March 5th, 2014

The Kaltura European Executive Forum: The Philips Innovation Brand

by Zohar Babin

bafta-kalturaOn Feb, 12th we hosted our first European Kaltura Executive Forum at the prestigious BAFTA venue in London.  Customers, prospects and partners attended in response to the success of Connect in New York and the subsequent request for local peer to peer networking events.

As the first of many to follow in different cities and countries, the evening made the audience the core focus.  After a brief welcome and introduction by Russ Zack, VP & GM Europe and Michal Tsur, CMO, President and Co-founder, Paul Osgood from Philips took the floor.

Paul is the Internal Communications Manager for Philips headquartered in Amsterdam.  From his first word he captivated everyone with his exuberance as he took us through short films created by employees and agencies demonstrating how video has taken internal social collaboration to the next level.  Most compelling were the video stories that employees shared with fellow colleagues spread across the globe and how Philips has made a difference to their lives and those of family and friends.

Everyone in the room had myriad questions which stimulated a distinct rethink about how the first audience for any communication is the personnel.  The remit was simple apparently, based on one single question:

Tell us how Philips delivers innovation that matters to you.

Within a few short weeks people had jumped on board and were posting their short films.  No storyboards, no scripts.  Yet here we saw firsthand how passionate and creative staff were with no formal video production skills.   Interaction was encouraged and engagement measured through views, likes and comments.  By sharing their stories the company celebrated a wave of digital camaraderie never achieved through other means of communication.

The buzz continued as Philips relaunched it’s brand purely to the global employees outside of office buildings with countdowns reminiscent of any New Years Eve midnight strike.  This time they used an agency to create a brand video mixing many of the exciting videos created by their employees (watch: Philips Innovation and You Brand Video) and launching with an dazzling video presentation on the facade of their office buildings generating a new interactive viewing experience for employees out on the streets to enjoy.  The fact that passers by and the rest of the world were welcome to join in the fun without any invitation once again showed how committed Philips is to making every individual a part of the collective, removing international and physical barriers to personnel interaction and integration.  Everyone outside of the Philips collective was quite frankly secondary to this huge rebranding campaign.

They seemed to have cracked the secret code of innovative communication and engagement using video.  There was no doubt that it was working - the results spoke for themselves and continue to do so.

At this point in the evening there was a definite buzz of excitement as we all had lightbulb moments (yes I know Philips makes lightbulbs so pardon the pun).  Further, I had the feeling that everyone in the room was actually understanding what the Philips global team already understands:  how video adds value as a social business collaboration tool.

It seemed that this new compelling insight was creating a new kind of warmth and light and what does one need when inspired and the imagination is peaked?  Cocktails and canapes of course.  In the relaxed and cosy surroundings of the venue, attendees mingled with Kalturians and each other, sharing their own stories and networking.

Paul continued to be bombarded with questions on into the late hours and his enthusiasm and wonderment at how Philips now collaborates was very contagious.  From seeing the original internal communications task at hand as a major challenge he considers himself to be a complete digital convert, embracing video.  As people started to head home and said their good-byes, they left stating that they could see the true internal business need to embrace and connect within their own organisations.  Only now they left with lots of new ideas and connections to reach out to and collaborate with.

Kaltura video case study here:  http://corp.kaltura.com/content/inspiring-creativity-philips

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!

 

 

February 6th, 2014

Breaking Down Worker Silos

by Lisa Bennett

Republished from re/code, by Dr. Shay David, Kaltura Co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer: http://recode.net/2014/02/05/breaking-down-worker-silos/

Data silos occur when data stored in separate servers or services can’t interact with information in other systems. They’re a major problem that causes limited workplace collaboration — according to a recent Oracle survey, in the past six months, 54 percent of IT execs have been forced to stop working when cloud apps weren’t properly integrated with other apps in the enterprise. Another 83 percent say they can’t get the most out of the apps their department uses, because of integration issues.

While data silos are a major purveyor of diminished workplace efficiency, “worker silos” may be an even worse problem. These are organizational human architectures that prevent employees from collaborating. Luckily, three megatrends of tech — mobile, social and video technology — may offer a recipe to end such disjointed systems. To explore how, I spoke with David Boyll, director of digital media technology at Oracle, and David Birnbaum, vice president of learning at Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

Worker silos isolate employees and kill collaboration

Like data silos, worker silos cause separation and isolation when it comes to sharing information that can help enterprises operate more efficiently. But new technologies are helping even the largest businesses.

