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KM past and future—Fixing the pain points

Panopto has developed an end-to-end solution called Panopto Focus for video capture and presentation, which is efficient and more economical than many alternatives. It can use a webcam, digital camera, high-end video or audio alone, and synchronizes on screen activity with the video or audio. Used mainly in the higher education market now, it is also suitable for many other settings to capture video and other simultaneous input such as a PowerPoint presentation. The video shows up in one window and the presentation in the other, so the camera does not have to pan back and forth.

College apps

At the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University, Panopto Focus is being used for several different purposes. In one case, student presentations are captured as part of a class on presentation skills, and the instructor then evaluates the student.

“Previously, we had to set up a video camera, microphone and then upload the resulting presentation separately,” says Eva Bradshaw, director of educational technologies at Fisher. “Now, with one push of the button we can start the capture process and have it automatically upload the presentation for the instructor’s review.”

Although Fisher is not recording all lectures, it is using Panopto Focus to capture some of them. “During a summer course, an instructor had to be away at a conference for one class,” Bradshaw says, “so he recorded the presentation for that day. Students did not have to miss out on material because there was a scheduling conflict. We archived it and the lecture was available for that week.” Similarly, when orientation was held for incoming MBA students and some could not attend, they were able to watch a video version of each talk.

Fisher is also using Panopto Focus for tutorials on SharePoint and other IT applications. “In this case, we use an audio narration as Panopto captures the screen that the instructor is discussing,” Bradshaw explains. “As the instructor moves from screen to screen, the narration is synchronized because it’s all captured together.”

Searchability is key

Panopto is the product of research at Carnegie Mellon University, which attempted to bring a digital library-style approach to distance learning video. The core use case for Panopto is to provide high-quality presentation capture capabilities to anyone with a computer, regardless of technical sophistication. Because anyone can now record, publish, edit and search those multimedia presentations, the product is often used to quickly and inexpensively capture daily lectures or, for users in knowledge-intensive industries, information that might otherwise be lost.

“A senior IT architect discussing the architecture of a component for new engineering hires is a good example,” says Eric Burns, CTO of Panopto. “Searchability is the key to useful content, so we also offer an inexpensive transcription service to make the video easily searchable by someone who wants to find a particular segment.” Viewers of Panopto content also have the option of taking notes in a chat-like window, and those notes are also searchable. “Our vision for the product is focused on making sure that everything you record with Panopto is easy to find and easy to navigate,” Burns adds.

The lack of metadata associated with rich media, compared to that available in text documents, makes discovery difficult. It also poses problems for integrating video content information into knowledge management solutions. A software service from RAMP automatically generates text transcriptions and metadata from audio and video content so that it can be integrated into existing ECM systems and located using their search engines. RAMP can also host search that is able to integrate the processed rich media with all other content types into a single search experience.

“Video has become a critical communication tool in the enterprise,” says Nathan Treloar, VP of technology for strategic markets at RAMP, “but users need to be able to find the information they want using familiar tools. This is generally difficult to do with video and audio content.” RAMP’s solution addresses that by tagging keywords and phrases correlated with specific events in the video timeline. The tags are created by automated analysis of the transcriptions and can be edited using a Web-based console. In addition, they can be placed along the timeline as cue points. RAMP’s solution allows users to search for segments within the video, jump directly to the points where tags are found, and find video and other content related to specific segments.

E-discovery hot spots

E-discovery remains another pain point and one that will come as an unpleasant surprise to companies that are not prepared. Two major issues combine to form the nexus of this particular challenge. The first is the difficulty of knowing where all the relevant material is and what it covers. “Organizations put themselves at risk because they don’t know what’s out there or where it is,” says Colby Dyess, director of product management at Digital Reef. “You may lose content that is critical to the defense, or miss out on information that the opposing counsel becomes aware of before your company does.”

Of particular concern is the “unmanaged” content that is not under control of an ECM or records management system. Blogs, wikis and the sometimes thousands of SharePoint collaboration sites used in an organization are all fair game. The Digital Reef Virtual Governance Warehouse is a platform for e-discovery and information governance that indexes, organizes and manages unstructured data across SharePoint resources to provide access to otherwise unmanaged information assets. It also provides visibility into data in repositories from leading systems from EMC, IBM and Oracle.

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