Internet will continue to feel video’s impact

The holiday break is behind us and enterprise IT departments are fully back into the swing of things, looking forward to another fun-filled year of IT challenges and wondering what technologies will hold the keys to business success in 2007. One such technology that the IT world can expect to hear much more about in the coming months will be IP video.

Web sites such as Youtube and Yahoo and Google’s video sections are proving that — finally — the video component of the familiar voice, data and video concept is deserving to be mentioned in the same breath as the others.

In previous years, network bandwidth simply wasn’t wide enough to allow the smooth flow of the intensive traffic that characterizes video. It was usually delivered in a choppy style, the result of countless dropped packets on the way from server to desktop. While it was OK for the Web pages of home users or in other situations where a business’s reputation wasn’t on the line, the thought of using video to any large extent in a corporate setting was not given serious consideration.

The world at the beginning of 2007 is a different place, however. Without warning, sometime in the recent past, the bandwidth has caught up to the application in a big way, to the point where video has become a mainstay of the present Internet. We can expect this trend to continue, with the Net taking on a decidedly more animated look as companies and organizations of all sizes decide that talking heads are better than static ones.

The spread of video won’t be limited simply to corporate marketing tools or the increased sophistication of sites like Youtube, either. IT managers can expect to see the further spread of video traffic into spam e-mail messages, as fraudsters and other troublemakers clog networks with embedded videos. Don’t think for a moment that spammers aren’t plotting ways to deploy all kinds of irritating and offensive video spam messages, similar to the text- and image-based ones they’ve already inflicted upon the world’s networks.

We knew that, eventually, the technological limitations that were preventing video from becoming an integral part of the online experience would disappear, allowing this type of traffic to redefine what it means to access the Internet. Observers can now expect the advances made around video in 2007 to give us a clearer picture of just what that experience will be like — for better or worse.

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