Authentication and Access
Authentication and access are key to keeping privatecontent private (within the organization) as well asintegral to tracking and analytics.
On the security side, the best enterprise streamingsolutions offer administrators a way to secure contentwithin an existing authentication and access solution,integrating into external directories such asMicrosoft’s Active Directory or Lightweight DirectoryAccess Protocol (LDAP), an application protocol forquerying and modifying directory services runningover TCP/IP.
Some of the systems use role-based security, whichauthenticates a user based on credentials (such as ausername and password) and then determines a user’srole—or level of access—based on group membershipwithin the existing directory. Some enterprisestreaming solutions will also map directory groupnames from the Active Directory or LDAP groupsdirectly onto the streaming solution’s predefined roles,providing some users and groups with additionalaccess to recording or management operations.
Beyond login permissions and viewer authentication,integration into an existing program also enhances theway an enterprise streaming solution can track preciseviewer progress, making it much easier for the analyticsto determine compliance with required viewing. Yet akey feature, automated aggregation of multiple reports,seems to only recently have been added.
"There are several enterprise streaming solutionswithin the larger Lockheed family," says ThomasAquilone, media services, enterprise technologyprograms manager at Lockheed Martin. "For instance,Lockheed Martin aeronautics got a great capture front end with VBrick and ViewCast, but they needed ametrics and content management back end, so theyworked with MPI (now Qumu) to implement edgecastingand reporting capabilities."
"Because of the variety of solutions we use," Aquilonesays, "if a single event is streamed across the entireLockheed Martin corporation, each of our systems—three Mediasite and one Qumu—generates anautomated report, but it is a manual process toaggregate all the reports together."
To address this need for aggregated reports, at leastwithin single-platform solutions, look for solutions thatcombine a real-time dashboard for both live and on-demandviewership.
Some systems also track both presenter and playbackstatistics. Presenter statistics allow presenters (orcorporate training management) to determine theeffectiveness of presentations, helping presentersmeasure and improve their presentations. The systemcan also provide real-time information about whichviewers are online at a given moment in the stream.
Playback statistics are similar, but they can be parsedby presentation (total views, most-viewed segments,or subsegments) as well as by unique viewer(presentations viewed, including duration, as well as aglimpse into activity during viewing, such as whetheror not a viewer interacted with rich-media elements,such as chats, polls, and quizzes).
Server statistics may also be helpful, as they will ofteninclude peak activity and usage trends, which isimportant information for making decisions about theuse of external content delivery networks (CDNs).
Store Content, Link to Outside Resources
One area to watch when it comes to analytics andaggregated tracking is the slowly deepening tie betweencontent management systems (CMS), learning managementsystems (LMS), and enterprise streaming solutions.
"We use Vignette for our corporate contentmanagement," QAD’s Lawson says, "which is slightlydisconnected from the content management of ourenterprise streaming solution. We provide URL linksfrom our streams to Vignette as well as to ourIntraLearn, .NET-based LMS whose web portals are usedby our partner and customer groups. The LMS userstypically read their own reports rather than relying onthe streaming solution reports since LMS users onlyneed to know that a link has been clicked, but they don’tnecessarily need to know it’s been completely watched."
While work still needs to be done to integrate the samelevel of reporting for external CMS and LMS systems,many streaming services have improved their internalCMS options, turning the management portal into apseudocatalog that can access any content on the system.
Indexing systems are also making a comeback afteralmost a decade of obscurity, generating metadataabout lengthy video clips. Of the three companies thatexisted in the early days of indexing, search, andretrieval (ISR)—Convera, Pictron, and Virage—onlyPictron has maintained a focus on enterprise andentertainment ISR, including the integration ofgathered metadata into CMS and digital assetmanagement software. Granicus has also emerged oflate, even though its focus is governmental webcastingand indexing; Google is also getting into the audioindexinggame as it seeks to better index content on itsYouTube subsidiary.
Companies and Suppliers Mentioned