Use Google Glass to Create Enterprise Video: Here's How
Many enterprise IT departments are wary of consumer technology infiltrating their corporate culture lest they weaken security, cause workplace distractions, or worse. That was the case with spreadsheet software in the 1980s, personal printers in the 1990s, USB flash drives in the 2000s, and mobile phones and tablets in the last half decade. Today, the fear is about “wearables,” most prominently, the nascent Google Glass. With its video camera, voice commands, and record-what-you-see orientation, it is both appealing and appalling to corporate users.
The technical capabilities of Glass do not match professional digital video cameras. Glass captures still photos at 5 megapixels and videos at 720p.It holds only 12GB of content and offers less than an hour of battery when recording video. Underpowered? Not when the purpose of Glass in an enterprise situation is to empower any employee to capture video and to easily post it to the corporate video servers. You don’t need all that power!
In this article, I reference Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite for the enterprise video server but systems like Qumu, Polycom (formerly Accordent), or even Kaltura also work. Your media management system must be able to automatically import an MP4 media file using a schedule or a file scan process, with the goal of making the process from capture to consumption as automatic as possible.
I present two methods for accomplishing the Glass-to-media server transport so you can select what works best for your enterprise. Glass is in beta and Glassware is rapidly improving, so while these methods and tools work today, I expect more streamlined methods in the future.
How Glass Works
Glass is a system based on lightweight connected web services and Glassware is written in a way that takes advantage of connections between applications. Unlike a digital camera, Glass is not designed to take hundreds of photos, store them, and upload later. It is oriented to share the content you create immediately. After recording video you are prompted to say “ok glass” > “share with” and presented with a list of web services such as YouTube, Facebook, and Google+ to which you send your video. After you share, all of the hard work happens in the cloud.
Basic Workflow Overview
The first step, of course, is to capture a video on Glass then share it with a service -- for this tutorial, either YouTube or a specific Google Drive folder. From there you need the file copied onto your corporate video file server to be staged to import into your CMS. If you are using YouTube, this transfer happens with a tool called Miro. If you are using Google Drive, the transfer happens with the Google Drive sync client. Last, your video CMS imports the files and publishes them to your employees. This involves applying a template, optional metadata, and placing the files into a catalog depending on your systems capability and workflow.
The YouTube Glassware Method
Until March of this year, the best path was to send the video to a YouTube account set up specifically for the purpose of serving as a staging area. From there the video is downloaded using Miro, an open source video processing software, configured to scan that specific YouTube account for new videos. You can see that workflow in Figure 1.
Figure 1. The workflow for publishing from Google Glass to YouTube, then to your organization’s publishing system.
The Glass-to-YouTube path is reliable and allows three different options that allows you to publish in any of three states: Public, Unlisted, and Private. You’ll want to use “Public” so Miro can get your file.
The Vodo Glassware Method
Vodo is Glassware written by Allen Firstenberg that connects Glass to Google Drive. It allows you to select a folder in Drive to send text, photos, and videos directly from Glass (Figure 2). Compared to the YouTube method, this reduces the steps involved and makes obsolete two of the applications.
Figure 2. By using Vodo, you can streamline the publishing process from six steps to four.
For this method, you need to install the Google Drive client that syncs files from your Google Drive to a local file server. Then, the videos you share with your Google Drive folder that has been configured in Vodo will sync to the server. Your media CMS can be pointed to that folder and import the files. The downside is that the server will be logged into Google Drive to sync the files, but that is still more secure than the public YouTube method and removes any need to clean up after import.
Both methods have some elements in common. Follow the instructions in the following sections to set up the parts that you need for your method.
Supported Glassware is installed by going to www.google.com/myglass and turning it on as indicated by the blue checkmark. Unsupported Glassware can be installed by visiting the app maker’s link and connecting their app to your Glass. You can see I have several apps turned on in Figure 3. The YouTube app is by Google and Vodo is one of the newest apps. ViddyEye and VideoVoyager are two other video-centric apps for sharing Glass video with others but their focus is social interactions, and they cannot be linked to a corporate file server.
Figure 3. Your MyGlass page shows the Glassware you have installed.
In MyGlass there is nothing to set up for the YouTube app. For Vodo, all you need to do is turn it on and then select the folder you want to share your videos to. In Figure 4, you can see I have selected my “images” folder.
Figure 4. Inside the Vodo app, you’ll need to select which folder you want to share your videos to.
To use the YouTube Glassware method described above, you need a YouTube account using the same Google account with which your Glass is registered. In the YouTube Channel Settings page (Figure 5), set the defaults so videos from Glass are created with a sensible title and description to help you identify your videos on import. Don’t forget to set the privacy to “Public” so Miro can find them.
Figure 5. Setting up your defaults in your YouTube account so that Miro can find them.
Miro is an open source video tool you install on your corporate video server. The purpose of Miro is to provide an automated way to download any video that is newly created on your YouTube channel. In Miro, set up a podcast for the videos that are created with the YouTube “gData” API (found at developers.google.com/youtube) URL that points to a specific YouTube user (the one you set up before). Essentially this is an RSS feed of all of your videos from Glass.
Some connections are too slow for HD YouTube streaming. A helpful metric from Google explains why some viewers see a less-than-pristine picture.
If Google isn't careful, Glass could turn into the next Segway: Massively hyped technology that makes the user look like a dork.
According to the latest Adobe Digital Index report, Google Glass will mainly be used to access online entertainment, with sports being the key driver.
Having a Google Glass on hand means having a convenient video camera ready to record and upload at a moment's notice.
According to one company, Google Glass promises to deliver quick and useful video to the enterprise. QAD is at the forefront of discovering office uses for Glass.