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From Video Chaos to an Enterprise Video Platform (EVP)

Where do you currently store your organization’s video assets?

This is one of the first questions we ask when we meet with businesses and universities who are looking to improve their information sharing and communication using video. With few exceptions, the answer is rarely, in a centralized, searchable video library.

In most organizations, video is scattered across the internal network in silos – typically on employee laptops, network file shares, team portals, and FTP servers. As a result, the valuable information stored within the videos becomes inaccessible to the broader organization. Specifically, video silos introduce five problems for organizational communication and knowledge sharing:

  1. Discoverability – Like any other file type, when videos are spread across multiple portals, servers, and file shares, they’re nearly impossible to find.
  2. Searchability – Unlike documents, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint files, the content inside video files (the words spoken or shown in the video) isn’t inherently searchable. This makes it hard to find and fast-forward to specific topics covered within the video.
  3. Device compatibility – Even if you do find a video file, there’s no guarantee that it’ll play back on the laptop, tablet, or smartphone you happen to be using. For example, WebEx recordings (.ARF files) won’t play back without a specialized WebEx player, and iOS devices famously don’t play back Flash video.
  4. Network load – Even relatively short video files can be hundreds of megabytes in size. Network file shares and internal portals aren’t equipped to efficiently stream these files to desktops, laptops, and mobile devices, and can put additional strain on your internal network.
  5. Analytics – When video assets are scattered across your network, it’s impossible to gather insights on your most popular videos, who’s watched which videos, drop-off rates, and more.

These challenges, and the need to make video universally available, are why businesses and universities are increasingly looking to Enterprise Video Platforms (EVPs) like Panopto. With an EVP, you get a centralized repository for storing all of your video assets. EVPs overcome the challenges above by indexing the content inside videos and making them searchable, automatically transcoding videos for playback on any device, efficiently streaming videos based on network conditions, and providing insights on video viewing through reports and analytics.

When organizations deploy a video platform, one of the first steps is to import their existing videos from across the network. For small media collections, this can sometimes be accomplished manually through an EVP’s drag-and-drop upload interface. More often – particularly when an organization has hundreds or thousands of videos scattered across the network – a programmatic approach to uploading is preferable.

For this, Panopto includes a developer API for uploading media files. The REST-based API enables developers within your organization to write code in any programming language that imports video and audio files to Panopto, either one at a time or in bulk. Once files have been imported into Panopto, our video platform will store an archival copy of each file, then create copies of each file that are optimized for efficient streaming across your network for desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. In addition, with Panopto’s SmartSearch, every word spoken and shown within the imported videos can be indexed using automatic speech recognition (ASR) and optical character recognition (OCR). This makes the actual content within your videos as searchable as web pages, email or documents.

To jumpstart the process of programmatically importing videos from across your network, we recently released a new API sample on Github. The sample:

  1. Allows you to specify the source location of your video files – an internal website, FTP server, or network file share;
  2. Performs a batch upload of files stored in these locations;
  3. Includes a simple user interface for logging into your Panopto server and importing files.

The sample is written in C# with the front-end form coded in XAML. It can be downloaded from our Github share, and includes project and solution files for easily opening, editing and running from within Microsoft Visual Studio. As with all of our API samples and integration building blocks, the batch upload sample is freely available to any Panopto customer.

Once you’ve downloaded sample, simply open it in Visual Studio and press F5 to run. The form allows you to specify your Panopto server name, your username and password, and the GUID of the folder into which you want to import videos. Then, select the source of your videos, enter or select the location, and click Upload:

This app is part of a growing repository of Panopto samples that you can download and begin using to programmatically access the functionality in our video platform. If you have questions about the sample, our developer API, or about how we can help your organization use video to communicate and share knowledge more efficiently, contact our team for a free trial or demo of our software today.

Happy coding.