“Mobile, social and video technologies have allowed companies to break down worker silos,” Boyll said. “There are benefits we don’t even know about yet, and time will tell how this will help the business.”

For years, traditional workplaces have separated employees in cubicles, cutting them off from key information and relationships with colleagues that could help them to improve the enterprise overall. Separating employees into insulator units effectively cuts off opportunity for collaboration — squashing workplace innovation.

At Coldwell Banker University, the real estate company’s training program, a key goal is to provide excellent customer service, and “the best way to do that is to have agents learn, train and collaborate together using video,” said Birnbaum.

Mobile and social technologies are tearing down cubicles

Mobile technologies allow employees to check in with their work from anywhere, anytime. (Unless they work for Yahoo, of course.) The majority of American adults — 61 percent — now own smartphones, and the devices are helping them to become more collaborative and engaged workers. Cloud technologies, online project management spaces and enterprise social networks are all pushing the movement forward. Plenty of IT departments are creating bring your own device programs that allow employees to use their gadget of choice on the job.

At Oracle, employees are using an open collaboration platform. All employees have access to the Oracle Social Network, which workers access on desktops and mobile devices. Boyll said this allows employees to have conversations, share and store files, and more easily collaborate on work.

“Using various collaboration platforms, including Oracle Social Network, we are breaking down geographic work silos, and facilitating creative and process collaboration,” said Boyll.

As mobile, social and video technologies translate to the enterprise, they’re helping organizations to dismantle worker silos by creating an organizational culture that focuses on a social aspect and allows for cross-departmental collaboration — not isolated cubicles.

Video-sharing portals put the spotlight on collaboration

At a recent conference, Boyll said that the emergence of desktop video and the iPhone means an internal social video-sharing platform is a good idea for companies. After all, employees are already creating tens of thousands of videos on topics related to their jobs. They’re using video as a timely and easy way to showcase technical processes, demonstrate how to use applications, or improve navigation flow.

Video-sharing portals offer a centralized and common platform on which to use, share and extract the value of that content. For many organizations, this means better avenues for sales enablement and training, allowing for on-the-spot information about products, including best techniques, elevator pitches, or recent wins.

Over the last two years, Oracle has rolled out videoconferencing options for employees and upper management, which are now easily available to every Oracle employee. Many meetings are now held over live video streaming using a standard video platform. Top executives at Oracle regularly conduct town-hall-style Webcasts, and president Mark Hurd conducts a quarterly live Webcast that draws in more than 5,000 attendees.

“We’re now experiencing a rapid uptake and level of comfort in using video,” Boyll said. “Seeing oneself on camera and understanding how a productive videoconference should go is becoming a skill as essential as using a telephone or operating a PowerPoint.”

Videoconferencing allows the company to break down geographic work silos, facilitate creative collaboration and improve overall processes. Video fills the need for self-service creation, management and publication of videos for all Oracle employees — that’s more than 120,000 worldwide — and usage is expected to go through the roof, Boyll said.

Coldwell Banker employs a similar platform. Its social learning portal, available via mobile or desktop, allows agents to share best practices and ideas with each other using short videos, upon which agents can “Like” or leave comments, said Birnbaum.

“We’re going from a world where our university would just push out training, to a more collaborative process of informal learning,” he said. “Most learning in the corporate world happens in informal ways. Video allows our agents to connect with each other more easily, facilitating superior customer service.”

The real impact of the new tech landscape: Cultural shifts

Offering employees mobile, social and video platforms to allow them to share ideas, produce great content and collaborate with others doesn’t just dismantle worker silos, and the positive results don’t just affect the bottom line. It also creates something that isn’t inherently measurable: Morale.

Emotional satisfaction and job satisfaction are just as important in the enterprise — and these three pillars of tech are reinforcing those ideals among workers. Companies that eliminate worker silos with these new technologies show employees they belong to a supportive community that values their knowledge and experience — and it may forever change the way they do business.

Data silos occur when data stored in separate servers or services can’t interact with information in other systems. They’re a major problem that causes limited workplace collaboration — according to a recent Oracle survey, in the past six months, 54 percent of IT execs have been forced to stop working when cloud apps weren’t properly integrated with other apps in the enterprise. Another 83 percent say they can’t get the most out of the apps their department uses, because of integration issues.

While data silos are a major purveyor of diminished workplace efficiency, “worker silos” may be an even worse problem. These are organizational human architectures that prevent employees from collaborating. Luckily, three megatrends of tech — mobile, social and video technology — may offer a recipe to end such disjointed systems. To explore how, I spoke with David Boyll, director of digital media technology at Oracle, and David Birnbaum, vice president of learning at Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

Worker silos isolate employees and kill collaboration

Like data silos, worker silos cause separation and isolation when it comes to sharing information that can help enterprises operate more efficiently. But new technologies are helping even the largest businesses.

