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SME 2018: Knowledge Vision's Michael Kolowich Talks Knovio Live and Multimedia Webcasting
Streaming Media Contributing Editor Tim Siglin interviews Knowledge Vision's Michael Kolowich at Streaming Media East 2018

Learn more about webcasting and webinar platforms at Streaming Media's next event.

Read the complete transcript of this interview:

Tim Siglin: Welcome to Streaming Media East 2018. I'm Tim Siglin, a contributing editor with Streaming Media Magazine, and I'm here today with Michael Kolowich. Michael, tell us a little bit about your company and then we'll talk about your product.

Michael Kolowich: Well, the company is KnowledgeVision. We've been making a smart media platform for about seven years.

Tim Siglin: Okay.

Michael Kolowich: It started as an online video presentation company, but has really broadened out into video, into slide share-type activity and things like that. It really is all optimized around applications like corporate learning, like marketing, like company communications, and education.

Tim Siglin: Interesting. Then product itself is called Knovio. What is Knovio?

Michael Kolowich: First of all, it's KnowledgeVision without two thirds of the letters. Knovio is actually what we call the platform itself. So KnowledgeVision is the company, Knovio is the platform.

Tim Siglin: You've made some announcements here in the last couple days about what Knovio is capable of doing. I think one of the things is the live VBR capability. The ability for someone who wants to join a corporate learning session that's already happening and start form the beginning or start at the point where they've joined, is that correct?

Michael Kolowich: The product you're talking about is called Knovio Live.

Tim Siglin: Knovio Live. Okay, thank you.

Michael Kolowich: Historically our company has been mostly in the on-demand space.

Tim Siglin: Sure.

Michael Kolowich: So it's creating on demand assets that can be used over and over again, but increasingly we've gotten into the live multimedia webcasting space. So what we mean by multimedia webcasting is going beyond what's inside the 16:9 frame and surrounding it with things like synchronized slides, chapter navigation, dynamic footnotes, living transcripts, Q & A boxes and things like that. Exactly.

Tim Siglin: Chat and polls. That type of thing. Okay.

Michael Kolowich: Knovio Live is about turning a plain old live video stream into a multimedia experience.

Tim Siglin: In some ways you'd be like Mediasite and Accordance Presenter, some of those product that, as you say, put multiple, sort of put a frame around the video itself and it had chat, synchronization, et cetera.

Michael Kolowich: It kind of starts there, but one of the things that's happened recently is that we've moved from a Flash-based world, and RTMP world to an HLS and MPEG-DASH world and what that's done is it's opened up and opportunity to totally reinvent how multimedia livecasting works. I probably have been either running or watching webinars for 15 or 20 years. I wrote down all of the things that upset me about either watching them or running them. One of the things you mentioned earlier was I arrive fifteen minutes late for one of these things. And I say, "Oh, I've missed it."

Tim Siglin: There's never been an option for people to back up and catch it from the beginning.

Michael Kolowich: No, exactly. So I said, "Okay, well I'll wait ‘til the on demand version comes out." And then I never get around to it. The idea behind Never Late is you come in and you have the choice of viewing it in progress or going back to the beginning or we have chapters and topics that are populating incrementally along the way. So you can actually navigate back to that. That's something that's enabled by HLS. Another thing is mobile access of course. Our iOS devices didn't play well with Flash. Now it plays really well with HLS. There is just a whole bunch of things that we went through and said, "Okay. How can we take the things that were pinpoints as viewers or producers and solve them?”

Tim Siglin: So two practical questions along those lines. Is using HTML Canvas part of the framing solution? Because you mentioned we're in a post-Flash world, and of course from an interactivity standpoint, Canvas has been one of the reasons we're able to get away from Flash. Is that how you're approaching it, or is it your own custom framework?

Michael Kolowich: It's all an HTML5 framework. So it's all responsive. It does all the right things, adapting to individual devices and the like.

Tim Siglin: The second question is when you talk about somebody being able to jump back to the beginning or go to the chapters during the middle of a live event. What happens to the interactivity portions? So, for instance, polling and chat. Of course chat would sort of stay constant. You'd see the chat history regardless of whether you're at the beginning or you’re halfway through. Polling, though, sometimes in the corporate world they may do a poll at the beginning, do a poll halfway through, do a poll at the end, do you also synchronize the accessibility of that for viewers as well?

Michael Kolowich: Typically, what's happening is that those incremental polls would be at different URLs, so what we're able to do is synchronize in live webpages and actually contain the state of the poll at any given moment.

Tim Siglin: So if the poll is still open when somebody comes to start watching it, whether on-demand or part way through, then they could add to the poll, but if it were already closed, then they wouldn't have access to it.

Michael Kolowich: Exactly. Now one of the things that we are working on, haven't released yet is rolling back the state of chat.

Tim Siglin: I think that's important because if somebody reads a product announcement and they've already seen the announcement information in the chat, the ability to go back and have that timestamped and heave that occur as it goes, as they watch through would be very important.

Michael Kolowich: Exactly.

Tim Siglin: Very good. So Knovio Live sounds like a really interesting product. Michael, I appreciate your time.

Michael Kolowich: It's knovio.com/live for all the information. Thank you so much.

Tim Siglin: And we'll be right back.

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KnowledgeVision Founder/CEO Michael Kolowich discusses the persistent challenges of delivering webcasts and webinars and how to address them in this clip from his presentation at Streaming Media East.