ConnectSolutions put out twin press releases today covering an acquisition and a web conferencing platform offering. In addition to being specific developments for the company, the news also demonstrates some trends in the web conferencing space.
The acquisition was a company called Xuggle. Their specialty is software to transcode and manipulate audio/video streams. Companies are increasingly asking for smooth, large screen video as a part of their web communications strategies. One of the things that can make this difficult is the number of incompatible formats that video can be processed in.
For example, I recently recorded a video Q&A to be used as part of a streaming webcast for a vendor. I asked them what format they wanted the video in. They said “AVI.” Well, my Camtasia video production software gave me five different internal coding formats for an AVI file. I didn’t really understand the differences in each format and the webcasting company wasn’t sure which one they could use. I produced the video, sent it to them, and sure enough… “We’re having problems viewing that video. Could you try it with another codec?” This was followed by “Oh never mind. We figured it out.” The underlying technology of video is way too complicated for mere mortals to understand. Good transcoding software can really help.
The second announcement introduced a scalable suite of web collaboration products bundled under the mouth-filling label of “The ConnectSolutions Real-Time Collaboration Platform.” You have to give them points for clarity if not succinctness. The idea behind the platform is to provide software solutions optimized for different audience sizes.
The small end is covered by ConnectYou.Me, a product intended for one-to-one collaboration such as sales demos or technical support sessions. In the middle is our old friend Adobe Connect, which is flexible enough for a wide range of audience sizes on standard uses such as training or marketing webinars. And big webcasts going out to thousands of viewers fall under the domain of Podium.
ConnectSolutions is hanging their hat on the fact that organizations can have a single-source supplier for a set of solutions that handle different applications and needs, while having one point of contact for support, billing, licensing, and so forth. I can imagine this being attractive to companies that are seeing employees, departments, and office sites individually select a mishmash of solutions from various vendors.
Making video easier to use in web conferencing and enterprise consolidation of vendor solutions are both going to increase in importance, so it looks to me like ConnectSolutions has picked a viable strategy for their efforts.