“Mobile, social and video technologies have allowed companies to break down worker silos,” Boyll said. “There are benefits we don’t even know about yet, and time will tell how this will help the business.”

For years, traditional workplaces have separated employees in cubicles, cutting them off from key information and relationships with colleagues that could help them to improve the enterprise overall. Separating employees into insulator units effectively cuts off opportunity for collaboration — squashing workplace innovation.

At Coldwell Banker University, the real estate company’s training program, a key goal is to provide excellent customer service, and “the best way to do that is to have agents learn, train and collaborate together using video,” said Birnbaum.

Mobile and social technologies are tearing down cubicles

Mobile technologies allow employees to check in with their work from anywhere, anytime. (Unless they work for Yahoo, of course.) The majority of American adults — 61 percent — now own smartphones, and the devices are helping them to become more collaborative and engaged workers. Cloud technologies, online project management spaces and enterprise social networks are all pushing the movement forward. Plenty of IT departments are creating bring your own device programs that allow employees to use their gadget of choice on the job.

At Oracle, employees are using an open collaboration platform. All employees have access to the Oracle Social Network, which workers access on desktops and mobile devices. Boyll said this allows employees to have conversations, share and store files, and more easily collaborate on work.

“Using various collaboration platforms, including Oracle Social Network, we are breaking down geographic work silos, and facilitating creative and process collaboration,” said Boyll.

As mobile, social and video technologies translate to the enterprise, they’re helping organizations to dismantle worker silos by creating an organizational culture that focuses on a social aspect and allows for cross-departmental collaboration — not isolated cubicles.

Video-sharing portals put the spotlight on collaboration

At a recent conference, Boyll said that the emergence of desktop video and the iPhone means an internal social video-sharing platform is a good idea for companies. After all, employees are already creating tens of thousands of videos on topics related to their jobs. They’re using video as a timely and easy way to showcase technical processes, demonstrate how to use applications, or improve navigation flow.

Video-sharing portals offer a centralized and common platform on which to use, share and extract the value of that content. For many organizations, this means better avenues for sales enablement and training, allowing for on-the-spot information about products, including best techniques, elevator pitches, or recent wins.

Over the last two years, Oracle has rolled out videoconferencing options for employees and upper management, which are now easily available to every Oracle employee. Many meetings are now held over live video streaming using a standard video platform. Top executives at Oracle regularly conduct town-hall-style Webcasts, and president Mark Hurd conducts a quarterly live Webcast that draws in more than 5,000 attendees.

“We’re now experiencing a rapid uptake and level of comfort in using video,” Boyll said. “Seeing oneself on camera and understanding how a productive videoconference should go is becoming a skill as essential as using a telephone or operating a PowerPoint.”

Videoconferencing allows the company to break down geographic work silos, facilitate creative collaboration and improve overall processes. Video fills the need for self-service creation, management and publication of videos for all Oracle employees — that’s more than 120,000 worldwide — and usage is expected to go through the roof, Boyll said.

Coldwell Banker employs a similar platform. Its social learning portal, available via mobile or desktop, allows agents to share best practices and ideas with each other using short videos, upon which agents can “Like” or leave comments, said Birnbaum.

“We’re going from a world where our university would just push out training, to a more collaborative process of informal learning,” he said. “Most learning in the corporate world happens in informal ways. Video allows our agents to connect with each other more easily, facilitating superior customer service.”

The real impact of the new tech landscape: Cultural shifts

Offering employees mobile, social and video platforms to allow them to share ideas, produce great content and collaborate with others doesn’t just dismantle worker silos, and the positive results don’t just affect the bottom line. It also creates something that isn’t inherently measurable: Morale.

Emotional satisfaction and job satisfaction are just as important in the enterprise — and these three pillars of tech are reinforcing those ideals among workers. Companies that eliminate worker silos with these new technologies show employees they belong to a supportive community that values their knowledge and experience — and it may forever change the way they do business.

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.

January 17th, 2014

Wikimedia Community Debates H.264 Support On Wikipedia Sites

by Michael Dale

Wikimedia has been a long time supporter of royalty free formats, but is now considering a shift in their position. From the RfC:

To support the MP4 standard as a complement to the open formats now used on our sites, it has been proposed that videos be automatically transcoded and stored in both open and MP4 formats on our sites, as soon as they are uploaded or viewed by users. The unencumbered WebM and Ogg versions would remain our primary reference for platforms that support them. But the MP4 versions would enable many mobile and desktop users who cannot view these unencumbered video files to watch them in MP4 format.

