, including marketing, employee communications, education, and media and entertainment. It further notes that the company "has distanced itself even further from the pack as a standalone video portal" since the last Forrester Wave on video platforms in 2013 by adding "a compelling solution" for both live and on demand video with the addition of webcasting and presentation capture.

"With its modular approach, strong support for APIs, and large number of technology integrations, Kaltura is closest to being the one video platform that can do it all," lead author Philipp Karcher,  a senior analyst serving application development and delivery professionals, wrote in the report. Karcher's only criticism is that Kaltura, which recently released its own webcasting module, is unproven in live webcasting. 

Getting It On

On24 is a potential fit for companies that need a platform for marketing webinars, but less so for those who desire a single platform for live and on demand internal and external video publishing.

It is the largest pure play webcasting provider, based on reported revenues. It focuses on the needs of marketers for demand generation, which "shines through in the webcasting experience for attendees"  and in its support for data — "its tools for scoring attendee engagement; its integrations with Marketo, Eloqua and Salesforce to pass attendee data; and a new service to benchmark webinar effectiveness." 

A Look at the Other Leaders

InXpo is "a good all-around choice for enterprise-wide webcasting and video on demand needs." It has integrations with employee social platforms, social marketing sites and marketing automation applications, as well as tools for attendee engagement scoring for marketers. However, it is not as customizable and brandable as some marketing-focused webcasting solutions, nor does it have the same multimedia capture and search features of some training-focused providers.

MediaPlatform, which manages live video distribution in complex network environments, is a potential fit primarily for live webcasting and for video on demand for employees. It has a strong integration strategy with support for enterprise collaboration applications (Cisco TCS, Jive, SharePoint, Yammer) and CRM and marketing automation systems. But it needs to improve the integration between its two products for webcasting and portals to provide a more consistent experience between them, Forrester noted.

Nasdaq, which has workflow and services for IR and PR webcasting, is a potential fit primarily for full-service investor relations and PR webcasts, and secondarily for other large company events. "Nasdaq has brand cachet and specific know-how of interest to IR pros," including tools to notify the financial community and press of upcoming events as well as syndicate webcasts financial portals. However, more tasks (in comparison to competitors) like portal configuration and video signal acquisition require intervention by Nasdaq staff.

Polycom is a solid choice for those already using its videoconferencing product. In the past two years the company has refreshed its capture and server hardware, improved Microsoft Lync and SharePoint integrations, added audio transcription (through partnership with Ramp), and simplified licensing. However, content management and administration, as well as editing, are still done in separately installed applications. Forrester noted these limitations as obstacles to wider adoption.

Qumu is a favorite of Fortune 500 companies with large-scale employee video distribution, many of whom specifically selected it for its network appliances to enable live video distribution internally. It offers a feature-rich portal and webcasting applications, and a comprehensive set of integrations with enterprise collaboration and videoconferencing products. However, until its recent acquisition of Kulu Valley to serve as its cloud solution, "Qumu has been overkill for companies with basic needs," Forrester noted. The acquisition, however, could make Qumu "an easier entry point for customers and an opportunity to play in marketing webcasting."

Sonic Foundry, which has extended from webcasting and presentation capture to portals, is a potential fit for enterprise-wide needs "without significant integration or customization requirements." It has devices for multi-input video and presentation capture, and "a great webcasting player with in-video search and the ability to show multiple camera feeds at once." In recent years it has expanded its focus on enterprises beyond its traditional focus on universities as well as prioritized its cloud offering. But "there are still some gaps," Forrester noted, including lack of integrations with enterprise software like SharePoint. 

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by jen_rab.