Getting a Handle on Multimedia in Corporate Networks

Feature Article

Getting a Handle on Multimedia in Corporate Networks

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, IP Communications Magazines  |  March 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the March 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

Bandwidth-loving applications like video are starting to make a more regular appearance within corporate networks. But some businesses would like better tools to help them and their employees create, access and control video and the other content running over their networks. If this sounds like a familiar scenario, outfits like Ignite Technologies (News - Alert) and Smith Micro may have a solution for you.

Ignite offers the Content Delivery Solution, which actually is a software-as-a-service-based offer that allows an organization to manage the entire lifecycle of content publishing and distribution. It not only delivers large files on the customer’s behalf within the customer organization, it also can integrate with employee e-mail; support the delivery, creation, protection and measurement of live, on-demand and push content; and enable workers to rate and subscribe to content within the corporate network.

The 11-year-old company has 25 customers, including Accenture (News - Alert) and Bank of America. In fact, Bank of Americais one of Ignite’s largest peer-to-peer customers. The financial organization, which delivers TV-quality video to 320,000 of its employees’ desktops and laptops, leverages Igite’s Direct to Desktop for new executive introductions, quarterly updates, town hall meetings and strategic initiatives.

The solution allows the organization to deliver content to employee computers prior to an event and, if desired, alert the employee that content has arrived. Employees also have the option of viewing the content offline after the event, if they are at a remote site or on a flight, for example.

Skip Taylor, senior director of enterprise product management at Smith Micro Software, who spoke during the Managing the Mobile Workforce session last month at ITEXPO (News - Alert) East in Miami, adds that the growth and more widespread use of multimedia applications are creating a pain point around large file transfer.

He explains that because some corporate networks block the delivery via e-mail of files larger than a certain size, it’s sometimes difficult to know whether large e-mails have been received. To address all that, Taylor suggests that companies might consider a cloud-based approach to large file delivery that can reduce support costs associated with e-mail and ftp; make large file transfer easy to use and manage; track file deliveries companywide; and help a company meet compliance requirements.

IT folks typically have had a lot of control over what devices and applications employees use to access corporate networks, he continues. With the rise of smartphones, wirelessly-enabled laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi, Mi-Fi and the like, however, IT departments now are now grappling to regain control of corporate networks to make sure they are secure; comply with regulations; and offer a view into who’s connecting, when and with what endpoints, he says. The consumerization of wireless devices means that employees are bringing into corporate environments the endpoints and applications and operating systems of their choice, without first getting the green light from IT.

“Before IT had all of the control,” Taylor says. “They’ve lost all that.”

Meanwhile, the amount of traffic on networks is going through the roof given the number of connected devices and the popularization of video and other data. Taylor says that given more than 1 trillion devices are expected to be connected within 15 years, and we’re already seeing what he calls ubiquitous media consumption and a shift toward content creation, traffic loads are only going to get heavier over time.

To give businesses a better handle on what users can access what content, Taylor says that organizations might consider creating an app store within the corporate environment. That would enable employees to use the apps available from the store while on the corporate network, but block all or some other apps that are not. He says Smith Micro (News - Alert) offers a Symbian-based platform to enable this today and will introduce the platform for other operating systems in the future. For now it’s in alpha tests with select enterprises, he says, but the company is still just working with businesses to better understand their needs on this front.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi


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