This has stirred a heated debate within the Wikimedia community as to whether the mp4 / h.264 format should be supported. Many wikimedia regulars have weighed in, resulting in currently an even split between adding the H.264 support or not. The request for comment is open to all users of Wikimedia, including the broader community of readers.

What do you think about supporting H.264 on Wikimedia sites?

December 16th, 2013

University Business: Video will rule campuses

by Lisa Bennett

This post was published in University Business on December 10th, 2013.

 

Dr Shay David, Co-Founder at Online Video Platform Kaltura, looks at the issues of putting video at the heart of the campus.

 

As they prioritise their ‘to-do list’ for 2014, CIOs are putting the planning and deployment of a central media strategy and rich media repository at the top of the list.  While video is permeating almost every aspect of campus life – from teaching & learning to marketing, development, communications and admissions – the approach has generally been haphazard, resulting in silos of content that lack a coherent framework.

For many, a potential rich-media management crisis is looming on campus, and is exacerbated by today’s ed-tech trends, which all rely heavily on video to thrive – flipped classrooms, personalised learning, blended learning, social learning, and of course MOOCs.

Add the complexity of allowing (and supporting) students and faculty to Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD), and you have a recipe for an IT nightmare.

Here’s a checklist for CIOs that want to be ‘ahead of the curve’ in 2014 with regard to video on campus.

Review current costs: a centralised media management platform can often save you money.

Video silos on campus are eating up network resources, storage and computing power. Look into how much your campus is spending on storing and transcoding rich media, as well as the IT management costs associated with processing and managing video content. This total expenditure probably costs more than a new, centralised solution – and for an inferior user experience.

Integrate with your existing infrastructure

Many departments have already invested time, money and resources in the development or the procurement of technologies to manage users’ content and curriculum (e.g. LMS, lecture capture, live events streaming etc). Ensure that a centralised media solution can recognise and integrate with existing systems, policies, procedures and resources already in place and can adapt to existing workflows.

Plan for measurement and analytics

Back-end analytics and audience measurement tools can help to identify how effective your content is at reaching and engaging users. Individual analytics which can go down to the individual student level can help in the context of teaching and learning – to establish correlation between media usage and learning results. Integration into third-party systems like Google Analytics can help too.

Make sure to support ‘any device, anywhere, anytime’

The need to deliver a high-quality video experience across PCs, tablets, smartphones and other devices makes opting for home-grown applications or a consumer-based video hosting strategy untenable. Look for a platform provider that gives you the flexibility to host the applications on premise or on the cloud and whose transcoding solutions deliver the most effective video formats and provide the best user experience across all devices/platforms.

Launch a Campus Tube initiative

Encourage use, re-use and customisation of video resources by deploying a ‘Campus YouTube’ that features intuitive authoring, upload, moderation, publishing, search, browsing, and sharing of videos across devices.

Determine the role that your Library will play

Thoughtful media management calls for a role for the library, making it important that both the academic and administrative organisations work together to guarantee both access and preservation of digital content. Library staff have expertise in cataloguing and curating of content – essential for the management of these campus-wide rich media assets.

Put in place the right levels of security and governance

Protecting third-party licensed content, or content that students/lecturers create and share, while still making it easy enough for authorised users to use the platform is a balancing act. Check that your security, access control and entitlement system covers varying levels of access, digital rights management, different methods of user authentication, and appropriate moderation of uploaded content and publishing.

Search, Search, Search – if users can’t find it, it doesn’t exist

Disorganised content is a turn off for viewers and administrators. Video content should be fully navigable, searchable and viewable from all campus applications and sites, such as learning management systems and other applications.

For today’s YouTube generation, video is not gravy. It’s the main dish. Video is destined to permeate onto campuses in greater and greater volumes and needs to be managed effectively in order to avoid a media meltdown. Putting video at the heart of the campus in 2014 will pay dividends for years to come. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Video is that, at 30 frames per second.

Dr. Shay David is a scholar and serial entrepreneur, specialising in collaborative and open-source information and communication systems. Shay is the co-founder of Kaltura (www.kaltura.com) and also a founding member of the Open Video Alliance, an organisation dedicated to open standards for video.

