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The Reinvention of ViewCast

With its Osprey line of capture cards and Niagara series of encoding appliances, ViewCast has long been known as a hardware company, although its hardware offerings are accompanied by software offerings that have been a crucial part of the company's success. But the company's acquisition of Ancept Media Server back in March signaled a new direction for the company. In fact, I had a catch- up call with marketing VP Jeff Kopang last week in which he went so far as to call it "the new ViewCast."

Obviously, the Ancept acquisition gives ViewCast a digital asset management solution, which the company now calls the ViewCast Media Server. But plenty of companies offer media asset management solutions, and Kopang says that what makes its offering unique is VMS’s ability to manage multiple format types, in addition to audio and video, meaning that ViewCast is now in a position to help both large enterprises and small businesses with an integrated asset management solution at an appealing price point.

ViewCast Media Server’s support for multiple format types—namely MS Office and PDF documents—has evolved significantly. Document handling capabilities include the ability to index, search, and preview the contents of these documents, as well as the ability to assemble new PowerPoint presentations within VMS's web interface. IBM's ECM platform offering, which is used by VMS, includes very robust support for documents, web content, forms and many other content types.

Of course, along with Ancept's technology came Ancept's client list, which includes eBay, University of Michigan, Sesame Workshop, and UPS— giving ViewCast an in with those organizations' video initiatives. "University of Michigan's Bluestream service, powered by Ancept Media Server, provides constituents from all over campus a central resource for managing digital media", Kopang says. "The University’s current projects range from images of rare art collections to video libraries of surgical procedures to captured classroom lectures."

ViewCast has also integrated the Media Server with Telestream's FlipFactory for transcoding to multiple formats. Altogether, it means that, for the first time, ViewCast offers end-to-end media management capabilities.

Later this quarter, the company also plans to release ViewCast Media Portal, which Kopang says will offer similar capabilities as VMS, including live ingest and scheduling functions, at a price point attractive to small and mid-size businesses.

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