Where Videoconferencing And Streaming Technologies Intersect - Part 2

Content Management Functionality
The second perspective from which a custom design or purchasing decision should be made is that of the person responsible for the publishing and control of the captured content itself.

In this section, there is frequent reference to content management. In contrast with the way the term is used by those using asset management systems for media, here "content managers" can be business managers, producers or technical staff supporting the subject matter expert. It is the person or people who are directly involved with ensuring the audiences’ access to the live or pre-recorded files as well as for protecting the content from inappropriate uses or piracy. In this definition, the content manager may also be the person responsible for publishing rich media where audiences can find it.

Publishing Control
Publishing control is executed in a four phase process:
establish connectivity to and between all the required resources, select appropriate feeds and speeds for the media and audience, design the best delivery environment and put conditions (policies or business rules) around access to the delivery environment and content.

Resource Connectivity
Regardless of the capture technology at a site, the content delivery manager must ensure connectivity to the origin streaming server, the database server (that drives the creation of active server pages), and the web server (on which the page will be sent with the embedded window). The parameters around these different network resources will vary with different audience distribution. Also, different combinations of networks present unique challenges which the publishing system may or may not be able to diagnose.

Feeds And Speeds
Once the connectivity is ensured, the content manager must select the formats in which the stream will be published and the data rates. The content/streaming media publishing tools may introduce different delays, and different incompatibility with audience PC systems (operating systems and browsers). Some of these challenges may be resolved in the stream encoder, but frequently adjustments are necessary for the best results. At other times, the content manager may need to exclude audience segments with particularly limiting configurations.

Design Of The Delivery Environment
The stream needs to appear in a layout on a page that is appropriate for the application. A stream of learning content should dovetail with Learning Management Systems. A product launch event could appear on an internal web page for sales force training and the same stream could appear on an external web page for resellers and channel partners.

Access Control
Many assets are sensitive and can not be viewed outside an enterprise, or a community of interest, such as the people who have paid to watch a particular piece of media. And it’s not just a matter of watching content. If there are limits to who can publish content, if legal or management review is necessary before content release, or if content is only going to be valid for a limited window of time, access control to encoding and publishing systems is essential.

To limit access to content is always going to involve a database of some sort. The same database is crucial to the preparation of reports.

Reporting is not just a matter of documenting successes. In addition to tracking the size of the audience for a particular event or the number of hits to an archive, it should involve failure reports and alerts to the person or people responsible for resolution of problems.

Ultimately, reports should be easily exported from the content management solution and digested by analytical tools that can detect trends and make the content manager more efficient and realize the maximum return on investment.

Next Page: Selecting a solution

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