• by Tammy Jackson
    on September 16, 2014
    3 Streaming Tips That Could Have Saved Apple's Live Event

    Anyone who has ever planned a hybrid event has had sweat-inducing nightmares about failure.

    “As an event planner, you’re already sticking your neck on the line with all the stuff you’re doing at the event. Then someone says we want to broadcast everything over the web and make it publically-facing. At that point it doesn’t matter if your in-person event goes perfectly. If the stream fails, it’s a failure,” says Donny Neufuss, senior account manager for Mediasite Events.

    Something Apple knows only too well after the stream of its highly-anticipated product launch failed last week. Thousands of outraged would-be viewers turned to Twitter to air their grievances, and a new hashtag was born: #thingsbetterthanapplelive. Dan Rayburn from Streaming Media wrote a comprehensive diagnosis here

    Donny says, “Preparation and planning are so important. But that’s only part of the picture. It’s also important to know when to call in a pro to architect your big events.”

    He’s got three simple tips to ensure your next hybrid event highlights the content (not the mistakes) and makes the planner look like a star.

    1. Going hybrid? Keep it simple.

    Donny says that while embedded interactive elements are cool, proceed with caution. “When you embed a live stream onto a web page there are a lot of things happening all at once. All of the little pieces – slides, branding, ads – all of that contributes to the load you’re putting on the infrastructure,” he says.

    “Embedding a Twitter feed and calling it a day is no big deal with 50 viewers. But if you have thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, you better allocate the resources to load that feed. If you don’t architect that part in addition to your streaming you’ll be in serious trouble.

    2. Test, test, test. Think you got it? Test again.

    How do we avoid capacity issues, delayed video streams or having the wrong audio play? “We test the day before, and we don’t just load the test onto our iPad onsite. We find people in locations that are going to be watching and get them to watch the test. You find out very quickly that different parts of the world have different issues with internet and bandwidth, and you need adequate time to diagnose that.”

     3. Work with people you trust.

    “We stream and capture content for hundreds of events and meetings like this. That’s why our events crew exists. That’s our only job,” says Donny. “We take on a lot of mission-critical stuff that event organizers would otherwise have to figure out themselves. With us, they’re able to focus on other aspects of the event, trusting that the live stream will go smoothly.

    Want to see what Mediasite Events can do for your next event? Click here to learn more.  

  • by Nicole Wise
    on September 10, 2014
    Blackboard Creates New Online Program, ‘K-12 Live,’ with Mediasite, Attendance Skyrockets

    When Blackboard heard from its K-12 customers that a trip to Las Vegas for its annual user conference, BbWorld®, was unrealistic due to budget and time constraints, the world’s leading education technology company had to think outside the box.

    Leveraging its ongoing partnership with Sonic Foundry, Blackboard launched a brand new digital program, K-12 Live, specifically for K-12 teachers, principals, administrators and the broader community that would run in conjunction with BbWorld, which took place earlier this summer. K-12 Live registrants were treated to free, live-streamed sessions that focused on topics such as Common Core, new models for learning, social media and bullying. All of the sessions were streamed by Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite Events team, and are also available on-demand here. (You just need to sign up first.) Online attendees could watch from any location —classrooms, armchairs or even from large viewing parties in satellite locations.

    Blackboard intentionally brought in speakers with large social media followings to ensure a lively and relevant discussion on topics that matter most to the community. And it definitely worked.

    “The spirit of K-12 Live mirrored that of the larger BbWorld conference: the facilitation of rich and authentic discussions about the future of education and how technology plays a critical role in getting us there,” said David Feder, Vice President of Digital Marketing at Blackboard. “While we have historically had a small K-12 audience at BbWorld, we wanted to make sure our customers and industry-leaders from this market were also able to engage in these important conversations and hear from their peers. It was an overwhelming success with over 2,500 registrants over the course of three days – and content is still being watched and shared. I couldn’t be prouder of the success this program had in its inaugural year and am excited to see how we grow it.”

