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E&Y Sails On Kontiki's Platform

Business meetings can be so boring -- the same old conference tables, the same old dry-erase boards. Even online meeting applications such as WebEx aren't as interactive as they could be. Video, however, is another story entirely. It engages, enraptures, and entertains. It's also not as expensive as many businesses think.

This is the business model behind Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Kontiki, a video-on-demand company that launched the latest version of its end-to-end communication technology this week. Through its flagship product called Delivery Management System 3.0, the company relies on the latest grid computing technology to enable customers to create and deliver business video on demand to employees and customers. Already, big-name companies such as accounting giant Ernst & Young, Adobe , Autodesk , and Palm have signed up.

"[We are] fundamentally changing the economics of video usage in the enterprise," said Mike Homer, Kontiki CEO. "Our customers can now afford to educate and inform their employees using video, which is significantly more effective than written documents...in business communication."

The Kontiki approach takes the rapidly growing consumer-oriented video-on-demand trend and applies it to the business world. By harnessing the power of unused processor cycles on client networks, the company is able to create extra bandwidth for its video from pre-existing PCs and servers, allowing enterprises to deliver full-screen video and other rich media effectively and at a significant cost savings.

Grid computing also gives Kontiki the capability to divvy up bandwidth as necessary. Through a technology known as Flexible Grid Management, the company can optimize local network resources at a regional outpost or branch office to deliver full-screen video without network upgrades. Customers even have the option of controlling which grids within a group of federated grids that users can access -- enabling IT managers to push targeted content delivery to specific user groups in a process called "narrowcasting."

According to Lawrence Orans, principal analyst at Gartner Research in Stamford, Conn., these applications demonstrate that the grid computing model is both worthwhile and cost-effective.

"So far, the biggest barrier to the adoption of business video has been the lack of a network infrastructure that can deliver video in a bandwidth-efficient manner," he said. "Grid computing [provides that infrastructure] efficiently and effectively."

As part of its complete video solutions, Kontiki also recently launched a consulting arm dubbed Business Media Services. Through this component of its business, Kontiki helps customers define objectives, inventory existing media, and develop execution strategies to utilize it. The company also provides surveying and reporting tools to measure results, and assists customers in setting up self-service video production studios so they can film videos on their own.