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Colleges Need Online Video, Kaltura Hears the Call

There are over 5,000 higher education institutions in the United States, says Kaltura chairman and CEO Ron Yekutiel, and many are either new to online video or are underserved in their current efforts. With its open source approach, Kaltura has been especially attractive to them.

Unigo, a social site that lets prospective college students get advice on school selection from already-enrolled students, recently announced that Kaltura would provide the video support for Unigo.com, as well as partner site The Wall Street Journal on Campus. And that's just one example.

So why are Unigo and other higher education sites flocking to Kaltura? For one, says Yekutiel, people in the education market are crazy about open source tools. Not only is the software more affordable and more flexible, but education buyers like the philosophy behind it. They're open to a more inclusive approach to innovation, as he puts it.

The education market also wants tools that can reside on their own servers. Many video platforms are software-as-a-service and reside on the parent companies' servers. Education market buyers typically look for something they can lock behind their firewalls.

Just as important is the fact that Kaltura integrates with learning management tools that colleges are already using. It works with Moodle, Sakai, and Desire2Learn. Integration with Blackboard is coming soon, says Yekutiel, and that's major, since Blackboard is the undisputed leader of the space with 80 percent of the market.

Kaltura's social tools also help it stand apart in a market that demands interactivity. Unigo's members, for example, can not only upload videos, but share their favorites on Facebook.

If you haven't checked out the education market lately, you'd be surprised at how it's been transformed by online video. A strong demand for higher education has made distance learning, with classes broadcast over online video, a booming market. Colleges like distance learning because it allows them to serve a greater number of students. It's also less expensive than classroom education, since there are no building or maintenance costs.

Online video is taking off for on-campus students, as well. Lectures are recorded and broadcast for students who can't make it to the classroom, and those lectures are then archived. Years from now, video will be the prevalent way that students view their classes, predicts Yekutiel. "It's part of the whole global village movement," he adds.

The Unigo partnership lets people create an account and then upload photos or videos that have to do with "anything that relates to their experience at their university," says Yekutiel. Prospective students can then view the content to get a realistic view of what a campus is like, no personal visit required.

Unigo is just as pleased with what Kaltura brings to the table. "When we created Unigo.com it was clear that video would be a huge part of what we were trying to achieve. Kaltura’s platform is a clear choice—it is extremely flexible, has advanced user-generated-content features, and the Kaltura team has great experience in supporting video both for social networks and for institutions in the education space." says Jordan Goldman, Unigo's founder and CEO.

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