From The Editor | June 2, 2011

Ingram Micro Cloud: Video In The Cloud Is A New Frontier

Webinar: Cloud 101

By Gennifer Biggs, security, storage, and managed services editor

So much of the chatter around cloud computing comes in the form of solutions around hosted email and backup/disaster recovery. But what about other technology being fueled by cloud's flexibility and performance? During the Ingram Micro Cloud Summit held June 1-2, Guido Jouret, CTO of Cisco's Emerging Technologies Group and VP/GM of the vendor's enterprise video group, shared his opinion.

He kicked off his session by sharing an interesting statistical tidbit: 90% of the traffic on the Web will be video by 2014. So, that begs the question: Why video? The answer lies in the demographics of today's business workforce, and many of its leaders. As part of the Millennial generation, today's 20- and 30-somethings were raised on computers; they are the YouTube generation. "Those employees are driving how we see video being used in business today," explains Jouret. The most common use -- business meetings -- is no longer the only place you find video in a business setting. Rather, you find video being used for organizational communications, advertising, customer/patient interactions, events (such as the 1,000 Ingram Micro partners watching the live feed of this cloud event), physical security, and training/education. All those use cases are helping businesses validate the investment into high-quality video technology. Jouret stressed that as video, empowered by cloud, becomes a higher priority with businesses, solutions providers must understand those business drivers behind the adoption of sophisticated video solutions in order to offer value and turn the video opportunity into a profit center.

For example, Jouret suggests looking at where your customers are on the five-step path from dipping their toe into video to a full-blown strategic and organizational-wide use of video technology. "You can help your customers move from a crawl to a run, and therein lays the opportunity for the channel," he advised attendees. To support that, Cisco has developed several business use cases that start basic, then add layers of technology, all of which start to blur together at some point, an inflection point Cisco calls pervasive video -- a portfolio of video apps that support all the business needs within a company. One case highlights the transformation of a business from using video for business meetings – simple video conferencing – to an integrated, automated telepresence service that including recording of video conferenced meetings for on-demand viewing, delivery and interoperability of video meetings on any device, and automated speaker recognition and tagging that makes archived video meetings searchable.

While the business outcomes of video are clear across each of this use models, Jouret cautioned that video remains challenging … and hurdles such as bandwidth and load balancing in support of video are part of the video opportunity for the channel. "We like to say, where there is mystery, there is margin," joked Jouret. While some video enablement solutions are rooted in the on-premise infrastructure, the movement is to house video support systems in the cloud, further accelerating the adoption of video.

Jouret suggests that those solutions providers interested in video – from telepresence to physical security – should start at step 1 – thinking about the multiple video use cases and identifying where your customers are on the path to full video strategies. From there, solution providers should assess their customers' environments with video in mind, develop a comprehensive video architecture in that environment, and then transform their customers' businesses with video.

Want to learn more? Check out Cisco.com/pervasive video.

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