Video Platforms Are Critical Parts Of Your Customer And Employee Engagement Toolkits

Marketers increasingly recognize the value of using online video to engage and inform consumers, create brand awareness, and even drive direct action. Similarly, corporate communications and business leaders are making greater use of live streaming and on-demand video to communicate more effectively with a distributed workforce. Video publishing capabilities are integral not only to traditional media providers today, but to the websites and intranets of many brands, companies, and organizations without a history of content creation. 

Today we released two Forrester Waves™ to help our clients select the right vendor for their video publishing needs. The Forrester Wave on online video platforms (OVPs) updates our previous evaluation of the market and includes five vendors: Adobe, Brightcove, Kaltura, Limelight, and Ooyala. The Forrester Wave on enterprise video platforms (EVPs) is our first evaluation of this important category and includes seven vendors: Cisco, Ignite Technologies, Kaltura, Kontiki, Polycom, Qumu, Sonic Foundry, and VBrick. We included these vendors because of their size in the market, experience serving enterprise customers, and frequent mention by Forrester clients in competitive scenarios. 
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Dissecting The Latest Announcements From Cisco And Polycom

Having attended analyst events by Cisco and Polycom in the past month I'd like to share my key takeaways from the announcements for the companies' positions in the videoconferencing and collaboration software markets. 

POLYCOM
CEO Andy Miller called October 8 the "most important day in Polycom history" when the company made a wave of announcements on products it will release over the next six months:
  • Cloud AXIS, a browser-based videoconferencing service promises to simplify connectivity. Videoconferencing in a browser window without the need for any downloads will help promote adoption. It could also make other enterprise videoconferencing initiatives — B2B, desktop-to-room connectivity, and BYOD — easier to achieve. We can see the promise of browser-based connectivity in BlueJeans' introduction of the technology, where it already accounts for 25% of endpoints on calls using the service
  • SVC and multi-stream videoconferencing architecture lower the cost per port. Room-based videoconferencing vendors are under growing pressure to provide alternative deployment options to the expensive transcoding MCU. By supporting the SVC codec as well as interoperability with mainstream AVC, Polycom can offer the best of both worlds. Also, Polycom is using the same flavor of SVC as Microsoft in Lync 2013, maintaining the synergy of a Polycom + Microsoft strategy.
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Winners Of The 2012 Forrester Groundswell Awards (Business-To-Employee Category)

We're excited to announce the first set of winners of the 2012 Forrester Groundswell Awards, honoring the best employee mobile, collaboration, and innovation stories. These awards are being announced today at Forrester's Digital Disruption Forum in Orlando. (The B2B and B2C awards will be announced next week). Once again we received many outstanding entries, but we gave extra points to the most innovative solutions with a measurable impact. Several themes emerged out of this year's entries:

  • Giving iPads to sales people is a hot mobile use case. We had multiple entries from organizations that give sales people or channel partners access to sales tools and resources on tablets. Replacing paper-based processes with always-current material is  convenient, cheaper than printing, and also creates an opportunity to wow customers during the sales process.
  • Companies are empowering employees with social tools to solve customer problems. In a world where technology has given customers incredible amounts of power, companies with turgid processes and departmental boundaries cannot be nimble enough to serve them. Only your employees can help — and they can only help you if you unleash them to use the same technologies that empower your customers. Both the winner and the runner-up in this year's Collaboration Program category integrated public social networks with internal business applications and used gamification to incent desired behaviors. 
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Microsoft Is Still The Biggest Brand Used For Work

When we asked 10,000 information workers globally what brands are on the devices, operating systems, and software they use for work, it came as no surprise that Microsoft dominates. More than 90% of employees rely on something Microsoft to get their jobs done (and we didn't even ask about office productivity suites). What's interesting and new, however, is the pervasiveness of other brands besides Microsoft in the workplace.

 

Note: We asked about desktop, laptop, smartphone, and tablet manufacturer; PC, tablet, and smartphone operating system; web browser, email, IM, and webconferencing  software.

 

Our data shows Apple and Google have joined tech stalwarts Dell and HP as the top five brands employees use at work. Google particularly has made major strides and is now second only to Microsoft in terms of pervasiveness in Asia Pacific and Latin American workplaces. The brand ecosystem differs outside of North America and Western Europe in other ways as well -- Lenovo is big in China, and Acer and Asus are big in Russia.

 

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The Future Of Videoconferencing Is Everywhere-Access And Seamless Connectivity — But How Do You Get There?

 

In a work culture dominated by meetings, organizations continue to look to videoconferencing to cut travel by replicating the in-person experiences that employees prefer — or at least make voice conversations more engaging by fostering the trust and improved communication that comes with being able to read the other person’s body language. Today, we published our first Forrester Wave on room-based videoconferencing, evaluating seven vendors: Cisco, Huawei, LifeSize, Polycom, Radvision, Teliris, and Vidyo. The Forrester Wave positions vendors according to their ability to deliver a complete portfolio of videoconferencing solutions and their strategy in the face of several key trends.
 
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Update On Cisco's Collaboration Strategy

Special thanks to Art Schoeller, TJ Keitt, Henry Dewing, and Ted Schadler for their input

I went to Cisco's Collaboration Summit last week to hear the latest from the various product teams and some of their marquee customers. Much of the story remains the same: Cisco continues to dominate in video and web conferencing; it is taking strong steps in the right direction but still has a lot of work ahead to deliver a cohesive collaboration platform with the likes of Microsoft, IBM, and Google:

  • Video continues to be a key differentiator. Cisco is expanding its foothold in video at different ends of the market. Highlights from the conference include Telepresence Conductor, a component that optimizes the video traffic in large enterprises with multiple MCUs; and Callway, a hosted service for SMBs that don't want to invest in dedicated infrastructure. The most interesting development to me is the redesigned Jabber client, Cisco's push to compete with Lync. SVP for Telepresence OJ Winge described it to me as a combination of the best technologies from Cisco's applications for IM (Jabber), video (Movi), and voice. The recently released Jabber SDK also allows developers to enable Jabber IM, presence, voice, web conferencing -- and in the future, video -- in web applications like Gmail or SAP.
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