Illuminating Dark Data With Video Search, Analytics, and Management

There is no question—we are facing a data explosion. A recent study conducted by EMC and IDC found that the digital universe is doubling in size every two years and will multiply 10-fold between 2013 and 2020 – from 4.4 trillion gigabytes to 44 trillion gigabytes.

To keep up with that mountain of ever-increasing data and make it more accessible, organizations are increasingly centralizing data in content management systems like SharePoint. And while virtually every type of data is represented in this massive expansion, one particular area of growth is causing significant headaches for IT departments—video.

IDC now estimates that 90% of digital information created is “unstructured”—files like videos and other media that aren’t organized using pre-defined data models. Gartner believes that this unstructured data is growing at a speed 5x that of structured data.

Video has always been a significant challenge to data management, as limitations in video search capabilities can make it difficult to find content within recordings. Historically, that’s meant that if video has been saved on a SharePoint site, for example, it often still takes the form of ‘dark’—or unsearchable—data.

But is that really a business-critical problem? For more and more organizations, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Take these examples: a few years ago, Microsoft launched an “internal YouTube” that allows any employee to record their ideas and share them with co-workers. Within three years, more than 10,000 videos had been posted to the portal. Meanwhile, the University of Essex in the UK now records a staggering 80,000 hours of video annually—a practice today’s students will see as the norm as they enter the workforce. The overall trend isn’t limited to a handful of early adopters, either—by 2016, Gartner Research forecasts that every employee in every large organization will spend 45 minutes every day watching business video.

The problem cuts to the very heart of the value that data management should provide: efficiency.

Today McKinsey estimates that nearly 20% of knowledge workers’ time every week is spent just searching for information to help them do their jobs more effectively. That’s one full unproductive day every week spent searching, not working. As video becomes more and more commonplace in the enterprise, IT organizations need to find ways to manage video content and make it accessible to ensure that their businesses get the full value of information that resides in video.

To light up that dark data locked away in video, IT teams should take advantage of a new specialized tool designed to meet to the unique challenges of video — a video content management system (VCMS). Made possible only in the last decade thanks to scalable cloud storage and the continued development and commoditization of video technology, today’s VCMS options make storing, searching, and sharing video easier. Here are the characteristics of a video content management system that IT teams should look for:

Indexing Video: Video Search That Goes Beyond YouTube
If a video is valuable enough to record, it’s likely important for it to be found as well. But the current, “YouTube-style search”—which searches only for titles, tags and comments—simply isn’t good enough. In a world where business videos are 30-60 minutes long or more, such manually-entered metadata almost never captures enough indexable information to help employees find exactly the moment they were searching for.

Instead, employees need to be able to search the actual content inside the videos. Shining a light on that dark data requires a more comprehensive set of video search capabilities—one that indexes every video in full for every word spoken and every word shown on-screen, then ensuring employee efficiency by enabling the viewer to automatically fast-forward right to the relevant moment in the video. Panopto is already solving this challenge head on, providing video search technologies that even outpace Google’s.

Formatting Video: Make Videos Accessible on Any Device
As more organizations adopt a BYOD approach to smartphone, tablet, and even laptop deployments, more and more employees have come to expect to access important corporate information from a wide array of personal devices. Here too, however, video has presented a pair of challenges that have historically made life difficult for organizations hoping to offer employees easy access to internal video.

The first challenge is simply that, on average, videos files are huge. Even a 30 minute video—not uncommon for corporate presentations, training, events, etc. — can be several gigabytes in size. This makes it difficult to download on phones and tablets, particularly if they’re accessing the data over a 4G connection. A second challenge, and one that becomes more complicated with each new recording and viewing device on the market, is that not all video files aren’t compatible with every mobile device. iOS devices, for example, famously cannot view flash video.

A VCMS addresses both of these problems, offering a solution to diverse file formats that can help organizations better manage their video data. Panopto can create optimized versions of videos for mobile devices — delivering video files smaller in size, resolution, and bitrate, optimized for phones and tablets to reduce bandwidth load on corporate networks and improve the playback experience on mobile devices.

Analyzing Video: Usage Data Leads to Better Video
As businesses seek to better manage video as part of their data infrastructure, a key part of ensuring effective use is simply getting the right insights into how recordings are being viewed. Here, the specialized set of reporting and video analytics provided by a VCMS can be quite useful.

Organizations often need deeper insights into video than other data types. They want to know how many times a video was viewed and they need to know who specifically watched the video. They also need to confirm that people watched the video through to completion—especially for compliance-related video. Panopto can often provide such detailed reporting, helping organizations drive more value from their video libraries.

Integrating Video: Connecting with Existing Systems
Even though video has unique requirements, some IT organizations may not want to create another silo specifically for all their video content. It’s therefore important that a VCMS integrate video with existing corporate content management systems. Specifically, IT organizations should look for VCMSs that enable:

  • Single sign on: Employees should be able to use their existing corporate login and password to access videos stored in a VCMS
  • Integrated video playback: Videos stored in a VCMS should be embeddable for playback from an organization’s existing content management site.
  • Integrated search: Through the use of developer APIs, organizations should be able to integrate VCMS search results with the search results of their existing content management system

Video is one of the fastest-growing types of information in the enterprise. Yet for all of the video files stored and shared across corporate networks, much of this valuable information remains locked away in the form of dark data. By implementing a VCMS with comprehensive search, analytics, mobile access and integration into existing content management systems, IT can make video as easy to use as email.

This article by Panopto originally appeared in Data Center Post.

Published: July 01, 2014