Blog: Syncing up
Martin Finlayson, September 7, 2012
Let’s imagine a common scenario, you’re in the audience for a presentation, it doesn’t matter what it’s about as it’s the process itself I want to examine. What are you experiencing? The format that will be familiar to most of us will be seeing and hearing the presenter and viewing whatever content they are talking about. In other words 3 feeds, the audio and video of the presenter and the data channel from the display device.
Now imagine that you are watching the same presentation but this time you are at home on your computer either watching the event live or a recorded version sometime after. In essence that is exactly what synchronised rich media is all about, the ability to transmit an A/V stream and synchronise some other data channel to it.
For most of you this should be nothing new, the technology has been around since the late 90′s and there are a multitude of companies and products out there that will carry out this process in one way or another.
Now as you should’ve twigged by now the main thread of this blog is about pulling things together. Having little islands of excellence inside an organisation is a gross undersell of a capability and severely hampers its uptake across the business. Nowhere does this become more apparent than synchronised rich media platforms. The root of the problem is that unlike say VC there are no standards dictating how these platforms work.
In essence a customer is at the mercy of their chosen vendor as to how a system does what it does and whether it continues to do it that way. Or it takes a radical departure midway through its life leaving you with bucket of legacy content. So how do you help your customer decide what is the best solution for them in this brave new world of holistic video strategies?
The best place to start is with the process itself, capture, delivery, storage and portal access. How do you want to capture the presentations and what options do you need? Is it a dedicated piece of equipment or can you use a PC for instance? Do you need to support other contribution technologies such as UC or VC clients? Is there an option for creating per-recorded material from the component parts – video file and a ppt slide deck for instance?
How do you want it delivered? Is it your infrastructure? Are you renting space on someone else’s? Or is it a mixture of both? What client devices do you to have to support and how many?
Do you need to edit the content afterwards to increase its shelf-life? What skills do you have in-house to do that? What else does it have to interface with, AD, existing CMS or LMS for instance? Where do you want the content stored? If it is being hosted for you what do the long-term costs look like if it grows significantly in size or becomes hugely popular? What’s the process for porting your content somewhere else if you choose to change provider in the future? Finally how do you want your users to access the content? What sort of portal, security, and account management do you need? How is the content tagged for searching purposes? Do you have to support multi-tenancy in your business for instance?
All of these issues should be taken into consideration before you choose any vendor over another, even if it is only for a pilot. Remember no matter how small something is to begin with, the moment you start recording you are potentially committing to a format.