Austin is known as the home of the South-by-Southwest (SXSW) festival, which has become one the premier tech culture events in the world. When you consider that two of the three named components of the festival are “Film” and “Interactive,” then you’d expect to see some pretty interesting things in the greater Austin region happening in video.
You won’t be disappointed to learn that, indeed, there is a cluster of area companies working very hard on video-related products, targeted in particular to serve the rapidly emerging mobile economy. With the research firm eMarketer reporting that nearly 25 million people used their mobile devices to watch video in 2010, most expect video to be even more commonplace in 2011 and beyond. This is a quick tour of three Austin-area companies working to lead the mobile video pack: uStudio, Invodo and 44Doors.
The core problem that uStudio solves is a providing a single point for managing and monitoring video across all devices and all software services where it might be played. Unfortunately, today’s video producer must confront a time-consuming, repetitive process of uploading video to multiple platforms, like YouTube, Hulu, or any others.
With uStudio, they can upload their video to the uStudio service, and then revise it, track it, and report on it, regardless of the ultimate software (and device) that plays it, whether on a website, in Adobe Flash on a Blackberry tablet, or via an Html5 video player on your smart phone. For example, uStudio powers videos playing on the Answers.com site, such as “How to cook the perfect holiday turkey?”
Austin software success Bazaarvoice has provided a scalable, affordable suite to any company that wants to offer its customers a user-ratings community that a category leader like Amazon.com can afford to build. Likewise, uStudio hopes to offer a scalable, affordable video management suite for many companies eager to use video in their customer engagement efforts.
Speaking of customer engagement, that’s where the next company, Invodo, fits in. Unlike uStudio, which is geared towards serving the video management needs for all industries and all purposes, Invodo is more precisely aimed to large retailers, primarily in the Fortune 500, especially the Fortune 100.
For those companies, Invodo provides a turnkey solution of its own products and services to help them create, host, stream, distribute, and measure the impact of video. At the core of Invodo’s product offering are a set of custom tools it refers to as its platform. In collaboration with retail mobile app specialist Digby, Invodo’s platform has been used to power video campaigns for large clients like Golfsmith and Toys”R”Us.
Finally, continuing on this retail theme, is Austin’s 44Doors which also offers a retailer-oriented app for smart phones called Capture. The 44Doors technology is a clever assembly of some powerful, pervasive mobile building blocks, including QR codes, SMS, and browser-based video.
Perhaps recognizing the still somewhat early stage of mobile video as a medium of choice for any outside of very large firms, 44Doors has a heavy emphasis on providing services to tailor its solutions. Clients include Jackson Family Wines, whose experience 44Doors is presenting via a webinar-delivered case study on Monday, July 11, for anyone interested in theROI for mobile video.
No doubt, as bandwidth grows, displays improve, and mobile device processing power increases, video will become an even more common content choice for everything from education on-the-go to incentivizing instant sales right in the supermarket aisle.
Steve Guengerich is a co-founder of Appconomy and executive producer of its research and education initiatives (The.Appconomy.com).
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