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Introducing Panopto 4.6

Today we’re announcing the latest update to our video platform.  Panopto 4.6 includes a major update to the video search engine, a new way to add custom branding to your video portal, and the first release of Panopto Mobile for Android.

In the video below, Eric Burns talks about these new features and our design goals for the release.

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Smart Search – Find Anything Inside Your Videos

We’ve all become accustomed to searching for digital content – We search the web, we search through our email, we search the content of our documents.

But the way we search video content is broken.

Today we can find videos based on their title, a short description, and in some cases, manually-entered tags. And that’s where video search ends.  There’s no easy way to find content inside videos, like words that are mentioned by a speaker or displayed on their screen.

So if you’ve got a 75-minute employee town hall recording, and you just need to watch the three-minute segment where your VP talks about customer satisfaction survey results, the only way to find it is by hunting and pecking.  Same goes for the student who has an hour-long biology lecture video, and needs to review the short section where the professor discusses cytoplasm structure.

Now take that problem of finding content within an individual video and multiply it by ten thousand – the number of videos in Microsoft’s internal knowledge sharing portal, or by eighty thousand – the number of videos University of Essex will likely record over the next year.  Businesses and universities are accumulating video at an unprecedented pace, and without a way to easily search for content within massive video libraries, these otherwise valuable digital assets will be relegated to undiscoverable “archival content.”

In the latest update to Panopto, this is one of the challenges we aim to address – the last-mile problem of searching within video.

We do this with a technology that we call Smart Search.  Smart Search automatically indexes the content inside your videos, including:

  • Words mentioned by speakers

  • Words shown on-screen during screencasts

  • Words that are part of PowerPoint presentations (including speaker notes)

  • Words shown anywhere else in your recordings (e.g. text on a white board)

This allows anyone to find any word mentioned or shown in any video across their organization’s entire video library, and fast forward to that precise moment in the video. Smart Search works with existing recordings that you upload into your video library and new videos you record with Panopto.  And you can use Smart Search from any web browser, from the Panopto mobile apps for iPad and iPhone, and from our new Android app.

Smart Search provides businesses with a new way to use video for knowledge sharing, and universities with a new tool for aiding student retention and achievement.

A Custom Video Portal in Less than 60 Seconds

Many of the businesses and universities we work with want their internal video portal to reflect their brand identity.  This includes placement of their logo in relevant parts of the user experience, as well as updates to the color scheme to reflect brand guidelines.

The challenge is that, in many cases, organizations don’t have in-house web design and development expertise to write custom the CSS that tailors the look and feel of the video portal.  Ideally, the administrator who oversees the deployment and ongoing management of the site should also be able to customize the site without design experience or outside resources.

So in today’s product update, we’re launching a new customization feature that allows you to tailor the look and feel of your video portal in under a minute.  Simply upload four different sizes of your logo, pick an accent color, and you’re done.  Panopto will customize your video portal page, interactive video player, embedded video player, and controls across your video library to reflect your brand identity.

And what if your primary brand color is lemon chiffon (#FFFACD) or honeydew (#F0FFF0)? No problem. We have a patent-pending algorithm that adjusts site colors to ensure that text on the site is readable and that contrast throughout the user experience looks good.

Native Android App

Since we launched our native mobile apps for iPad and iPhone, we’ve gotten great feedback from customers who are using them to search and watch their organizations’ videos from anywhere.

As the number of Android users within businesses and universities has continued to grow, we’ve also received great questions from customers about the availability of a native Android app.

So today, we’re excited to announce the first release of Panopto Mobile for Android.  The app is available in the Play Store, and works on Android tablets and smartphones.

With Panopto Mobile, you can search across your organization’s video library and inside recordings for specific content.  You can watch videos using the interactive tablet viewer or the lightweight smartphone viewer, you can follow along with closed captions, and you can navigate using the built-in table of contents and thumbnails.

Additional Improvements Across the Video Platform

In addition to Smart Search, custom branding, and the Android app, we’ve made additional updates across the platform based on customer feedback. These include:

  • A redesigned interactive video player

  • Autoplay, autobuffering, and HTML5 fallback for the embedded video player

  • A new interface for configuring site settings

  • A new alerting system for system administrators and users

  • Google analytics support for on-premises and hosted customers

  • Improved integration with Blackboard

If you’re interested in learning about how Panopto can help your organization use video for learning and communication, contact our team to request a free trial of our software.