By: Steve Vonder Haar
Are you trying to figure out what makes video valuable in your organization? You very well may develop an understanding of what’s important while taking a look in the back of your closet.
At least that’s the case for pack-rats like me who are likely to find a bittersweet experience when cleaning out a long-neglected storage area. On one hand, there’s always that thrill that comes with uncovering a valued item that seemingly has been lost to time. But, in the next moment, you could be kicking yourself for letting such worthwhile things gather dust and go unused.
If you can empathize with the challenges of dealing with household clutter, you already recognize the pitfalls that can come with using video in the enterprise. Everyone loves video. No argument there. Video helps deliver corporate messages in a vibrant, engaging manner.
The challenge comes when video – particularly video of the on-demand variety – becomes TOO popular within an organization. Without good technologies that help in the process of keeping tabs on all of this video, the value of the content can be lost as it languishes in labyrinthine archives.
After all, even having a collection equivalent to the Smithsonian doesn’t mean a whole lot if you can’t find the right piece of information when you need it. Without a structure for sorting and cataloging all titles, your trove of delightful knick-knacks suddenly looks a lot like clutter.
If you want to avoid that terrible fate of becoming a disheveled digital video hoarder, you can do something about it. Here are three tips for putting you on the road to restoring a sense of order to those streaming archives.
Get religious about metadata: Any archive is only as good as its filing system. Unfortunately, the laws of Boolean search popularized by Google do not automatically apply to video content. Instead, content creators have to leave bread crumbs for online searchers if they want the world to find their videos. To the extent possible, make sure to marry videos with descriptive narratives of the featured speakers and their topics. Such clues provide a starting point that helps the right piece of content bubble to the surface at the right time.
Explore automation: Truth be told, the task of typing in metadata for a video file can be a buzzkill for content creators just looking to post their presentations online. Given this truth of human nature, look for technology solutions that help automate the process of creating metadata. Some solutions will scan and extract relevant keywords from PowerPoint slides presented in a webcast. Others will automatically engage in speech-to-text translation, creating a searchable document. The bonus of such automated systems is that they can be programmed to mark the specific spot in a video presentation where a phrase is mentioned. That makes it possible for searchers to find the exact point where a search term of interest is referenced in a video.
Consider a Channel Structure: Sometimes even metadata solutions need a helping hand. Not every reference – whether tagged by human or machine – will produce a complete set of relevant video content to match a search query. Look to leverage online video portals that can cluster presentation of comparable videos centering on a specific topic. For instance, all the “marketing” videos appear in one channel while all the videos on “human resources” issues appear in another channel. By organizing related videos in a single interface, it becomes possible for us humans to sort through a smaller pile of content on our own. If lucky, we might even find content that gets overlooked in searches of metadata content.
Such discoveries do not represent a failure of metadata. Rather, it’s a victory for individuals willing to do whatever is needed to get the job done. In many ways, automating the metadata and search process is a lot like using a Roomba robot to clean your house. That Roomba can do a great job on the floors, but if you want to clean out those closets, sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and finish the job yourself.
Steve Vonder Haar is a Senior Analyst with Wainhouse Research and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org