When it comes to your organization’s video technology, are you choosing what your team uses? Or is your video technology forcing your hand?
Professional video used to have no end of requirements. Specific cameras with specific cables, connected to specific mixers and specific converters before they could be housed on specific servers, accessed on specific networks, downloaded in specific formats, and played on specific devices.
Use the wrong hardware on any one of those steps, and the whole process would fail.
Fortunately, requirements-driven recording is on its way out. Flexible, software-based video solutions like Panopto are freeing organizations to record with any camera that can be plugged into any laptop, search and share recordings online from any web browser, and watch their recordings on-demand anywhere, relying on the system to optimize formats and bitrates to meet the needs of each specific user, their device, and their web connection speed.
We built Panopto to enable schools and businesses to make their own video technology choices — your cameras and microphones, your laptops and mobile devices, your LMS, CMS, and CRM solutions, even your WAN optimization strategies. Panopto is designed to adapt.
And so, this week we were excited to see Gartner Research release two new reports advising readers to expect flexibility in their video investments, and to insist that those technologies connect with and support the rest of the organization’s IT architecture rather than creating a new silo of data.
Of course, we were also thrilled to be named a Selected Vendor in both those new reports.
Post-secondary academic institutions have perhaps more experience with video than any other industry. Colleges and universities have been relying on video to record and share their professors’ lectures with their students for more than a decade. In that time, the expectations for lecture capture have increased considerably, and new teaching strategies like the flipped classroom, MOOCs, and student recordings have all tapped into at least a part of that video functionality.
Early iterations of campus video often involved hard-wired camcorders and physical DVDs — but much has changed in a decade.
After years of reviewing the ROI and adoption of a variety of hardware-based lecture capture and campus video solutions, the Gartner Research IT Market Clock for Higher Education, 2015 makes a rather bold pronouncement:
“We believe that the growth of software-based (as opposed to hardware-based) lecture capture will help drive adoption and ultimately lower costs.”
This is the first report in which Gartner Research has made this statement in so many words. Factoring into that prediction, the report adds, is an increase in the use of “personal and consumer solutions” by faculty for recording. Professors, it seems, feel more confident when they can use their own iPad or personal camcorder to record a lecture, rather than learn a new piece of hardware. But as Gartner notes, “This focus on personal tools makes it even more important for institutions to implement good content management systems or SaaS that can handle storage, indexing and retrieval.”
We couldn’t agree more with Gartner’s assessment.
At Panopto, our customers tell us time and again that recording flexibility is essential — they want to be able to make their own decisions about how to produce video, and rely on the system to support them.
For recording, that means enabling faculty to record with anything — be it the institution’s hardware, or another device of the professor’s choosing. That’s why Panopto was designed to record with any video device you can plug into a computer — and can even record with multiple cameras simultaneously. In a “bring your own recording device” world, Panopto makes capturing video as easy as plug-and-play.
Of course, once the professor’s recording is complete, Panopto is just getting started. Our video platform automatically uploads every recording to a central video library (you can even upload videos not recorded with Panopto, in virtually any format), where they are transcoded for optimal playback on any device, indexed so every word spoken or shown can be searched, and stored securely so they can be shared only with the intended audience.
Where all that happens, though, is up to the institution. Panopto can be deployed on-premises, in a private cloud, or as part of our own hosted cloud — or even a combination of sites to further optimize performance, quality, and cost.
As the Gartner team concludes, today the practical benefits of lecture capture are becoming well understood, and “improved scores, improved retention, convenience and a new option for students to make up for planned or unplanned absences.”
As lecture capture becomes commonplace in post-secondary settings, schools and universities need to look for a solution like Panopto that can enable lecture capture at scale.
Whereas schools and universities have had proven use cases for organizational video for a decade or more, video platform adoption in the enterprise only began to accelerate a few years ago.
Like the tides, however, one shouldn’t confuse the timing of the change for the scope. Consumer video has reshaped virtually the entire internet, from front-end content types to back-end bandwidth needs. Now that same trend is rising in the enterprise.
In its IT Market Clock for Enterprise Video, 2015, Gartner Research moves video content management from the early adopter “Advantage” stage into the early mainstream “Choice” stage. The shift is significant, reflecting the analyst’s belief that the technology “has established a compelling value proposition and can sustain continued growth.”
For video content management, that value is widespread. “Enterprises use video content management to stabilize their video messaging for training, executive messaging, and customer or prospect communications,” Gartner reports. As users continue to adopt video, “it will become an effective hypermedium, inspired by Web mashup sensibilities.”
However, not just any video implementation will successfully deliver value. In the report, the Gartner team identifies two areas for IT leaders to consider carefully any video investment: network optimization and search federation.
Once again, we find ourselves in complete agreement with the Gartner team.
Here at Panopto, we believe organizational video is only valuable if your people can actually find and play it.
Video and Network Optimization
Video has historically been a challenge for corporate wide area networks (WANs). As more people begin relying on video at work, legacy network architectures are seeing more and more bandwidth used for video delivery — potentially degrading video playback quality, and more pressingly, other mission-critical processes and programs.
That’s why Panopto was the first video platform built from the ground-up for Modern Streaming, using HLS for video capture, live streaming, and on-demand distribution, and enabling organizations to efficiently deliver video using existing network infrastructure. It’s also why we’ve partnered with Kollective to deliver a best-of-breed, software-based intranet video solution for businesses and universities. Your video platform should work for your company, not drain your existing resources.
Video and Search Indexing
Likewise, searching video has historically been a challenge not just inside the enterprise, but everywhere. Most platforms relied on manually entered metadata like titles and descriptions — workable perhaps for cat videos on YouTube, but far from sufficient for finding relevant moments in hour-long town halls or 3-day sales training seminars.
Panopto’s solved that challenge with the industry’s most comprehensive video search capabilities — we call it Smart Search. Smart Search indexes every word spoken or shown on screen in every video in your library (even if it wasn’t recorded with Panopto), and enables your team members to instantly fast forward to a relevant moment whenever they need.
As Gartner writes, “Making video easier to locate will boost the use of nontextual elements in training and communications in the enterprise.” Planning for video searchability, then, should be considered a key part of planning for enterprise video in general. Yet video search shouldn’t begin and end inside the video platform — a video recording is, after all, just another form of content, and content should be universally searchable. Gartner’s report nods to this future, noting “Enterprise search will ultimately subsume video search.”
A future where any employee searching in any internal system can find a relevant video among their full list of results is exactly why Panopto’s Smart Search results can be syndicated to any application that supports the OpenSearch standard. OpenSearch is a collection of simple formats for describing and sharing search results. The standard is supported by leading enterprise collaboration software like Jive, learning management systems like Moodle and Blackboard, and by popular content management systems including SharePoint, WordPress, and Drupal. OpenSearch is also supported in major web browsers, enabling Panopto customers to search their video content directly from the address bar in Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.
Modern video platforms like Panopto are helping organizations shift their video technology from the domain of specialists to simple software that’s available on every desktop. And that, in turn, is helping businesses and academic institutions improve the way they teach, train, present, and communicate.