Today, businesses have everything they need to significantly improve the way their people communicate — they just don’t know it yet.
From presentations and peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, to formal training and executive communications — even flipped meetings and performance reviews that are sent over distance — the possibilities for enhancing employee learning and internal communications are nearly unlimited … once the challenges of video are overcome.
The path to effective video use, however, has already been drawn. Businesses can look to today’s leading universities for examples of how to leverage video in the workplace — and for best practices to solving the challenges of producing videos at scale.
In this space we’ve already looked into how universities have learned to solve 3 technical challenges to using video — today, we’re looking at the other side of organizational video, to see how academia has learned how to approach common hurdles to producing and using video at scale, including:
- The hardware issue. Universities have discovered how to successfully do away with expensive A/V equipment and personnel—without compromising video quality
- The perspective problem. Universities have learned how to record video from multiple locations and sources, easily blending them together into a single unified presentation
- Live learning scalability struggles. Universities are able to increase or reduce their video platform usage to accommodate changing needs
- The video search problem. Universities provide their users with a way to keyword search across the video library as well as within individual videos, greatly increasing discoverability
Let’s again take a deeper look into each.
Challenge #1: The Hardware Issue
The first challenge to maintaining an effective, efficient video platform is this: specialized A/V hardware — the kind of hardware traditionally required for video creation such as professional video cameras and microphones — is expensive. And even for companies with the budget to purchase all that equipment and maintain a dedicated A/V team, that “specialist-required” video creation model is still nearly impossible to scale to meet the needs of larger and geographically dispersed organizations.
The good news is that today, most companies already have almost all of the hardware they need to create high quality, highly reliable videos — they just don’t know it yet.
How can this be? These days, software running on any laptop can do what only dedicated appliances could do in the past. Webcams offer 1080p recording and even the smartphones carried around in everyone’s pockets shoot incredibly high quality video. The hardware companies already have available is ready to replace most of that specialized A/V equipment for almost every organizational video use case — as soon as the right software solution is in place.
Solution: Simple Hardware, Powerful Software
At The American University in Cairo, there are no camcorders, no fancy microphones, no A/V team. Yet 139 of the professors there record their lectures in full for students to review on demand. That’s the modern state of lecture capture, and some university administrators believe that soon, it will no longer be an interesting trend — it’ll be the norm.
Businesses, too, are catching on. Sales demonstrations, in-class training sessions, and face-to-face meetings are routinely recorded, automatically uploaded to the video platform and available immediately for review. Remote employees are able to catch up easily, while employees that were there can experience it again. Sales teams use the videos to review their performance, new employees use it for onboarding and training purposes, and all employees use it as a central knowledge base, both creating their own videos and watching those made by their peers.
The best part: you can do it all with a standard laptop, its onboard webcam, and an enterprise video platform software — no special AV expertise required.
One global industrial engineering firm has already put this best practice to use, using the company’s Panopto video platform to record a full 3-day, 30+ session training conference this way. With only a webcam, a mic, and their presenters’ own laptops, the company captured more than 30 original, high-quality videos, all with notes, slides, and indexed content, and — and made them all available for employees to view on-demand within one week of the event closing.
All told, the firm reports the solution was both dramatically faster and significantly more affordable than its previous practice of contracting with AV production specialists. In fact, the first implementation of this “lecture capture for training events” process was so successful, the company was named a 2014 CIO 100 Award winner for innovation, and has made recording with its video platform the company’s standard approach for capturing internal events.
Challenge #2: The Perspective Problem
The second major challenge of video has to do with the complexity of the recording process itself.
Until now, recording even a simple training course or presentation was difficult, expensive and time-consuming — particularly if you wanted to record multiple viewpoints (a slide deck, a presenter, and don’t forget the whiteboard!). Then, once the video was recorded, editing, formatting, and processing it could take weeks to complete and usually required an experienced videographer.
Solution: Multi-Camera and Distributed Recording
So how have schools overcome this issue? “Distributed recording” or “multi-camera recording,” facilitated by a video platform.
Multi-camera recording is, quite simply, exactly what is sounds like. Some video platforms enable users to connect multiple video recording devices to a single laptop — allowing one camera to capture the speaker, another to focus on a whiteboard, still another to show a demonstration, and the video platform itself to record the slides or other information shown on the laptop screen. The platform automatically syncs all those video streams, and can allow viewers to switch between them as they play back the recording.