    In addition to K-12 Live, Mediasite Events also captured BbWorld’s keynotes and select sessions for registered attendees to watch live or on-demand.

  • by Nicole Wise
    on September 08, 2014

    Mediasite Showcase, Sonic Foundry’s new online video portal, allows you to create an online destination for all your Mediasite content and gives you a quick way to create a corporate or campus YouTube.

    So how does it work? Watch this short video below from Sonic Foundry’s Director of Marketing Kristin Zurovitch to learn more: 

    Take a guided tour of Mediasite Showcase: 

    Or, to experience it first hand, visit sofo.mediasite.com/mediasite/showcase.

    P.S., Kristin created her tour of the Showcase using My Mediasite’s screencast recording tool. 

  • by Nicole Wise
    on August 26, 2014
    Back to School: The World View of this Year’s College Freshmen, Class of 2018

    (Photo: Beloit Mindset List authors Tom McBride and Ron Nief visited Sonic Foundry's studio to give a sneak peek at this year's Mindset List last week. They'll be back Sept. 3 for a live webinar.) 

    When the college class of 2018, born in 1996, arrives on campus in the coming days, their world view will be quite distinct from their professors. For example:

    • During their initial weeks of kindergarten, they were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center.
    • Since they binge-watch their favorite TV shows, they might like to binge-watch the video portions of their courses too.
    • When they see wire-rimmed glasses, they think Harry Potter, not John Lennon.
    • Joe Camel has never introduced one of them to smoking.
    • There has always been “TV” designed to be watched exclusively on the web.
    • Attending schools outside their neighborhoods, they gather with friends on Skype, not in their local park.
    • “Good feedback” means getting 30 likes on their last Facebook post in a single afternoon.

    Each August since 1998, Beloit College in Wisconsin has released the much anticipated Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones and experiences that have shaped the worldview of students entering colleges and universities. Over the years the list has spawned two books, countless international news stories, dozens of imitators and even some detractors.

    Here’s a sneak peak at what one of the authors, Tom McBride, has to say about video in the classroom:

    Tom and his fellow author Ron Nief will be in our studio Sept. 3 to present a live Mediasite webinar. They’ll discuss the list and answer your questions about bridging the cultural divide (if there even is one) between the generations. The webinar is available for free here

  • by Nicole Wise
    on August 18, 2014

    Instructure was ‘Calling All Heroes’ from across the globe at its fourth annual user conference, InstructureCon, earlier this summer in Park City, Utah.

    More than 1,500 education professionals who use the company’s learning management system, Canvas, were on site to network and learn from each other during the outdoor conference. Attendees donned superhero capes while Star Wars Storm troopers, Superman, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Spiderman and more wandered the conference floor.

    But what would a superhero-themed conference be without a villain? Incomplete. So, of course, a summer snowstorm struck Park City, leaving some attendees unable to make it to the conference and others hunkered down in their hotel rooms. All of the outdoor sessions had to be moved indoors.

    Luckily the Mediasite Events team was already on site planning to live stream the keynotes to the world. When the storm hit, the team came to the rescue by recording more conference sessions to keep dispersed attendees engaged.

    “Mediasite 100 percent saved our lives this year. It was a little bit stressful for those in charge, but luckily we had Mediasite in place for live streaming,” said event coordinator Carly Ray.

    There wasn’t an indoor space large enough to hold all the attendees, so the majority of people watched the presenters in one large room, and Mediasite live streamed it to several smaller spaces so everyone could participate in real-time.

    By noon the next day the weather was beautiful, albeit a little wet. The show went on as planned outside on a large stage with a mountain backdrop.

    “Instructure and the AV staff were great. Everyone really pulled together and made for a successful event,” said Chip Humble, Sonic Foundry Event Services Technician. “Things happen and it’s a live event, so you have to deal with it. As usual, everything came together at the right moment.

    Aside from the weather, offering some of the sessions online with Mediasite allowed Instructure to reach a larger audience — the sessions were viewed nearly 1,000 times live and on-demand.

