The Easiest Way to Programmatically Centralize and Search Your Video Content

In the past few years, there’s been a shift in the problems organizations face when working with video.

It wasn’t long ago that capturing business or education video required complex AV hardware and professional services.  The central challenge of working with video then was in the expense and time associated with video recording. The result was that not much video actually got captured.

Those days have come and gone.  The commoditization of HD cameras in the form of webcams, smart phones, and tablets, and the rise of easy-to-use video capture software, have made video content increasingly pervasive across businesses and universities.

Now, the challenge is in centralizing all of those videos, and making all of the valuable information inside them easily discoverable.

This week, I sat down with Eric Burns to discuss new functionality that Panopto just added to our developer platform – the upload API.  The goal of the upload API, and our developer platform more broadly, is to provide businesses and universities with the easiest way to programmatically centralize, manage, and search all of their video assets.  For more on the topic, check out the 5-minute conversation.

Why is the new upload API a significant milestone for our video platform?

As business and universities continue generating new video at an exponential rate, the most pressing challenge is in extracting valuable information from those recordings through video search.

To do that, you first need to centralize your video assets into a single repository, and that’s where the upload API comes into play.

Most organizations have videos scattered across file shares, SharePoint sites, FTP servers, employee hard drives, and mobile devices.  Panopto provides a number of ways to get these videos into our video content management system (VCMS).  However, until recently, it’s been a bit more difficult for developers to upload videos programmatically.

So we set out to build the easiest API for importing content.  The new upload API is built on the Amazon S3 transmission protocol which is a widely used, well-documented, extremely reliable protocol for transferring large files like videos.  This allows developers to build workflows that import video into Panopto with just a few lines of code.  And because the API is REST-based, developers can use any programming language in widespread use to do it.

What are some concrete examples of how the upload API would be used by a business or university?

The two key scenarios that we hear about most often from customers are bulk import or migration of an existing video archive, and integrating video upload into an existing content workflow.

Bulk import or migration – Organizations increasingly have silos of video content that they’re looking to centralize in a single repository.  The upload API can be used to a create a program that takes these disparate archives of video, and imports them into Panopto while preserving their organization, their metadata, and the original quality of the videos.

In some cases, customers have already centralized their video content, but into a traditional content management system (CMS) like SharePoint. Because traditional CMSs aren’t optimized for the specific needs of video, like search, analytics, and streaming, these organizations can use the upload API to extract videos from these systems and import them into Panopto.

Extending an existing video workflow – A number of customers we’ve spoken to have developed custom workflows for content that is shared across the organization.  These workflows are requirements for how their content is reviewed, approved, and distributed. Now, with the upload API, these customers can extend their existing workflows for video content – importing it into Panopto as a central location for sharing across the organization.

Whether a customer is using the upload API to import existing video archives or to extend a content workflow, it’s important to point out two additional benefits Panopto provides automatically once a video has been uploaded.

First, every video in Panopto gets indexed for search. Every word spoken and every word shown is time-stamped and added to our search index.  This enables people to search inside all of their organizational videos, and fast-forward to the precise moment where a word was mentioned.

Second, Panopto converts every video so that it can be viewed with the highest quality and greatest efficiency on any device.  So whether you’re watching the video in your desktop web browser, on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device, you’ll get a version of the video that has been optimized that for that device’s capabilities and form factor.  No more worrying about video codecs or device compatibility.

To learn more about Panopto’s video platform, and how our developer APIs can help your organization centralize and search all of your video content, contact our team for a demo, of request a free trial of our software.


Published: May 27, 2014