By: Steve Vonder Haar
To make your webcasting world more efficient, it may pay to take some lessons from Henry Ford.
The father of mass production transformed the automobile industry a century ago by standardizing assembly lines, making it easier and cheaper to make cars. Today, a good, healthy dose of that same type of standardization applied to your streaming initiatives could go a long way in helping video become a more central part of your business communications toolbox.
In an enterprise environment where video can sometimes seem exotic and difficult to implement, organizations must strive to deploy technology platforms with features that literally make it possible to bring streaming into the mainstream. That means investing in a video ecosystem that simplifies the process of producing, managing and distributing content.
Here are a few features that you should look for in streaming solutions that can help you unleash your own inner Henry Ford to create a smoother video assembly line at your organization:
- Ingest from Varied Video Sources: Where possible, deploy streaming platforms that can process different types of video inputs. If an ecosystem can handle video from webcams, video conferencing units, capture appliances, smartphones and other devices, fewer barriers will exist to keep you from getting streaming content from the camera to the user’s screen.
- Consider Hosted Options: Software solutions managed from the cloud make it possible for employees in multiple locations to access comparable platform features, regardless of their geography. But this does not imply that you should limit evaluation to pure cloud solutions. “Hybrid” offerings combining elements of hosted capabilities with on-premises equipment also can provide the desired platform flexibility.
- Simplify Format Choices: Today’s video can be digitized in a dizzying array of digital formatting options. Moving forward, this video smorgasbord may be slimmed through the use of video formats suitable for use on multiple platforms. One format drawing significant attention now is HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) – the format native to Apple’s iOS universe that also plays on a range of other devices. Another emerging option is the MPEG-DASH video standard. An organization that has the infrastructure to embrace HLS or MPEG-DASH today would be able to eliminate some of the complexity typically associated with the use of different video formats in the enterprise.
- Automate Content Tagging: Some streaming platforms offer features that use speech-to-text conversion capabilities or optical character recognition to generate keywords that can be used in content searches. The ability to create such searchable content without human intervention makes it easier and cheaper to keep tabs on the information available in video archives.
- Implement “YouTube for the Enterprise”: Many streaming platforms offer solutions that make it possible for employees to upload their own videos to share with others in the organization. Such capabilities empower a broader range of individuals to put video to work in their day-to-day business activities.
- Create Templates for Tallying Viewership: Today’s viewership analytics tools can generate a blizzard of data on who watched a video, when they watched it, and what they were doing while engaged with the video content. Platforms that offer standardized reporting templates for packaging viewer analytics can help executives sort through the data clutter to focus only on the pre-determined viewership metrics important to them.
It is true that the nature of video precludes a complete homogenization of the video production process. Too many variables exist, keeping video from truly reaching the manufacturing elegance of Ford’s Model T. But keeping the values of standardization in mind while selecting a streaming solution could put you in the drivers’ seat when it comes to squeezing value from your investments in streaming technologies.
Steve Vonder Haar is a Senior Analyst with Wainhouse Research and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org