Archive for ‘Technology’

July 30th, 2014

O’Reilly OSCON 2014: FOSS Nerd Field Report

by Jess Portnoy

OSCON_LOGOThe O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) took place at last week at Portland, OR. Portland is a fun city, with great restaurants and bars, and surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery.

If you’re a FOSS nerd or even just getting started with Open Source, you’ll love OSCON. Kaltura has been a proud sponsor of OSCON for the 7th year.

Community Leadership Summit.
The weekend before OSCON, we’ve attended the Community Leadership Summit, or in short CLS. CLS is a 2-day UN-Conference. The goal is to share best practices and discuss the art and science of community building and nurturing.

If you haven’t been to an un-conference before, the idea is for the attendees to come up with the agenda the morning of the event. Making a collaborative, inclusive and creative gathering. Most impressing was how quickly attendees suggested sessions, creating a packed agenda within 20 minutes.

CLS was full of great sessions and I’d like to share a couple with you –

  • The first was lead by Russ Pavlicek from Xen: “Birthing a new community within an exising community”. Community managers shared their experiences expanding their communities to new groups. For example growing a developer community out of your user community. Or fostering discussion oriented communities out of a hard-core developer group. We even discussed growing adoption and participation within a religious community with local chapters.
  • Another notable session was: ‘How to keep your marketing team happy’. The discussions made me reflect on memories of conflict I had with marketing teams of previous companies I worked at. I said I am proud to be working at Kaltura where we foster an open collaboration between the Community and Marketing teams.

Check out the videos section and the forums at the CLS website to learn more and get in touch with other community leaders.

FLOSS Community Metrics Meeting.
Then we attended the first FLOSS Community Metrics Meeting. A meeting of community managers from known FOSS groups including Puppet Labs, Debian, Red Hat and others to discuss analytics and ROI of community and participation. Zohar Babin, Kaltura’s Sr. Director of Community & Ecosystem Partnerships presented the opening talk on communicating the value of participation and community work within commercial organizations, and how to avoid getting side-tracked with the data and instead, focusing on success stories and well defined project goals.

OSCON – O’Reilly Open Source Convention.
I knew OSCON was blessed by the FOSS goddess when the projector immediately connected to my laptop! See, I work with Linux exclusively, and frequently face the “battle of the projector” before presentations.

The OSCON workshop I lead was: “Debugging LAMP Apps on Linux/UNIX Using Open Source Tools“. I’ve completely broken a Linux installation, and then spent 3 hours live debugging and fixing the environment with the attendees – That was FUN! Nothing teaches you more than breaking things.

I got to exchange a lot of Production disaster recovery experiences with my fellow attendees and discuss solutions and means to avoid the fiascos in advance.
If you’d like, check out my slides:

Tweet at @jess_port01 or @kaltura and leave a comment below if you’d like to talk about the slides.

There were a lot of interesting sessions, technical and otherwise. I strongly suggest you review the session materials on http://www.oscon.com. O’reilly also recorded the sessions, so stay tuned for the VOD soon.

One special talk I’d like to highlight was by Chris Launey of Disney. Chris spoke about the challenges of DevOps where everything is always “needed yesterday”. He discussed how people often hear about “this new cool tool” and want to deploy it right away, without expressing a clear need for it. Or whether the current system can already provide the same capabilities.

Chris also gave an example of how people say “Lets install Ubuntu!” and when asked what will it enable that their current RedHat install doesn’t – there’s no concrete answer. See his session details for more.

Michael Dale, Kaltura’s Product Director of Playback and Core delivered a session titled “HTML5 Video Part Deux; New Opportunities and New Challenges”. Michael discussed the recent developments in the HTML5 standard. And explored new video experiences the new features will enable. Review his session details for more, browse the sessions slides online and tweet at @michael_dale or @kaltura for questions and followup.

As with any conference, the ‘water cooler’ conversations are equally interesting and informative. I met many fellow hard core techies. Had conversations on GCC optimizations, low level kernel changes and many other interesting topics. That was lots of fun, long live us CS nerds!

Interesting to observe was that the FOSS ecosystem had significantly grown from the “die-hard hobbyists club” to including the average user and more new business models. Nowadays, for-profit commercial projects and non-profit community driven projects co-exist in the FOSS ecosystem. And more so than ever, feed each other and promotes growth and success. Kaltura is such an example. An open source project used by many. Built and maintained by a commercial company. And in turn both the project and company benefit in more features, faster innovation, support and advocacy.

