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OPINION DECEMBER 20 , 2000
Guest Opinion: FireWire Opened the Door for Faster, Better Business Communications

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Kathleen Maher, editor-in-chief of Peddie Associates, emphasizes that it is applications like these that will drive desktop video production from a niche market to a widely used means of business communications. While she firmly believes that Apple established desktop video—just as they did desktop publishing—it is already beyond a given computer platform and will be quickly used to improve business collaboration, corporate communications and training and long-distance learning.

VHS to MPEG conversion
Individuals and businesses now have many of the fixtures and capabilities that were previously only available to Hollywood technicians. As a result, organizations are editing, authoring and rejuvenating their VHS videos to today's new MPEG formats. Once the post production work is done with iMovie, Final Cut Pro or any of the growing number of third-party products on the market, users are storing the videos on CD-R, DVD-R or DVD-RAM media.

While most organizations focus their attention on theater-quality DVD storage solutions that provide two hours of MPEG-2 video storage, most personal and professional video is 30 minutes to one hour in length. Today's cheap 700 MB CD-R discs when used with higher-performance CD-RW drives, such as LaCie's 16x10x40x drives, can easily store an hour of VHS-quality video and nearly 30 minutes of DVD-quality video.

It costs almost nothing to copy the videos and provide them to employees to study or to send to customers to assist them with installation, operation and maintenance training.

In addition, one of the key benefits of the new MPEG formats is that they are very bandwidth-conservative. As a result they can be easily sent across the Internet. Apple's newest breed of dual-processor Power Mac G4 and Power Mac G4 Cube systems are excellent video servers.

Video hosting will grow
In 2001 we believe video hosting in the applications services arena and business communities will grow dramatically as organizations broaden their use of video-based education and information exchange. Whether organizations use departmental solutions such as LaCie's Network CD/DVD tower or larger, higher-capacity CD/DVD libraries for enterprise-wide applications, video will become increasingly important.

While the driving force for the digital video universe will be the living and family room, it will be video on demand that will have the greatest impact and the greatest return on investment for organizations. Previously only video technicians tackled the task of converting videos to the new digital format and returning them to shelves. But now with a little bit of practice any Mac user can take the best of existing videos, add in updated or improved segments, cut and paste the segments together and produce exciting, informative and entertaining mini-movies.

Whether it is simply stored on disc and shipped to someone or distributed across the Internet, it is now practical.

Products like the iMac, G3, G4, iMovie and Final Cut Pro clearly set the wheels in motion for today's multi-million dollar desktop video market. But let's not forget that it all started with an innocuous little cross-platform high-speed serial data bus connector called FireWire.

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Guillaume Mazieres Vice President of Marketing at LaCie Ltd. Mazieres assumed his new position with LaCie in October, 2000 to head up the marketing and sales activities in North Americas following five years of increasing success and responsibility with the international storage and digital video peripherals firm. He joined LaCie in 1995 after serving as business development director for Absolut Design, often considered Europe's first Internet startup. Initially a U.K. sales representative for the firm, he later became national accounts manager before moving to LaCie Spain as sales manager and ultimately general manager. In 1999 he moved to LaCie Canada as managing director responsible for the marketing, sales and support activities for Canada and Northeastern United States. Mazieres has a masters degree in management from Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Toulouse. He can be reached at [email protected].

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