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Review: Vidizmo EnterpriseTube

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Let me be up front about this. Vidizmo EnterpriseTube is the first corporate YouTube product that I’ve reviewed. So if you’re looking for a comparative analysis detailing how the product stacks up with other options, this, unfortunately, isn’t it. On the other hand, if you’re curious about what a corporate YouTube does and how it works, well, we can take that journey together. You in? Let’s get started.

At a high level, the term “corporate YouTube” says it all; it’s a mechanism for employees, customers, and other partners to upload and share video-related content. The very nature of corporate life, of course, introduces some particular concerns. For example, you probably need a very tight moderation function so the C-level execs don’t see those videos from the last sales retreat. Yeah, those. You probably also need to moderate those comments that seem so funny on YouTube, but could be career-limiting inside the firewall.

Beyond that, you need to manage who gets to see what, both inside and outside the organization. You want the videos to play on the patchwork of platforms and devices that your viewers will attempt to watch them on. You probably also want single sign-on and integration with your existing corporate portal, plus the ability to track the performance of all videos, and who’s been watching which videos and for how long. Vidizmo EnterpriseTube does all this, and a whole lot more.

Vidizmo EnterpriseTube

Vidizmo EnterpriseTube is the productization of a discrete set of features from a comprehensive media management and distribution platform created by Vidizmo. Other products carved out in a similar fashion include MediaTube, which lacks functions like the ability to work with SCORM content; MediaLMS, which adds SCORM back in; and Media Commerce, which includes monetization via a paywall, shopping cart functionality or advertising support. Complicating these product comparisons even further, MediaTube and EnterpriseTube have standard and premium versions with different feature sets. Vidizmo has a features table that shows you exactly what’s what at http:// go2sm.com/vidizmo.

I worked with the premium version of EnterpriseTube, but focused most of my attention on core features. For example, the premium version can import SCORM content, produce live events, produce interactive video with quizzes, polls and surveys, and edit video within the media management system. As you’ll see, I had my hands full figuring out the content upload, moderation, and approval workflow, plus testing playback functionality, so I spent no time on these extras.

You can see the fruits of my efforts in Figure 1, the Streaming Learning Center EnterpriseTube with two channels and about 30 total videos. As I’ll explain in more detail below, each viewer sees a different view of the home page depending upon their rights. Figure 1 is the administrator’s view of the Streaming Learning Center channel, with complete access to all channel options (on the left) and other administrative options via the Admin menu option at the top of the image. Users with view-only rights see very little of these controls, with videos presented as three categories; Most Recent, Most Popular, and Most Viewed.

Figure 1. My Vidizmo EntepriseTube

In terms of architecture, you can access EnterpriseTube as a hosted cloud application or on premises in a private cloud. Pricing ranges from $5,000 to $100,000 or higher depending upon the number of users, channels and features. If you scan the aforementioned features table, you’ll note that some functions, such as moderation and integration with SharePoint, SiteCore, WordPress, Drupal, and other CMS, are optional. So if you get into a pricing discussion, be sure to understand what’s included in the system you’re purchasing, and what isn’t.

Let’s start with a look at how content is organized and secured, then move into the content production workflow.

Content Organization

Content is organized by channels, each with its own membership type, which can follow one of four preset configurations, or be completely custom. For example, public channels can be viewed by anyone, even anonymous viewers on the internet. Internal channels can be accessed only by authenticated viewers, while restricted channels can only be viewed by authenticated viewers with permission to view that channel. Finally, hidden channels can only be viewed by administrators and are hidden from the directory. Beyond access and membership, channels can be branded differently for a completely different appearance.

As the name suggests, channels provide a simple way to direct videos to certain groups, or to configure groups of videos in certain ways. For example, you could have one channel for sales that only sales personnel could access, and another for human resources that all employees can access. You might decide to enable viewers of these internal channels to add comments and ratings, but not spread the word via social media functions.

You could also create a channel accessible over the general internet, but let viewers embed those videos, rate them, and share them through Twitter and Facebook, but not leave comments. Though you can customize some features within a channel on a video-by-video basis, it’s simplest if you just create a channel so you can assign rights to multiple videos at one time.

You set viewing rights and these video-related features in the General Settings tab shown in Figure 2 (set for Restricted membership). Assuming you have the required authorization, you can override these selections for single videos, but in most instances, you’ll simply default to these settings for all uploaded content. As you can see on the left in Figure 1, all channels can also have categories, which allow further segmentation of the channel content.

Figure 2. Setting high-level configuration options for the entire channel

Further to the right in the tabbed menu in Figure 2, you see the Login options tab, which is opened in Figure 3. Here you choose how viewers can log in to the channel: directly into the EnterpriseTube system, through a shared corporate login for single sign-on, or through a third-party login from accounts like Google, Twitter, or Facebook. You also set options for restricting how and where channel videos can be embedded or shared, as well as as how long a user can remain logged in without any activity.

Figure 3. The features accessible in the Login tab of the Settings control 

Managing Users

There are five defined user roles that you can customize as desired. Starting with users with the least rights, Viewers can watch published content and perform functions such as ratings and comments. Contributors can view and upload content but it must be approved by a manager or moderator before publication. Moderators can view, upload, publish, and moderate content, but can’t change channel settings or invite new users. Managers have complete control over a channel, including viewing, uploading, approving, creating or scheduling a live or on-demand presentation, setting embedding options, viewing analytics, and managing users. Administrators can manage branding, create new channels, and manage users, though they can’t upload or manage content within a channel; that’s owned by the moderator and managers.

If you’re using EnterpriseTube within a company with an existing login and security infrastructure, you can work with Vidizmo to integrate your existing users into the system and then assign rights and channels within which they can view content. Otherwise, you invite participants to join the party by sending emails within the system with a typical login and password selection workflow.

As mentioned above, when users log in, their main channel page is customized for the activities that they can perform and the content they are authorized to view. So a Viewer sees only content, while a Contributor also has Add New and My Media buttons to upload and manage new content. Administrators see all the controls shown in Figure 1.

The Content Creation Workflow

The typical workflow starts with a Contributor uploading a video (Figure 4). After selecting the video, the Contributor chooses a category for the video, adds a title and description and presses Upload. In my workflow, a Contributor doesn’t have the right to publish a video, just upload it, so it has to be approved by a Moderator, Manager, or Administrator. As you can see, Contributors have no ability to set configuration options that dictate usage rights, such as who can watch the video.

Figure 4. Step 1 of the content creation workflow 

Note that the screen shown in Figure 4 is the upload screen used when Silverlight is installed. If Silverlight were not installed, the contributor would see an HTML5 upload screen with only the ability to browse for the file, select the category, and enter a description and tags (all these functions are in the Basic Settings of the screen shown in Figure 4, accessed via that tab on the upper left). So contributors can upload files with or without Silverlight installed; they just have more access to features with the plugin. However, for full access to media management functions, moderators, managers and administrators will need Silverlight, though the company is working to implement HTML5 controls over these functions.

On my Windows test stations, all Silverlight-related functions worked perfectly. On my MacPro, I successfully uploaded files in Firefox, Chrome, and Opera, but not Safari. I performed a lot of testing on the MacPro, however, and the Safari-related upload problem was the only one I encountered. I’m not particularly fond of Silverlight, but it worked very well in these tests.

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