    “It was really great for us because part of our audience is K-12 educators and unfortunately a lot of them just don’t have the travel budget to get out to our conference. Normally they would miss out on a lot of those discussions, but we were able to offer those larger sessions to them for free,” Ray said. “We want to get people engaged at home online next year so we plan to live stream even more sessions with Mediasite going forward.”

    Watch the InstructureCon 2014 presentations here.

    (P.S. Sonic Foundry is a certified Instructure partner, allowing Mediasite to seamlessly integrate with Canvas. Learn all about that here.)

    Event webcasting, Events
  • by Tammy Jackson
    on August 14, 2014
    Big Data On Campus? Manage Video

    The data is in and the answer is yes. Yes, campus video consumption is growing unabated; yes, desktop and mobile video creation combined with room capture shows the most accelerated growth; and YES, universities are now seeking the best way to move the mountains of unmanaged campus video into secure environments.

    Read on for a candid Q&A and video clip with Sean Brown, Senior Vice President of Sonic Foundry, the leader of the lecture capture revolution. He’s compiled all the research – from real data on student use of academic video to the increased adoption of flipped classrooms.

    How fast is video growing? 

    Video growth is astronomical. Cisco predicts that by 2018, nearly 70% of all data traversing the internet is going to be video. That's five million years of video viewing crossing the internet every month.

    There’s evidence that we, in academe, are participating in this rapid video growth.  According to Sloan-C’s annual report, Grade Change, over 7.1 million students are taking at least one online course. And those courses have increasingly come to include video. 

    Finally, research from the Center for Digital Education tells us at least half of all faculty are flipping their classes, or are in the planning stages of doing so. This pedagogy has dramatically increased the quality ratings of the use of the video in education.

    Is academic video an important part of the video explosion?

    It’s more important than you think, and the data backs it up.

    We’ve done our own research on this and found that at minimum, a student watches a Mediasite-based video every single second of every single day. That's amazing to me. There were more than 30 million unique views of academic content inside Mediasite last year alone. I guarantee the numbers are going to be even higher next year.

    Here’s another way to look at it. Mediasite views are growing by 89% and content creation is growing by 49% year over year. This is a rapid explosion of contribution to internet video that exceeds the growth rate of entertainment video online. In other words, while we're just at the beginning in a small minority of the type of video that's on the internet overall, we're moving faster than Hollywood.

    Are you seeing any other video trends in higher education?

    We've seen a shift in how people want to consume the video with the BYOD phenomenon. You no longer have to wait to view something on your PC. You can be on the train, at the park or in a coffee shop consuming the highest quality video you've ever seen.

    And we're seeing people watch on a wide variety of platforms. For example, a person will start a video at their desk, move to a tablet and then consume the same video from their mobile phone, all in the same day. Universities have to support that.

    What do institutions need to be planning for?

    There are almost as many applications for how to use video in academe as there are videos projected to be on the internet by 2018, including blended learning, professional development, recruitment and orientation, lifetime learning, campus events, sporting events and more. But all of the video leads to one place on a centralized platform in order to realize the value that the enterprise needs.

    If you can schedule a classroom from the room scheduling system, that's a good thing. If you can integrate with the student information system for security and to know who's registered, that's a good thing. If you can create video on any device and still manage it in a central location, that’s a good thing.

    What are you big data predictions when it comes to video?

    I predict that in the next year we’ll be talking most about search. That’s emerging as the most critical element, it’s one of the things we're famous for, and has become amazingly important in the last 12 to 18 months. Once you get all of that video to a centralized platform, it becomes a big data problem without robust search.

    It's hard to know what's inside a single video. Who watched it? What was said? Can I break it down and mix it? What other factors does it apply to? Therefore, we’ve put a lot of effort into search, including tagging, creating metadata, and searching the spoken word to make video as referenceable as any document.

    What’s the future of academic video?