For larger spaces where it may be impractical (or downright impossible) to connect every camera to one laptop, distributed recording offers another solution.
With distributed recording, two or more separate laptops or mobile devices can each record separate video streams into the same recording. All feeds are then automatically uploaded to the video platform immediately following the presentation where they’re synchronized. With distributed recording, the two videos being recorded know about each other even though they’re not wired together. The end result is seamless — viewers can see both video streams in a video presentation. And it all happens automatically, with no post-production required.
Watch a multi-camera video recorded with Panopto:
At Aberystwyth University in the UK, professors record their own lectures using their own laptops. Instructors are able to integrate PowerPoint slides, web content, photos—anything they want to present along with the lecture.
In the early days, noted Nigel Thomas, desktop services technical support team leader for Aberystwyth University, “We had a number of academic staff members that were requesting us to record events and we would record the audio from the event. We’d then have to get the PowerPoint slides and use another product to marry the audio and slides. That was a very time consuming and resource-heavy prospect. It was not scalable at all.” Today, lecture capture at the school is a simple matter of pressing a “record” button on a laptop — the school’s Panopto video platform takes care of recording anything and everything from there.
Challenge #3: Live Learning Scalability Struggles
While webinar solutions may work well for real-time interactive discussions involving small groups, caps on the available number attendees can create real issues with scalability. Organizations looking to host large-scale live web events involving thousands or tens of thousands of viewers need a different solution.
Solution: Live Webcasting Technology
The solution many universities have found to this dilemma is live webcasting. While webcasting doesn’t allow the same level of two-way interaction as webinars do, it does allow for sharing of a live stream to virtually any size audience — even tens or hundreds of thousands.
Webcasting allows organizations to broadcast live video over the internet, offering a tool to supplement existing webinars and reach a significantly larger audience. For schools, it’s the perfect solution to streaming symposiums, conferences, and sporting events. Many businesses are finding it’s likewise a smart way to share training sessions, expert panels, industry events, and investor relations calls too.
Best of all, webcasting is easy. With Panopto, there’s no separate webcasting workflow — anyone recording a video is able to simply click “Record and Webcast” from their recorder window and share a live webcast with any audience they choose.
Challenge #4: The Video Search Problem
The final challenge is a straightforward one: Most video is impossible to search. Most video platforms are limited to indexing only metadata like titles and descriptions manually added after a recording is uploaded — not the actual content spoken or shown in the video. Any detail not noted in that additional metadata is lost to search — and becomes essentially invisible.
This is a challenge felt especially in university and corporate settings. Often these organizations record 30 or 60 minutes of video or more, covering dozens of details and ideas. In those cases, it’s essential to provide students with a means to search for a specific 2-minute segment they may need in order to review for a test.
Solution: Comprehensive Video Content Search
Today modern video platforms are solving the problem of video search.
Panopto’s Smart Search video search engine peers into the actual content of each recording, and indexes every word spoken, every word that appears on-screen, and every word included in presentation slides, speakers notes, viewer comments, and manual metadata. The platform indexes every video in every video library, whether or not it was recorded with Panopto, and timestamps each item so that users can instantly fast-forward to the specific, relevant moments they searched for.
Inside-video search means that every training video a company ever records, as well as any video they record in the future, will be fully searchable — without asking presenters to do anything more than click “record.”
See inside video search in action in the video below:
Employees can search a library of thousands of videos for any keyword they like and then, with a single click, jump to the precise moment in any video in which the speaker has mentioned the phrase. Put simply: comprehensive video content search enables viewers to search video the same way they do the Internet.
Learn More About The Scalable Video Solutions Businesses Are Borrowing From Universities
In our latest white paper, Seven Things Businesses Can Learn From Universities About Video, we describe the seven challenges corporations face when searching for an efficient, effective platform for their video content management needs — and the solutions universities have found to them all:
- Challenge #1: The Hardware Issue
- Challenge #2: The Perspective Problem
- Challenge #3: Video Storage Chaos
- Challenge #4: File Incompatibility Frustrations
- Challenge #5: Bandwidth Capacity Concerns
- Challenge #6: Live Learning Scalability Struggles
- Challenge #7: The Video Search Problem