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Digital asset management: It’s a visual world

This article appears in the issue October 2014, [Vol 23 Issue 9]
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Videos, images, photographs—more and more information is being conveyed visually. Enterprise knowledge sharing, marketing and many other applications for visual content are growing rapidly. Cisco estimates that by 2018, nearly 80 percent of Internet traffic will be video. Capturing, organizing and presenting rich media is a dynamic business.

Any company that has recorded a live conference knows the challenges of obtaining high-quality video. Expensive specialized equipment must be procured, along with the technical experts to operate it. Often, not enough equipment is available to record concurrent presentations, so not all of them can be included. Afterward, a prolonged editing process may be required, taking away momentum from the conference and delaying accessibility to those who could not attend. Finally, once the video is produced, users may have trouble finding relevant segments, because search capability is often lacking.

Siemens PLM Software, a business unit of the Siemens Industry Automation Division, solved those problems with Panopto, a knowledge sharing video platform. Last year, Siemens PLM Software wanted to record sessions from a large three-day conference held in Madrid in a cost-effective way that still provided good-quality videos. Tom Doyle, director of Curriculum Development for Siemens PLM Software, had used Panopto previously, and saw it as a good fit for his organization. After the Siemens PLM (SPLM) Learning & Development team conducted a successful pilot project to support video-based training and onboarding, the company made a decision to use it at the conference.

In previous conferences, the breakout sessions posed the greatest challenge in making recordings. The main plenary sessions were to be captured on a webcam that recorded audio and video of the speaker, and PowerPoint presentations synched later. However, that method did not work well in breakout sessions. “We had tried setting up camcorders in the breakout sessions,” Doyle says, “but the technical problems were significant, especially setting up the sound. With so many sessions, synching the PowerPoint presentations took a long time and was expensive.”

Better availability

Instead, Doyle created a step-by-step written guide to instruct presenters on how to download and launch the Panopto software. USB microphones were provided to capture the audio, and the PowerPoint presentations were captured from the laptops already in synch with the audio. The process went smoothly (no failures in installation, recording or uploading), and within a week, others were able to view the sessions. “People want to see the session presentation right after a conference, not months later,” Doyle explains. “Panopto took care of this problem too. Within a week, people were able to view the sessions online.”

One of the primary factors in the decision to use Panopto was its ability to record on the presenter’s laptop without being tethered to the Internet. Some similar products require an Internet connection. “We can record anywhere, anytime,” says Doyle, “whether it’s a hotel conference room, a presenter’s home office or a huge convention hall.” In addition, the software is easy to use. “Presenters want to be focused on sharing their knowledge with others, not on technology,” Doyle adds.

Panopto indexes video to make it searchable by title, author and date, and also makes all the spoken portions of presentations searchable by use of speech recognition. “Once a recording is in our library,” says Doyle, “users can search on a topic, keyword, speaker name or event name to quickly isolate only those topics of interest. This is a huge improvement over traditional searches that return hundreds of results. When users want to view a presentation, Panopto produces instant results targeted at the viewers’ interests.”

The SPLM Learning & Development team is also responsible for e-learning courseware and instructor-led classroom training for more than 6,000 Siemens associates. Using Panopto, Siemens is able to capture events wherever they take place, and share them with associates throughout the world. “Going forward, our goal is to tie all Panopto recordings into our learning management system to increase the global reach of important, timely topics created by subject matter experts,” Doyle says.

Improving the experience

For better or for worse, consumers are demanding not only to be informed but also to be engaged and even entertained. A low-quality, static image is not sufficient for today’s sophisticated and sometimes fickle online shoppers.

Otto.com is the largest online store for fashion and lifestyle in Germany. It sells a wide variety of items, including apparel, furniture, electronics, toys and sporting goods. Its Web content management system required that images be saved in dozens of formats for different e-commerce systems. Changing an image in the Web content management system was expensive and time-consuming.

To address that issue, Otto evaluated numerous solutions, and selected Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), a solution for managing and delivering all types of rich media. It enables the creation of digital assets that provide an optimal customer experience on the Web, via mobile apps and in social communities. AEM provides dynamic multimedia management, which allows the use of a single set of master images that can be modified to adjust size, color, format and zoom.

Customers can now view consistent, high-quality images that can be appropriately scaled for multiple devices, from the desktop to mobile devices. They can also zoom in on images to enlarge specific portions of them, and play videos that demonstrate Otto’s products. The company has noted a positive impact on buyers and return behavior as a result of the enhanced delivery of its media assets.

Expectations

AEM manages rich media assets from the production stage through delivery within one platform, which simplifies the process for marketers and reduces time to delivery. Other digital asset management systems often use a separate online video platform to encode, publish and deliver videos. AEM includes metadata and taxonomy management, workflow and collaborative capabilities.

Consumers have high expectations about how visual information is presented on the Internet. “In retailing, a simple image does not quite cut it now, especially at the high end,” says Elliot Sedegah, senior product marketing manager for AEM, “Customers need to be able to engage with the product by zooming in to see the features close up, rotating the item or even watching a video about it, especially on a mobile device.”

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