 

November 8th, 2013

You Can Have Your Own Netflix – it’s Called MediaGo™

by Iddo Shai

kaltura_mediagoIf you have ever been to the Kaltura office in New York, you know that from our conference room window we see Union Square and the place where the Virgin Megastore once stood. Today, what used to be a massive music store with dozens of listening stations (and a special section for Japanese imports!) is now a very big bank.

Virgin Megastores was joined yesterday by Blockbuster, which announced it would shut down all of its remaining video rental stores. The company, now owned by Dish, will continue operating its online video streaming service.

In 1999, Blockbuster was valued at $4.8 billion and around that time Virgin had about 23 music stores and revenue of $280 million annually. No doubt, much has changed.

Coincidently, yesterday we at Kaltura announced our latest product – Kaltura MediaGo™. “An out of the box Netflix” that offers a turn-key solution to have your own content store up and running very quickly.

MediaGo is another stage in the natural evolution of television, film, music, education and enterprise culture. Driven by powerful cloud services, low storage costs and proliferation of connected devices – many media companies, telecom service providers, content rights holders and independent producers can now monetize their content easily and cost-effectively. This is usually referred to as over-the-top delivery (OTT), but what it really means is that technology is now leveling the playing field not only for disruptors like Netflix and iTunes but for any business entity that owns quality content.

Beyond OTT, MediaGo also captures the strongest trends in the online video platform space. Since 2006 Kaltura has been a pioneer in online video with its open and flexible approach that allowed news and entertainment companies to utilize our strong API offering to create their own customized video experience. However, in recent months, as we have been tracking the news and entertainment markets, we noticed a strong need for an out-of-the-box content store that is easy to manage by the content providers and very intuitive for the consumers to use.

Kaltura PlayerMediaGo is designed to do just that. Basically, all that the content providers need to do is to add content (and set their price). For the user, subscription is easy and navigating the site feels intuitive and familiar. From a technology perspective, what’s still powering all of this under the hood is the same strong Kaltura API set. These include our industry leading video player, HD adaptive streaming, fast upload, DRM support, geo-blocking, custom metadata, content recommendation, analytics, easy site customization and of course the entire e-billing and user management aspects.

We believe that the business opportunity here is huge and we will keep writing about it in the coming weeks and months. But before I conclude, let me go back to my favorite place in New York circa 2003.

Gremlins in santaAs much as I loved spending endless hours in the Virgin Megastore at Union Square I know today that it wasn’t perfect. Why? Well, because it was a mega store. Sure, it had all the content I loved but it also offered massive amount of stuff I didn’t care for (sorry Gremlins dolls in Santa Suits). And much of this mega store experience still exists. YouTube is a mega store, iTunes is a mega store and Amazon is… probably the ultimate example. These stores are not going away, but that doesn’t mean your viewers are not looking for a new, more focused, personal and entertaining video experience.

Read more:

- Kaltura Introduces MediaGo, Its ‘Netflix-In-A-Box’ Portal For Media Companies (Techcrunch)

- Kaltura Now Offers Easy OTT Subscription Based Video Platform (ReelSEO)

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 28th, 2013

The Beatles Recorded BBC Sessions – Listen Now With Kaltura

by Charlotte.Copeman

The Beatles

Exclusive to THEBEATLES.COM, here is the first ever stream of She Loves You from Live at the BBC Vol 2 streamed through the Kaltura player! The much coveted and previously unreleased recordings and studio chatter by the Beatles will be released on November 11th and you can get a preview and hear some of your favourite Beatles tracks through the Kaltura player on The Beatles website

This version was taped for the fifth anniversary of Saturday Club on the 7 September 1963 at the BBC Playhouse Theatre, London. The Beatles’ biggest selling single in Britain spent twelve weeks in the Top Three, including two stints at number one.

These recordings are being made public for the first time ever, and include some of the bands’ early hits plus coverage of songs recorded at the BBC in 1963 and 1964. There will be much loved favourites including ‘Lucille’ and ‘The Hippy Hippy Shake’.

In addition to the tracks, the album will have exclusive audio of the group talking to the BBC’s radio presenters.

The new album, ‘On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2′, follows the hugely successful ‘Live at the BBC’ album issued in 1994, which sold more than five million copies around the world in six weeks.

The Beatles performed a huge catalogue of songs across 275 performances at the BBC between March 1962 and June 1965.

They appeared on 39 radio shows in 1963 and, on one single day, recorded 18 songs for three editions of their Pop Go The Beatles series in a session lasting less than seven hours.

In total they played 88 different songs, most done in one take with little time to correct mistakes!

Visit the site to hear your favourite classics now!

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.