    Students are going to want to be able to search across an available library of video based knowledge, regardless of what class they sat in or their memory of it. They’re going to want to do topic-based searches. They're going to want to do mashups. They're going to want to do online editing. So will the faculty. We’ve put a lot of effort into tagging, creating metadata and searching the spoken word to make it easy to know what’s inside a video. And we're ready.

    To learn more watch the webinar, Big Data? Manage Video



  • by Nicole Wise
    on August 13, 2014
    17 Rides, 2,550 Miles and $1M Raised: Sonic Streamers Bike for a MS Cure

    About 17 years ago Sonic Foundry CFO Ken Minor’s wife, Karen, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. At the time there were only three medications on the market.

    “I felt like we needed to do something to raise as much money as possible to go towards funding research and finding a cure for this disease before Karen became permanently impacted by it,” Ken said.

    So, he founded the Sonic Streamers team to participate in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s annual 150-mile Bike MS: Best Dam Bike Ride from Milwaukee to Madison, which took place this year Aug. 2-3. What started as a group of six riders 16 years ago has grown to more than 100 — and includes Sonic Foundry employees and their friends and family. To date, the Sonic Streamers team has raised more than $1 million and is one of only two teams in Wisconsin to reach that milestone.

    We’ve had tremendous success. It’s really rewarding to think about the kind of impact that we can have,” Ken said, adding that Karen rode a portion of the ride with him. “It’s so important to do what we can now and hopefully reach the $2 million mark even faster.”

    Sonic Foundry Software Design Engineer Ryan Mechelke joined the Sonic Streamers last year. One of Ryan’s friends has been riding on the team for years to support her mother who has MS. Ryan wasn’t able to ride this year due to an injury but he had such a great time last year that he decided to participate every year that he can.

    “It was incredibly inspiring and made me very happy knowing that I was helping to raise awareness,” Ryan said. “My favorite moment last year was a woman and her family who were parked on the side of the road along the route. She had a big sign saying ‘I have MS, thank you for riding!’ I saw several people stop, get off of their bikes, walk over to her and give her a big hug.”

    According to the National MS Society, multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body. Millions of people are affected by MS, however the severity and specific symptoms can’t yet be predicted. Thanks in part to funding from events like the bike ride and the generous donations Ken and his team have received over the years, the number of FDA-approved medications on the market has grown to 13.

    Learn more about the ride in this Baraboo News Republic article and how to help here.

  • by Tammy Jackson
    on August 12, 2014
    30 Minutes to Smarter Meetings – Webinar Series

    Believe it or not, meetings serve a greater purpose than just delivering messages, goals and incentive information. They directly influence employees’ loyalty and connection to the company. With their satisfaction at stake, how do you ensure your communication is hitting the mark?

    Fresh from the Incentive Research Foundation’s Annual Invitational and armed with the industry’s best research, Lynn Randall, head of Randall Insights, and Sandi Daniel, IRF chair, have the insider’s guide that will help you elevate the strategic outcomes of meetings and incentive travel programs, and put your best foot forward when addressing a remote audience.

    We guarantee you’ll learn best practices on how to employ meeting technology that gets results. Join Lynn, Sandi and Donny Neufuss, senior account manager for Mediasite Events, for an introductory webinar to kick off the series; followed by two 30-minute, engaging and knowledge-packed sessions. Learn more and sign up to watch here

    If you missed part one of our Smarter Meetings Series, don’t worry. There’s still time to catch it on demand

  • by Lawrence Grafton
    on July 03, 2014
    How Dell Revitalized Corporate Communications with Video

    (Photo: Dell employees record a video using My Mediasite by Sonic Foundry. Credit: Lawrence Grafton) 

    Companies are increasingly engaging employees with video for corporate communications and trainings. They’re fast-tracking their sophisticated enterprise video strategies and putting the power of content creation into the hands of their employees.

    Find out how Dell achieved return-on-investment, increased communication and realized efficiencies by championing a small video project and turning it into a large-scale, mission-critical, transformative communication platform.

