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How to Make Great Enterprise Video With Google Glass

Today, the fear in enterprise IT departments is about "wearables," most prominently, the nascent Google Glass.

Many 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.

GoogleGlassWith its video camera, voice commands, and record-what-you-see orientation, Glass 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.
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.
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 (http://go2sm.com/driveclient) 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.

Technical Setup

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.
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.
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.
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.

After you install Miro, configure this podcast by choosing Sidebar > Add Podcast and pasting in an RSS feed URL from the YouTube API. The URL looks like this: https://gdata.youtube.com/ feeds/api/users/hI3XJ-Jg2XXXXXXXXXX Vefw/uploads?alt=rss

The boldfaced part above is the specific user name retrieved from YouTube, redacted for privacy. To get this unique ID for your user, go to https://www.youtube.com/account_advanced for your unique ID for your user and channel. Copy the User ID and replace it in the URL above. That is your podcast URL.

When you have the podcast created, Miro polls YouTube periodically and pulls the videos down to your server. There are some useful settings in Miro that work well as shown in Figure 6. It is also important to set the toggle button at the bottom to "Auto-Download New" to ensure anything new is copied from YouTube to your corporate file server.

Figure 6. Recommended Miro settings, including
Figure 6. Recommended Miro settings, including "Auto-Download New" toggled to "on."

Google Drive

Setting up Google Drive is straightforward. The only consideration is you probably do not want to sync all of the files down to your corporate server, so go into the preferences and select "Only sync some folders to this computer" and sync the same folder you configured for Vodo.

Media Server

Because there are a number of media CMSs, I won't go into the exact settings here, but you should set up the automatic import feature on your system to poll for new files in the same folder that your Glass videos are directed to and import them. Most media servers allow this type of batch mode processing. The advantage is that the end user, the person who is recording the video with Glass, does not have to spend time to learn how to get the video published into your corporate media catalog. Using Mediasite server, I set up an auto-import job that runs every 15 minutes and looks for new videos. When it finds one (from Miro import via YouTube or in the Google Drive folder) it imports it and puts it into a holding folder. From there, the user can move it to appear in a catalog or portal that is set up for your enterprise. There are a lot of variables here depending on the system, but the principle is the same.

Best Practices

Making great enterprise video with Glass involves more than just getting the video from the device to your corporate video CMS. These tips can help you get great content.

  • Speak up, and ask those you are recording to speak up, because the microphone in Glass is optimized for the wearer, so voices may be faint, especially if there is background noise.

  • The idea of this kind of video is immediacy and authenticity, not so-called "production value," so don't worry too much about framing, lighting or minor slip-ups. Of course, the quieter and better lit the environment, the better the end result will be.

  • Glass sees things from your point of view, so don't forget that it is on your head. In an interview situation just do your thing and Glass will do its thing. Glass makes the camera and the anxiety that comes with it disappear.

  • As with most "on location" videos, you don't want to record too long. Keep it under 5 minutes and you employees will be more likely to watch.

  • By default, Glass only records video for 10 seconds unless you press the top button to extend the recording. My advice is to start recording, press the button carefully to avoid camera shake and then begin your introduction.

  • For the most instant and immediate publishing you should plan to avoid editing. It's a roadblock! Plan your shoot, walk through it in your head, or even make a simple storyboard beforehand.

  • Be ready to speak your title/intro and go!

  • Glass's battery is a weak point, and for continuous video it lasts only about 45 minutes. If you are out and about, make sure you bring your charging cable or an external battery pack, or wait for some battery extenders like the GAZERglass or PWRglass, both of which are being developed now.

Ideas for Using Glass in the Enterprise

Equipping your employees with Glass and setting it up to publish automatically to your enterprise servers can empower anyone in your organization to make and publish video content. They can communicate in a more engaging format and present subjects in a new light. Use an interview to introduce new employees to the company or spotlight someone or a team who is working on an inspiring project. If your company is spread out like mine, make office and campus tours to familiarize everyone with the locations and the local culture. Another good use is hands-on. This is especially useful for workers who need to use both hands, like mechanics, assembly workers, and food preparers. Finally, you can take Glass to your next event and post updates of the proceedings to all who could not attend.

Final Thoughts

While automatically moving Glass video from the device to a place where it can be seen takes some simple setup, the tools to accomplish it are free and freely available.

However, the most efficient, flexible and secure method would be use a Glass app to send the video directly from the device to a private, password-protected FTP server that is available on the public internet. In Glass you could "Share with FTP," and the app would log in to the FTP server and deposit the file there. Then your media CMS could be pointed to the same FTP server to import the files.

However, there is not a tool at this time that can do that. I looked at several other promising options that are based on consumer web services. Tools like CloudWork, If This Then That (IFTTT), or Zapier might be even more flexible because you could then drop the file into popular enterprise tools like Salesforce. com, SugarCRM, or SharePoint. The good news is that both IFTTT and Zapier now have Google Glass connectors. The bad news is that, at press time, they both don't quite work yet.

I tried both of those tools to see if I could get a video file from Glass to these services, but they are limited in what they send. For example, IFTTT will only send a text file (HTML) with a reference to the video on YouTube. Zapier will send photos to another Zapier action app, but at present, it only works with photos not videos. Smart video content management companies would do well to look into building connecter for these services.

With Glass and an enterprise media server recording and publishing video has never been easier and can be a differentiator for your organization to help create a successful corporate culture. When you let go of the A/V control and don't just leave "filming" to the pros, you empower your workforce to see anything, communicate better, and learn more.

This article appears in the May 2014 issue of Streaming Media magazine as "How to Make Great Enterprise Video With Google Glass."

Scott Lawson's article first appeared on OnlineVideo.net

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