By William Atkinson
Higher education organizations are typically known for slower enterprise technology adoption cycles. For example, while the shared services concept is being widely used in corporate America, it has only recently gained a tentative foothold on college campuses.
However, one area where higher education is ahead of the private sector involves the use of video. For example, lecture capture exists at many leading universities. As enterprise video takes off, CIOs need to be front of the conversation and create a video strategy for their organizations, including the use of video for training, sales, customer service, and a channel on YouTube. Learning from tech leaders in university settings is an excellent way to get started.
One university setting where video technology is well in place is Creighton University, a Catholic Jesuit university in Omaha, Neb., which has teamed up with Panopto, a company that provides video capture and management software for educators, businesses and government agencies.
Creighton began considering the idea of videotaping lectures in 2009, and the concept has been growing exponentially in subsequent years. Between fall 2010 and July 2013, the university has recorded 22,400 sessions, for a total of 17,353 hours. The number of viewed sessions is quickly approaching 500,000, with a total viewing of almost 200,000 hours. The disk space comprises 6,357 GB.
Besides the video capture of lectures, Creighton is also using video technology to live-stream certain campus events, such as graduation ceremonies.
“We are also using video for iOS applications on mobile devices, which allows our faculty and others to use their mobile devices for iOS applications outside of campus,” says Brent Saltzman, application administrator. “For example, a nutrition instructor can videotape food labels while at a grocery store, store the information, and make it available to students.”
While the video strategy has proven to be useful and effective, one initial challenge involved adequate storage. “However, Panopto was very helpful to us in this area,” says Saltzman. “We ended up getting through a lot of this using virtual-based technology.”
In addition, Panopto also allows for storage expansion as Creighton’s usage scales up. “We can increase storage capacity as needed,” Saltzman says. “And, over time, we will delete certain content when it is no longer needed.”
Creighton hasn’t experienced any challenges with network capacity. “One technology Panopto uses is adaptive bitrate streaming, so they can actually scale down and adapt to the bandwidth, and then go from there,” Saltzman says.
For businesses and other organizations interested in exploring a comprehensive video management strategy, Saltzman recommends considering the “one-stop shop” option, with a company like Panopto. “Before we began working with Panopto, we had a very convoluted and inefficient way to doing video,” he says. “Someone would have to call a department to schedule a technician with a camera, do the shoot, edit it, and then figure out how to make it available. Once you have Panopto technology set up, everything happens automatically. You don’t need to hire technicians, video engineers, producers and directors.”