At the Kaltura booth in the exhibit hall, I came across many interesting developers and projects. Two that I think deserve an honourable mention were:

  • Aaron Wolf’s project Snowdrift.coop. A new fundraising platform in the spirit of Free, Libre and Open.
  • The other was Jim Cupples’s Ballot Path. Jim defines himself as a “social sciences nerd”. Ballot Path is allows Oregonians to learn about their elected representatives. And shows the steps one would need to take to run for office.

Both of these projects involve open source technologies, and licensed as such. Yet both are not technical projects. FOSS is not just for techies anymore. Everyone benefits from the values and practices open source presents.
I recommend reading ‘In the Beginning was the Command Line’ by Neal Stephenson. Where Stephenson discusses the contributions of the open source principles and culture to society.

To conclude, OSCON was an informative and fun conference. And I look forward to meeting you there next year!

July 28th, 2014

Four Reasons to Start Content Marketing

by Joe Fleischmann

Tried and Tested Advice from Four Content Marketing Leaders

“Content Marketing Matters.”  Michal Tsur, Kaltura’s President and CMO said this in her introduction to the Panel Discussion about Content Marketing at Kaltura Connect 2014.  A niche of marketing once overlooked by the masses, content marketing has gradually become a part of many organizations’ marketing mixes.  Still there are organizations everywhere struggling for reason to allocate budget, staff, and time into incorporating it into their own mix.  The reality is, content marketing is something every organization in this decade must start practicing if they want to stay relevant in their user’s eyes—and it’s easier to start than you might think.

1: Content Marketing Creates Brand Loyalty 

All too often, organizations undervalue and neglect to address their customers as what they really are—people.  Scott Salik, VP of Video at Visalus—a direct selling company, illustrates how he was able to connect with his customer base.

My goal is to drive an emotional response so that people will connect with the product.  So that they feel they will have success with weight loss, or so that they feel they will have success in business. 

With this in mind, Scott and his team created a campaign to challenge his customers in achieving their weight loss goals.  If their customers could lose the first ten pounds, they would be more likely to reach their end goal.  With that in mind, Visalus launched Project 10 where customers would submit two videos—an “I want it” and an “I lost it” video showing their results.  Then, every week Visalus would select 10 people who submitted both videos to win $10,000.

 After four months, they’ve received over 100,000 clips, and noticed a 670% increase in the long term value of a customer who submitted both clips.  As Scott says, “Often they become promoters for us and help sell our product because they are true advocates for the success of our product.”

With just a bit of research and a simple internal campaign Visalus was able to increase their overall value, engage their customers, and generate hundreds of hours of user generated content they can freely use however they want.

2: Content Marketing Creates Brand Awareness  

Typically an organization creates brand awareness through advertising.  While it works, potential consumers can sometimes get frustrated and it is almost always an expensive endeavor.  Cornell University has launched a website dedicated to telling its stories called CornellCast.  As Carrie Sanzone, Web Product Manager at Cornell says:

It’s about getting that word of mouth, getting people talking about Cornell.

Carrie illustrates this with an example about 3D printing during her presentation.  Cornell can invest little into producing a story in-house and by keeping it on a central location (CornellCast), media outlets can report on it and increase the videos reach greatly.

“We’re not trying to get people to come necessarily to CornellCast.  But, we want to be where you are.  We’re trying to find the intersection of what people’s questions and problems [are], and where that intersects with our talent and expertise.”  With this methodology, spending what they typically would on advertising, they can create great content that appears to their potential students when they want to see it allowing Cornell to naturally become a part of the conversation.

3: Content Marketing Can be Measured

A struggle organizations often have in beginning content marketing is their belief that it can be difficult to see a clear return on investment.  In reality, too many organizations are focused on the wrong metrics.  Raymond Attipa, CEO of Shandy Media, a Compulsive Digital Media Company, has his own ideas of what make for quality metrics—and it’s not the number of clicks or views a video has.  For Raymond, it’s about how engaged viewers are with his content.

We have videos which are extremely successful because they have an extremely high engagement rate, an extremely high share rate and that’s really what our advertisers are looking for.  

Depending on what your goal is, in the case of Shandy Media—advertisement revenue, if you set the right goals, you can find methods to track it.  Things like duration of video watching and which countries and devices viewers are coming from, can go a long way in deciding which content to produce and promote, and where.

Of course, it’s important to remember that you only ever want at most 2-3 things for the viewer to take away—the basic marketing principles still apply when you want a viewer to act on a call to action.

