Kaltura Takes on Brightcove and KIT Digital in Europe

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Kaltura is expanding into Europe with the promise of challenging the existing broadcast and enterprise video businesses of players like KIT Digital and Brightcove.

The charge is being led by Kaltura's former vice president of strategy, Leah Belsky.

"Kaltura will shake-up the video market in Europe," Belsky said. "We will quickly outpace other providers in the broadcast space and be the leader for video hands-down. We will offer enterprise and education markets something that has not yet been offered by anyone in video. No-one can provide what we provide including Kumo, Brightcove, Cisco, and Ooyala."

Belsky becomes European general manager and head of a 15-strong team headquartered in London to target media companies, universities, and corporate enterprises across the continent with Kaltura's open source video platform.

The move is partly prompted, says Belsky, from demand by Kaltura's existing U.S. media customers to service their European operations.

Two major broadcasters have already signed on, although Kaltura won't say which. In North America, Kaltura's customers include ABC, HBO, Warner Bros., and Disney.

However, it is in the education and enterprise verticals where the Kaltura spies the most potential. Its European customers already include AstraZeneca, SAP, AkzoNobel, Nestle, and Siemens.

Leah Belsky"There is an increasing trend toward the consumerisation of enterprise technology and the use of video to reduce the cost of knowledge sharing. Kaltura feeds into that," Belsky says.

"Enterprises are using Kaltura for external marketing and e-commerce, and to change the way people work to become more productive by using video in the workplace on a daily basis."

The company's MediaSpace application serves as a Corporate Tube for enterprises, permitting employees to watch videos targeted to their specific information and training needs, view and post comments, and upload user-generated content. An upgrade is pending shortly.

Integrating video into the enterprise is a growing trend. In a recent Forrester study, 25 percent of IT decision makers said they were already adopting enterprise IP/digital video solutions for internal use while another 20 percent stated they were planning to do so.

"The technology that people experience in the workplace should be as engaging and as easy to use as the technology they use in the home, like YouTube and Facebook," Belsky says. "Kaltura's video platform is part of this larger trend. If people spend 12 hours a month watching online video outside work, when they go to work they should be able to use video to communicate, to record and upload meetings, or record from a webcam. Media is an incredibly powerful communications tool that enterprises are recognising they need to bring to the workplace."

There is a similar demand, Belsky says, among universities for video to change the way learning and teaching is conducted.

"Right now, if you want to use video on campus you need to go to one person on site to ask permission to put a file on a server," says Belsky. "We believe that any teacher and any student should be able to upload video and assignments or lectures, and that video should be integrated into the native software environment [such as SharePoint, Blackboard, Moodle, Sakai, or Drupal].

"What we realise is that while other people have video players and have been more established in the European market, no-one is providing a truly flexible, open solution."

Kaltura's solution is the Campus Tube, part of the Cross Campus Media Suite, designed by Belsky and already deployed at 13 U.S. higher education institutes, including Yale, Stanford, and the State Univesity of New York.

In Europe, the solution is implemented at Durham University, National University of Ireland in Galway, Copenhagen Business School, and the Danish State University.

"Kaltura started exploring the U.K. market a year ago with a few sales consultants. Given the rapid growth and potential we saw, we decided to invest heavily in Europe with a full operational and sales team," Belsky explains.

London was chosen as the new headquarters because "we needed to be in a city connected to all the main industries in which we work, and we needed to be in a city that has the delivery and technical base that we need to expand our community."

Kaltura is also set to release a new suite of end-user analytics tools which Belsky describes as "the most advanced video analytics on the market specifically able to assess productivity and performance."

Belsky has been at Kaltura since 2008 and was previously a founding member of Noank Media. She sits on the board of Public Knowledge, an organisation dedicated to freedom on the internet. 

In related news: E-commerce group Groupon is to use Kaltura's enterprise platform to step up the company's training programme, internal collaboration, and communication for 12,000 employees worldwide.

"Kaltura's enterprise video solutions allow us to reduce the cost of training, increase workforce productivity, and engage employees both on a professional and social level," says Alan McIntosh, chief information officer for Groupon. "People have widely adopted online video outside the office, and are ready and willing to do so at work. As an international company, the ability to communicate face-to-face is invaluable."

Copenhagen Business School

Kaltura's Campus Tube, used by the Copenhagen Business School.

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