    Building deeper connections
    It all started about two years ago at Dell’s annual sales meeting in Las Vegas where remote employees gather for training, corporate strategy sessions and to learn about the latest Dell products in a giant expo center.

    Some of our sales team located around the world made videos about their success stories, which were played throughout the day at the expo. While it was fascinating to see how Dell products were making it into customers’ hands, the videos left a lot to be desired –recorded with laptops at awkward angles and poor lighting.

    I stayed up all night editing the videos, and I started becoming familiar with these individuals. The next day as I took the finished video to be played at the expo I walked right into one of the people in the video. I said, ‘Hi John, how’s it going? Congratulations on the big deal that you had with that hospital in Canada. I hope it went well. By the way, love the house! The family is wonderful. How are things going?”

    Because of the power of video I had created a personal relationship with this person who I had never met. That’s called para-social interaction – when one party knows significantly more about the other in a conversation.

    It made me realize just how powerful video is. I thought, “Wow, this is how video is going to start getting people to connect with trainers.” It’s no longer just voice over slides. You can actually see the face, see the expressions, see how people talk, get their messages across and build relationships.

    A new idea was formulating. I knew Dell had Mediasite gear, trainers and an audience. I just had to figure out how to put it all together.

    Talk about an elevator pitch …
    The expo had 3,309 rooms stretched across 44 floors and dozens of elevators. So imagine my surprise when my elevator door opens, and there’s Michael Dell. Before I knew it I was saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got this great idea about how we can use video with Dell’s infrastructure to solve a lot of the corporate communications problems we’ve been having.”

    I knew that rich media was being created all across Dell. But it was coming from all directions without a centralized distribution solution. Nobody knew where to go to get that one critical piece of information they needed, which resulted in chaos in our messaging, and in business, chaos equals burning money.

    For example, our training organizations were doing weekly live video presentations to about 4,000 employees. That cost $750,000 annually. Other departments were doing live presentations to smaller groups of employees, which drove the price up astronomically. We needed to bring everybody together into one single video solution to significantly reduce costs.

    Enter DellTV
    We built the enterprise video initiative DellTV with Sonic Foundry’s My Mediasite, the personal video capture tool to encourage user-generated content among employees. The Mediasite Desktop Recorder within My Mediasite is really what drove the adoption of DellTV.

    DellTV unifies corporate messaging to the more than 100,000 Dell employees and ensures that everyone, no matter where they are in the world, is speaking the same language. In the past year it’s taken on hockey-stick growth within the organization.

    This column first appeared in Streaming Media. Click here to finish reading.

    Lawrence Grafton is the creator of DellTV, a communications medium that utilizes Mediasite and Dell infrastructure to create a collaborative network facilitating cooperation with multiple organizations within Dell including external customers. Lawrence is also a field marketing manager in Dell’s Global Division working to develop the data center strategy in some of the world’s largest companies.

  • by Nicole Wise
    on July 02, 2014
    Mediasite Users Recognized as Female Event Tech Superstars

    (Photos from Convene Magazine - From left, Midori Connolly, Liz King, Jenise Fryatt)

    An article in the June 2014 issue of Convene Magazine, What Holds Us Back: 3 Women Tech Pioneers on How to Take the Reins, explores what it means to be a leader in the meetings and conventions space. It profiles three women who have founded their own companies in event technology, one of the few areas in the industry that tends to be male-dominated.

    Midori Connolly, principal at AVGirl Productions, thinks fewer women make technology a career focus because “it ties into that idea that little girls don’t do math and little girls don’t do science, the message we grew up with.” But Midori and the other two women interviewed — Liz King, CEO of Liz King Events, and Jenise Fryatt, content marketing strategist for Smarter Shift — have made it against the odds.

    Read the article here to learn more about these technology superstars and be sure to check out these webinars to learn how Midori and Liz use Mediasite to support their hybrid events.

    Don’t miss these industry articles co-authored by Jenise and sponsored by Mediasite Events.