4: Content Marketing Should be Applied to a B2B Space

Typically, content marketing is only referenced when talking about companies selling directly to a consumer.  The reality is that through refocusing and offering something else, it’s possible to use content marketing to effectively reach businesses.  Linda Crowe, Director of Content Marketing Programs at Oracle faces this challenge head on.  What she’s discovered is that that nature of who Oracle is selling to is changing and it’s not just those in technical positions making purchases.

Audiences don’t want to hear Speeds & Feeds

Like the first point we addressed, you’re always marketing to people.  People are who make up the businesses and it’s crucial to realize that.  Linda says it best: “They don’t want to hear about the technical attributes of our product, initially.  What they want to hear is, what are the business solutions and how are Oracle customers really approaching solving a business problem.”  What Linda is doing is starting this engaged conversation where Oracle can demonstrate solution oriented content in a manner that makes sense to those in a buying position.

If one of these four reasons isn’t enough to at least get you questioning why your organization doesn’t actively apply content marketing into your mix please let us know in the comments!  We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions.  Also, be sure to watch the full panel discussion online—it’s full of amazing insights into the world of content marketing.   

July 23rd, 2014

What’s Next for HTML5 Video? Join our Talk at OSCON 2014

by Zohar Babin

Sharing the excitement from floor of OSCON 2014, Kaltura’s Director of Playback Experience and Video Monetization, Michael Dale talks about Kaltura, open source and his OSCON talk about what’s happening with web video standards and html5.
Be sure to visit Michael’s OSCON 2014 talk – HTML5 Video Part Deux; New Opportunities and New Challenges and come by our booth (#P1).

TF2A4144

June 27th, 2014

Test Driven Learning Begets Test Driven Development

by Michael 'Flip' McFadden

Slide1

Like most developers, I was approached by my management to “Make Something Work” without having any prior experience.  The job was to connect our Plone/Zope content management system to Kaltura, so web content editors could seamlessly upload and edit video content and metadata that is managed by the KMC.  It wasn’t hard to find the Kaltura Python API Client Library, but once you have the Client Library, you have to learn how to use it – and at the same time, learn the features that the KMC provides (see:
Kaltura Management Console Training Track).

I can read through the many docs from cover to cover (I usually don’t) and still have the uncomfortable, lost feeling of having no clue what’s going on. And then there’s always the pressure of overcoming the learning curve in a reasonable amount of time.
So I begin by writing “Playground Code”. A directory that will be filled with useless, proof-of-concept code that helps me get the hang of a language, an API, or a new concept. This code will never be used in production, which gives me the permission to write really bad code while I climb up the learning curve.
Being able to become unattached to code, throw it all away and start over, was an important step for me. You learn the ‘right way’ to do things by doing them the ‘wrong way’ first. It also helped me figure out where exactly I should be reading in the docs to get done what needs to be done.

In the past few years, I’ve been working a lot with the concept of Test-Driven-Development. In TDD you write very small, encapsulated tests before you actually code the functionality or patch you are implementing. You are, in fact, intentionally writing failing test cases. I found this method very useful for isolating and fixing bugs, but not so much for new large projects or new enhancement development. The requirement that the tests should be atomic and very specific does not lend itself to complicated projects with many moving parts. Until now.

When I found myself having to learn the Kaltura Python Client Library – having no prior experience, I found the concept of “Playground Code” and Test Driven Development coming together. I simply took my proof of concept, put together some code and threw an assert() statement at the end, and viola – it’s now a test case!

“How do I connect to a Kaltura Server with the Python API”

The answer was “testConnect()” – that was easily incorporated into a test suite using python’s excellent testing framework ‘unittest‘ (Then, assert that something like client.media.list() returns something that looks like a response. Or, at the very least, not an exception).
Viola: test_media.py

I developed the trivial, but important test case at the same time I learned how to connect to the Kaltura server! My code doesn’t have to be thrown away, nor does it have to be perfect. However, it can now serve the purpose of being a proof of concept, a unittest, and a code example for the next developer all at the same time.

When I got confused with something, I could easily take my entire test case, which was an atomic, very specific exercise/problem, and post it to the forums as is – and quickly get a direct answer on what was confusing me – instead of submitting a link to my entire application with the “xxxx not working” title, which would have made it harder for others to review and help.

And then it got even better. The proof of concept code grew as I learned more about the API. A large tests module started forming. I started coming finding small bugs in the Kaltura Python Client Library, nothing critical, but important to my application – And I was able to patch, test and contribute my code upstream to the Kaltura project.

