Introducing Panopto 4.1 – New Features and Improvements

Today we shipped Panopto 4.1—the latest release of our media capture and management tools. This release includes some of the most requested features from our academic and corporate customers, as well as improvements across the board to usability and performance. The new features and improvements you’ll find in Panopto 4.1 generally fall into one the following categories:

  1. New ways to record content – A new app for iPhones and iPads, student recording functionality, multi-monitor support, and compatibility with more video capture hardware give you new ways to record presentations, lectures, demos, and events.
  2. Integration with a wider range of systems – Basic LTI, improved Active Directory integration, and support for new media formats enable you to integrate Panopto with more learning management systems (LMS), corporate back-ends, and existing media.
  3. New management tools – Usage monitoring, activity logging, on-demand Unison licensing, and support for batch user operations provide more control and oversight for people administering Panopto installations onsite and in the cloud.

Whether you’re a university professor looking for ways to increase student engagement, a marketer in search of a tool to enhance your corporate communications, a training professional looking for an e-learning solution, or an IT administrator in search of an easy, cost-effective software for media management, Panopto 4.1 has something for you.

New ways to record:  The Panopto iOS app,student recording, and multi-screen support

More and more people are using phones and tablets to view and record multimedia.  So as part of Panopto 4.1, we’re shipping an iOS app.  The app makes it easy to view and search Panopto content on your iPhones and iPads, and allows you to record Panopto content using the built-in camera on your iOS device.  The app also allows you to take notes on your device during a presentation, and have them automatically synchronized with the recording.  The iOS app is great for viewing lectures and presentations while you’re away from your laptop, or for recording quick ad hoc videos to share with an audience—be it your class, co-workers, or a public audience on the web.  You can expect to see the iOS app in the App Store in the days ahead.

Panopto 4.1 iOS App

The Panopto iOS app – Login screen, session list, and recorder

Another highly-requested recording feature is the ability for students to record and submit Panopto content. In our 4.1 release, we’re delivering on this request with student recording support.  Student recording is a great way to make assignments more interactive and engaging—enabling students to submit multimedia assignments individually or in teams.  Recording can be done on a Mac, Windows PC, or on an iPhone or iPad using the new iOS recorder.  Once a student has submitted a recording, it resides in a secure “drop box” that other students can’t see or modify, but that the instructor can view in order to provide feedback directly within the notes section of the recording.  As with all Panopto recordings, the instructor’s notes are synchronized with the video, so students can see precisely where in their presentation the instructor is providing feedback.

For customers looking to capture screen content from multiple screens simultaneously, Panopto 4.1 now includes multi-monitor support.  This is useful in situations where a speaker wants to record “Presenter View” in Microsoft PowerPoint™, or when multiple monitors are being used to show complex information, such as financial charts or clinical data.

Capture multiple screens simultaneously in Panopto 4.1

We’re also often asked about our support for HDMI capture hardware, such as Blackmagic Design’s Intensity series and AVerMedia’s AverTV line.  In the 4.1 release, we now support both.  This means that organizations can now use Panopto to get high-quality HDMI capture from a broader range of low-cost recording appliances.

Integration with a wider range of systems: Instructure, Desire2Learn, Sakai, and Active Directory

One of the biggest goals of the 4.1 release was to support integration with additional learning management systems (LMS) and corporate back-end systems.

To that end, we’ve implemented support for an industry standard called Basic Learning Tools Interoperability, or “Basic LTI.”  Basic LTI allows you to connect Panopto to a variety of LMSs, including Instructure, Desire2Learn, and Sakai.  For faculty and students, this means that you’ll be able to see and access your Panopto content directly from within your LMS without the need to login separately to Panopto.  And for IT administrators, Basic LTI provides the benefits of an open standards-based implementation.

Panopto 4.1 also includes improved support for Active Directory (AD) integration.  If you’re one of the many corporations or universities using AD for authentication, and are interested in using Panopto as a cloud-hosted solution, you can now integrate hosted Panopto and your AD installation without the need for a Virtual Private Network (VPN).  This was a big request from many of our corporate customers, as it allows them to get the cost and scale benefits of cloud-hosted Panopto without sacrificing tight integration with an on-premises AD installation.

In addition to new back-end integration with Basic LTI and Active Directory, Panopto 4.1 allows you to integrate new media formats into your library.  If you have existing media recorded as GoToMeeting, MPEG2 (widely used for digital television and DVD video), or 3GP formats (used on 3G phones), these recordings can now be imported and stored within Panopto, or remixed with other Panopto content.

Better Management Support: Usage monitoring, activity logging, and more

Finally, for IT administrators, we’ve included a number of new features in 4.1 that make it easier to manage your Panopto installation—on premises and in the cloud:

  • Usage monitoring allows you to view your organization’s usage statistics for a cloud-hosted Panopto installation.  This includes hours of content viewed, hours recorded, and hours transcribed.
  • Activity logging gives you a simplified view of all changes made to sessions and folders on your Panopto installation.
  • On-demand Unison licensing removes the burden of manually granting new Unison licenses.
  • And support for batch user operations allows you to add new users to the system in bulk.

But Wait, There’s More As with every release, there are a variety of other features and improvements we’ve made across the board that don’t fit neatly into our big design goals for the release, but are worth mentioning nonetheless.  Here’s a short-list of some other great features in our 4.1 release:

  • Playback speed adjustment – This enables you to watch Panopto recordings at up to 2x their normal speed, getting through lectures and presentations in half the time. Speed can also be slowed down, which our customers have told us is helpful in environments where English isn’t the primary language of the viewer.
  • Web page embedding – Almost anything that can be rendered on a web page can now be incorporated into a Panopto recording.  This enables teachers and trainers, for example, to embed an interactive quiz directly within the Panopto viewer.
  • Hotkey support – Last but not least, you can now use F8, F9, and F10 to record, pause, and play the Panopto recorder.

If you’re an existing Panopto customer, thank you for the feedback that drove the development of our 4.1 release.  If you’re not a Panopto customer, but interested in learning more about our solutions for lecture capture, media capture, and media management, contact us today.

Published: January 17, 2012