RealTime IT News

Streaming What? Say 31 Percent of U.K. Companies

[London, ENGLAND] According to a recent survey by Reed Exhibition Companies Ltd., an astonishing 31 percent of U.K. businesses are not familiar with the term "streaming media," even though 92 percent of them expect to use it within two years.

The latest finding is one of the more curious anomalies to emerge from the small mountain of reports issued by researchers each year into the European communications industry. It was published in support of the e-CAST 2001 streaming media conference, to be held May 21-23, in London.

However, the actual extent of corporate ignorance is probably much higher than even these figures suggest. Reed took a sample of 1,259 companies that were already involved in either broadcasting or e-commerce -- companies that are among the "most likely to know" about streaming media. It is certain, says Reed, that the ignorance of the general business community will be much higher.

British businesses have been enthusiastic users of all forms of audio visual for many decades, but the recent findings indicate that today's technology has progressed too far, too fast for most people in business to keep up with it.

After all, just look at the agenda -- also discovered by Reed in its survey.

45 percent of U.K. businesses say they want to implement Web conferencing. (Get on with it, Jones!) 41 percent plan to implement e-learning. 63 percent want to put e-commerce into action. (Another job for you, Jones!) And 45 percent intend to implement Web casting.

With all the activity that is supposed to take place in the next few years, it is not surprising that a lot of people are looking for more information about all these applications.

Kevin Quinn chief executive of Servecast.com, a European provider of streaming media delivery and hosting services, said the information seekers were quite right in their quest, as streaming media has huge potential to enhance their communications activities.

Quinn pointed to the example of e-tailing Web site Vacuum Cleaners Direct -- one of the largest operations of its kind in the U.K. He said that there had been a fourfold increase in the number of purchases made by consumers after the site introduced online product demonstrations using Servecast.com's video and audio streaming technology.

In the U.K., vendors may well find the B2B market for streaming media more receptive than B2C, given that relatively few consumers have access to broadband.

Organizers of e-CAST 2001 claim it will be Europe's largest springtime meeting point for the media communications industry.