Through my humble experience (from complete newbie state) with Kaltura’s API and Python Client Library, I was able to submit and contribute a more polished and complete Python Test suite for the Kaltura API Client Library!

@flipmcf

Want to join the Kaltura project and become an active contributor? Start Here.

June 4th, 2014

API Inside-Out – Tour of Kaltura’s API Driven Architecture

by Jess Portnoy

Being open source provides users of the Kaltura platform many advantages. Amongst which, the ability to shape and influence the platform and its roadmap by contributing code to the project.

More often, when building a new integration or a publishing workflow, it’s a bit too much to dive into the platform code. That’s why you don’t have to!

Kaltura is a RESTful API driven platform.
This means that all features, user facing or internal, are all based on the same unified API.
From upload to through transcoding to playback, is all controlled via the API.

A RESTful API follows the following concepts:

  • It’s uniform – in Kaltura, every service represents an object, and actions represents its methods . For example: the media service represents the KalturaMediaEntry object. The media.delete action deletes a given KalturaMediaEntry object.
  • It’s stateless – In every API call you must provide a valid session key (dubbed KS). You can also create as many sessions as you need at the same time.
  • It’s cacheable – Scale is a make or break with video applications. We cache more than 95% of API calls in Kaltura, once in memory and then even on the CDN.
  • Layered System – Client have a single end point. This encapsulates whether the client connect to the end server, or to an intermediary along the way. Intermediary servers improve system scalability by enabling load-balancing and shared caches. Layers also enforce security policies and enhance system resilience.

A lot of projects offer a RESTful API. But what I believe makes the Kaltura API special are –

It’s API from the inside out!
The platform’s own components also use the same APIs to get their job done. This means core developers build and test using the same APIs that App developers use. Which in turn test and improves the APIs daily.

Always up-to-date SDKs
Kaltura’s API features a unique automatic generation of SDK. With every release Kaltura generates new client libraries. Which are available in most popular programming languages, including: PHP, Ruby, Python and JavaScript.
See the Kaltura.com client libraries page for complete list and downloads.

It’s Robust, Allowing Complete Control
As an outcome, the API is capable of controlling pretty much any operation the platform’s core components. From ingesting content through management and transcoding, to playback, delivery, distribution and analytics.

To further explain point A, lets dive further in to the Kaltura architecture:

 

kaltura-architecture-diagram

The API and Client Libraries, are used across the platform’s components, both in external applications such as Kaltura MediaSpace or various modules to 3rd party systems such as Drupal or WordPress, as well as internally, within core Kaltura components such as transcoding batch servers or the platform Admin Console.

For example, the batch daemon, responsible for performing roles such as: media import, media info extraction, transcoding and server notifications, triggers these APIs the same way any other party, for example, your application, would: using the Kaltura API Client libraries.

Here is a short example of how the APIs (in this particular case, the PHP client libs) can be used to upload a new video entry to the system:

Having an API driven architecture enables complete control and freedom with how you desire your application workflows and UI to be. From creating different publishing workflows to exposing sets of functionalities.
In addition, the API inside-out approach opens up many opportunities for adapting, controlling and extending beyond the simple UI workflows and apps, important examples are with platform automation and monitoring tools.

 

Playing with the API:

As mentioned, Kaltura provides client libs generated for various programming languages. In addition, API calls can be made using a testing tool dubbed the Kaltura TestMe console.
The first thing you would want to do is create a Kaltura Session – KS:

  1. Select ‘session’ as service and ‘start’ as action.
  2. In session type, select ‘USER’.
  3. The secret field corresponds to one of two strings that are saved in Kaltura for each partner and are available in your KMC under the Settings>Integration Settings tab. Note that there are two types of secrets, one that can be used to start an end-USER session and one to start an ADMIN session.

 

testme_session_start

If you look at the screen shot above, you will see that, in the right frame, we have the returned XML which includes:

  • The result tag with the KS ‘N2E1NGE1NGIxOGFlNWI3MDU1NWY4YTNmMTRjM2QwZDg2ZDA1YjM0MHwyNDk7MjQ5OzEzOTkyODc1OTA7MDsxMzk5MjAxMTkwLjM1NDs7Ozs=’ as value
  • The executionTime tag with 3.71932983398 as value

In the bottom of the page, you can see the code our selections in the input form generated.

Notice that while the default displayed code is in PHP, you can click on one of the other languages to see the code generated for any other.

 

Next for a second example using the Test Me Console, we will list the entries our partner owns. Doing so by using the baseEntry service and calling its listAction() function.

testme_baseentry_list

As you can see, the generated code reads:

If you run this code and add:

You will get a result very similar to the XML outputted in the right frame of the page in the screenshot above.

 

The Test Me Console is a useful method of starting to work with the Kaltura API. Simply browse through available services and see what actions can be made.

Then, you can copy the code snippet and shape it into something useful within your scripts.

 

Hopefully this article will help you get started with the Kaltura APIs.

Browse the Kaltura API Documentation Set to learn more and explore more Kaltura APIs.

For any questions, leave a comment below, or start a thread in the forums.

Download, install and take part in the Community.

 

Happy coding :)

Join us for the upcoming Video Experience Hackathon on June 13-5 in NYC. Polish your Kaltura API skills with the mentoring of experts and Kaltura core maintainers, and take a chance at winning the $50,000 prize!
The VideoX Hackathon, June 13-15, NYC

February 16th, 2014

Introducing KIPP – Kaltura Install Made Simple.

by Jess Portnoy

kaltura-light-blue-bg

The installation of Kaltura, just like the platform itself, went through a lot of metamorphosis over the years.

Over the years, we invested many resources at making Kaltura the best media management platform. Featuring grand batch system, complex metadata engine, robust entitlements, simplified video transcoding and more.

Alas, built on many different technologies, the installation of the platform became a bit of a complex task. Requiring many pre-install steps and several tricky pit-falls, even for the expert Linux engineers.

 

Announcing “KIPP” – Kaltura’s Install Packages Project!
Putting in place the resources to simplify and standardize the installation of Kaltura.
To enable the use of standard Linux package managers (e.g. yum, aptitude) to deploy the Kaltura platform with ease.

 

Community ahead!

It was important for us to create an open and collaborative project from day 1. Enabling community users to take part in defining, testing and developing the project.

Open repository and packaging tools –

All RPM and deb specs are accessible on an open GitHub repository.
Also available a chrooted ready-to-go build environment to allow experienced package developers to get started with ease and contribute packages for other CPU architectures or other operating systems.

 

Many dependancies, many challenges.
Kaltura requires many 3rd party components. Some of which are available via official Linux repositories. Many are in different versions or compilation options than what Kaltura requires. And other are missing altogether from official repositories.

Most packages are available from supplementary repositories such as EPEL and RPMForge. But, relying on unofficial repositories would force a list of pre-install steps that KIPP was set to avoid. And it would also introduce the challenge of keeping up with updates from these repositories.

 

Clean & Simple!
To meet our simplicity goal, we’ve chosen a few project guidelines.

All packages will have the ‘kaltura-‘ prefix.
This ensures a no-conflict with other packages the machine may already have installed.
It would also provide a simple approach to handling updates –
# yum update "*kaltura*"

All files go under /opt/kaltura/.
Apart from standard init scripts: /etc/init.d and symlinks to Apache and logroate configurations. If the user runs the un-install script – everything gets removed.

Release notes matter.
Every package contains project metadata, that includes the project’s github repository and changes log. The changes-log contain all changes or patches for each version as well as links to Knowledge Center release notes.

Simple single-server without compromising cluster installs.
A single call to the ‘kaltura-server’ meta-package will install a complete all-in-one Kaltura server. But, as you grow your usage, so should your network grow into a smarter cluster of dedicated servers.

Modular packages structure.
A key characteristic of Kaltura is its ability to scale and deploy across any size cluster. The install packages should allow for the same level of modularity in deployment:

  1. You only install what you need.
  2. You should always know exactly what you have installed and of which version.
  3. You should have full control over which parts to update or patch.
  4. You should deploy packages based on desired server-role by calling its role. E.g. front, batch, sphinx, DB, etc.

Automated, silent installs.
Repurposing and adding new servers in your network should be a painless and automatic task.

Post-install script for each server role, allows for an easy deploy or repurpose of Kaltura servers.
Utilizing answers-file, preconfigured server-role templates allow for automatic deployment of new servers.
Admins can use Chef scripts with preconfigured answers-file to deploy complete clusters with ease.

Building for today, designing for long-term.
The short-term goal is to solve deployment of Kaltura on Fedora and Debian based Linux systems. Utilizing simple shell post-install scripts we maintain a common code base whenever possible. That allows for reuse in future packages, reducing time to package for other systems such BSD variants or even OSX.
Also, if we add new directives or variables in the future, all we need to update is the answer file template.

 

Support the project:

  • Kaltura Admins – Follow the new install guide (http://bit.ly/kipp-rpm). Help test the installation and upgrade flows.
  • Packagers / Package Developers – If you’re experienced with Linux packaging (or brew/macports on OSX) drop us a line!
  • Tech writers, translators and anyone who cares – Let’s reach everyone who cares about online video, anywhere!

To stay updated and learn more, visit the project page!

 

 

January 24th, 2014

Boost Your Social Business with Kaltura’s Video Extension for IBM Connections

by Vitaly.Shter

Over the past few years, consumer social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube have radically changed the way we communicate. Seeing the benefits of consumers’ real time social information sharing, enterprises have been adopting social business systems like IBM Connections not only to meet the expectations of today’s employees and partners, but also to increase productivity and reduce costs.

diagram2At the same time, video usage has seen substantial growth within the enterprise, with Forrester reporting that over 27% of firms already implemented enterprise IP/digital video for internal use, and Gartner predicting that by 2016, large companies will stream more than 16 hours of video per worker per month. Innovative enterprises are using video to harness corporate knowledge. As a result, organizations are recognizing that in order to maximize the benefits and adoption of their social business software, they must enrich traditional social business components like news-feeds, communities, blogs, wikis, and profiles, with video. The simplest way to marry advanced video creation, consumption, sharing, and delivery capabilities with social business software is by using packaged video integrations.

Kaltura’s Video Extension for IBM Connections combines Kaltura’s market leading enterprise video platform with IBM’s leading social business software, into a seamless user experience that leverages video to dramatically improve collaboration, knowledge sharing, and communications across the organization. Think adding YouTube-like capabilities to a Facebook-like portal, with the addition of workflows and security mechanisms required by the modern social enterprise. This empowers employees with intuitive video tools that they are already comfortable using, while providing peace of mind to IT by allowing to securely centrally manage all rich media content in the organization.

Here is a short overview of how Kaltura’s new Video Extension can work seamlessly within IBM Connections:

So why video, you ask? There are many reasons why video is key to your organization’s communications, here are just 5 things to think about as you plan the future of your social business strategy:

  • Video is engaging and simplifies complex ideas:
    Both consumers and enterprises recognize video as an engaging and entertaining medium to convey powerful messages, engage audiences, and illustrate complex ideas. Video is the perfect starting point to get the conversation going since video viewers retain 50% more material than those who just view traditional information sources (according to a recent Wharton Business School study). According to Forbes, 59% of senior executives prefer to watch video instead of reading text, if both are available on the same page. So when your IBM Connection users are creating blogs or initiating online ideation discussions, wouldn’t it be great to let them add a relevant video into the mix?
  • Videos reduces cost by boosting training and ‘multiplying’ sales-force:
    7,500 video views per day on salesforce.com – this is equivalent to work done by 46 hyper efficient sales reps, educating customers on the product (According to Greney Jamie, VP, Social Media and Online Video, Salesforce). Similarly training videos watched by thousands of employees and partners are equivalent to dozens of corporate instructors onboarding and training employees and partners. “By integrating Kaltura into our virtual learning site and transitioning all broker training online with video, we have decreased the onboarding timeline for a new agent from 6 to 3 months” (VP of Learning, Coldwell Banker). No matter how you look at it, video cuts costs significantly.
  • Videos shortens ‘time to knowledge’ and facilitates expertise creation and recognition:
    Tapping into the communal knowledge base of a globally distributed workforce is one of the main benefits of social business software like IBM Connections. Add to that the ability for experts to easily record How-to videos and tutorials accessible 24/7 from any device, as well as the long “shelf life” of video, and you significantly shorten the time it takes to find information in your organization in the years to come.  Once you find the information, it is also about comprehension – it is much easier to watch a 3 minute video walkthrough, like the one embedded within this blog post, as opposed to reading a 10 page user manual. Provide your IBM Connections users with Employee Generated Content (EGC) tools like screen-capture, webcam recording, and mobile capture, and watch the level of organizational knowledge sky-rocket as a result of the videos they create and the chance to be publicly recognized for their expertise (you get bonus points for gamification initiatives that reward employee participation!).
  • Video authenticity brings people together:
    Video helps employees break geographical and cultural boundaries, with “nearly in-person” experiences that add depth, authenticity, and personification to their corporate online identity. Many of our customer executives use live video or send recorded video messages to thousands of employees, in order to create a sense of familiarity and closure that is unmatched by text-based communications. Many companies also initiate video contests to foster a sense of company-wide community and corporate pride (see this great example). An IBM Connections portal where executives and employees record and share their video messages and personal user-profiles, and where employees participate in creative video contests, transforms a large workforce into a tighter, community that takes pride in its work.
  • The demand for consuming and creating knowledge on-the-go:
    Today’s workforce requires access to knowledge anywhere-anytime on a myriad of mobile devices. With limited time at hand, and limitations of the mobile device screen size, video is the best medium to access knowledge ”just-in-time” by providing both visual and audio comprehension. This is especially important for mobile and “desk-less” employees like Sales, technicians, first responders, and retail staff who often need to learn a topic on-the-go right before taking action. In other situations, capturing and sharing knowledge videos remotely is business critical capability – think insurance agents documenting an incident on-site using their mobile device video camera. Imagine how powerful this can become with the proliferation of wearable computers like Google Glass and Motorola Golden-i, where video will play an even more central role for communicating, learning, and collaborating “on the fly”.

In summary, bringing together video and social business provides great value: fast, asynchronous, visual, authentic and engaging knowledge exchange through a many-to-many communication channel, resulting in speedier product lifecycles, competitive advantage, educated employees and constant dialogue across the global enterprise and customer base. Learn more about how enterprise video can enhance your business here.

November 7th, 2013

How Transcripts and Captions Augment Video SEO Strategies

by Shannon K. Murphy

This is a guest blog post written by Shannon K. MurphyShannon is the Content Marketing Manager for 3Play Media, an online video captioning and transcription service located in Cambridge, MA. Prior to 3Play Media, Shannon worked as a Marketing Consultant at HubSpot and Dow Jones Local Media. Shannon has been passionate about SEO, inbound marketing and content creation since 2008.

 

3Play-Media-logoVideo is the gateway to a conversation with your next customer. This brilliant content medium appeals to internet audiences because it utilizes both auditory and visual senses, translating into higher engagement and a quicker recall. According to Forbes, 50 percent of executives look for more information after seeing a product or service in a video.  The growing popularity of animated “explainer videos” exemplify how audiences desire dynamic videos paired with easy-to-remember text and facts. While video messages are becoming more refined, this is only one aspect of video marketing. How to get these videos discovered? Again, a powerhouse combination of text and video. Transcripts vastly improve the chance of discoverability and lift your video SEO strategy.

 

Why Video Transcripts Boost SEO

It’s no secret that search engines love video. Depending on the keywords entered into a search query, Google may automatically produce video search results. For example, the words “how to” will often generate search results with videos demonstrations. Google rewards video content in blended results because video is often more time consuming to produce, post, and curate.

While Google attempts to select the most appropriate media format for our searches, video search technology is still lacking. This is where words still have their place. Because the success of SEO hinges on keywords and text queries, video transcripts add valuable spoken content to your site, furthering your site’s presence with search engines.

Because search bots cannot “watch” a video, they rely on limited text information like video tags and meta-descriptions to understand the content and context of videos. As described in the video below, publishing a video on your site with only a heading and short summary paragraph is akin to a newspaper article missing the most important part—the story! A transcript allows search engines to understand video on a deeper level and index it appropriately.

 

More Ways Video Transcripts Amplify SEO

Keyword Strategy/Keyword Density: Video SEO best practices call for one video per page, each with a unique title, header and tags. Transcripts can aid in discovering the most desirable and relevant keyword phrasings, but also add to overall keyword density. Unlike “keyword stuffing,” placing a transcript on your video landing page is a way to integrate a keyword phrase into a site, naturally.

Content Marketing: In 2012, more than 90 percent of marketers utilized video for content marketing. Video transcripts assist in the development of additional content pieces. After a video is transcribed, that text file can be used to create blog articles, whitepapers, slide share presentations, and support documentation.

Mobile Consumption:  Captioned video is accessible anywhere and everywhere. Video is expected to make up two-thirds of mobile consumption by 2017.

 

Additional Benefits of Online Video Captions and Transcripts

Video captions and transcripts provide the flexibility necessary when audiences need to consume video content in public places like the gym, cafe or subway.

UX: Video conveys information faster than almost any other medium. Even then, we can sometimes feel video is lagging behind our own pace. A 3 minute video can feel like 15 minutes when paired with a slow-paced narrator. If users can’t find an effective away to accelerate the pace or find the desired content another way, they will click away. The 3Play Media interactive transcript gives audiences back control. Users can scan search the spoken content of a video for keywords and then click through to any moment where that word was uttered. This feature can speed up the research and evaluation of products and services.

Global Branding: International websites are the first company ambassadors for potential customers oversees. Greet site visitors in their native language. Translating English transcripts and adding multilingual subtitles to Kaltura videos is an effective way to communicate globally. Furthermore, translation will enhance foreign language keyword tactics, augmenting site presence on search engines abroad.

Video SEO is a practice focused on delivering your video content to a well-targeted audience. Video transcripts assist in this process by adding to a site’s keyword relevance and perceived authority.  Broaden the reach of a site by utilizing transcripts for video SEO as well as mobile, UX and global marketing strategies.

October 21st, 2013

5 Tips to Increase Student Engagement With Video

by Laura Djian

Blackboard_logo

Article by Katie Drossos, reposted from the Blackboard blog

All faculty, whether they admit it or not, are faced with the challenge of keeping students locked into and focused on the lesson at hand.  There’s nothing unique about this challenge – a study by Ralph Burns found that the impact of a lecture is greatest in its first five minutes—after that, learners’ attention wanes and the effectiveness of the lecture drops. You have probably sat through lectures yourself where, despite your best intentions, you became disengaged mid-way through.

This reality begs the question: How can you combat student disengagement with your classroom material?  Take a look at the five tips below, based on how Vrije Universiteit (VU) tackled this challenge with video.

 

  • Give Students Control. One way to increase student engagement is to have students influence what (and how) they learn. Rob Van Leeuwen, Educational Technologist at VU, offers, “We have a group of professors that are planning to use Kaltura, an open source online video platform that allows faculty and students to easily create, edit and upload videos, to have students assist with the creation of curriculum and become producers of class materials.  In essence, the students will be in control of determining how they learn best.”

 

  • Make it easy for faculty and students. Find a solution that will allow students and faculty to post videos with as few   clicks as possible, and allows them to be viewed from any device in any location once uploaded.

 

  • Train Your Users. Implementing new technology doesn’t mean anything unless faculty and students use the solution.  At VU, the university’s library used an online video to demonstrate how to use the platform.  They also added a FAQ page and allowed faculty to add their own questions.

 

  • Look at the Analytics. To get the most out of your video solution, monitor usage on campus.  This will allow you to highlight the power-users whom you can then tap as “video evangelists” or ask them to train other faculty.  VU staff use the administrative tools within their solution to gain visibility into what is happening down to a granular level.

 

  • Integrate your video solution with your LMS. Meet students where they are every day – in Blackboard Learn –  and make it easier for them to access the myriad of solutions available to them without having to remember all the various URLs, usernames, and passwords.  By choosing a solution that integrates seamlessly with your LMS, you can open up a new set of engaging teaching possibilities from integration of lecture capture and video materials to enabling video assignments and sharing of student-and faculty-contributed video content.

 

Want more tips?  Read about how VU faculty started using more video in the classroom.

Hear more about VU’s experience using video as a more intuitive way to teach students. Join us for a live webinar on October 24th to hear firsthand from Rob Van Leeuwen about online video projects that have been deployed at VU.

 

September 2nd, 2013

Floss Weekly Episode 261: Kaltura Open Source Video Platform with Randal Schwartz and Dan Lynch

by Zohar Babin

randal-l-schwartz-floss-weeklyOn August 14th, we were  invited to share Kaltura on episode 261 of the FLOSS Weekly Show hosted by Randal Schwartz and Dan Lynch.

You can watch the full episode on this post below, or at the official show episode page, where you can also subscribe to future shows and watch some of the awesome previously recorded shows. You can also review the episode notes on FLOSS Weekly Wiki – Episode 261.

 

If you don’t know FLOSS Weekly already, Randal’s lightning intro below explains it best. Randal does a fantastic job at bringing exciting and interesting Open Source projects to the online [Video] Radio show.

 

Short summary of what we chatted about (and you can read more at FLOSS Weekly Wiki – Episode 261) –

  • What Kaltura is and why you should care.
  • Cover history and future of the Kaltura project, from making video a first class citizen of the web to world domination!
  • The recent move of the Kaltura Server repository from closed SVN to a fully open repository on GitHub.com/kaltura/server .
  • Wikipedia + Kaltura and bringing video step closer to becoming as easy as text.
  • How to get involved with the Kaltura project, fork and contribute.
  • The upcoming Kaltura Connect 2013 conference that will take place on September 30 – October 1st in NYC.

 

To watch the full episode of FLOSS Weekly 261 – Kaltura, press play below, or visit the FLOSS Weekly episode page.