Just Like Orange is the New Black: Communication is the New Video Content

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It was 15 years ago that I learned to look at video differently. Coming from the must-see TV generation, video was entertaining, sometimes informational, and ever-present. But it wasn't until, as part of the streaming video group at Oracle, I met with ISLIP Media at Carnegie Mellon University that I realized video could also be transformational.

That day I learned about the video tipping point – the Kennedy assassination. From a journalistic perspective, it was the fastest time human beings ever learned anything in recorded history. Within 24 hours, more than 80 percent of the people in the U.S. had learned that tragedy had befallen their president, and they discovered it via video on television.

Until that point universal events were shared through print journalism. The industry reacted to this. And from that day forward universal events were captured and shared primarily with video. My very first memory that I have is the moon landing. All of our Olympics, Super Bowls, happy moments and sad, all shared with video.

This universal video concept has driven the explosive growth of video that we see today.

And thanks to the BYOD movement, personal video is keeping pace. Almost everyone has a video of their child's birthday party, for example. When my daughter was born I filled shoeboxes full of 8 millimeter Sony camcorder footage. Today, when someone tweets, blogs, Snap Chats, Instagrams, posts on Facebook, etc., that's all personal video. Internet video traffic is expected to nearly triple in the next few years, growing from 3.1 zettabytes a year in 2013 to 8.6ZB in 2018, according to the Cisco Global Cloud Index (2013-2018). That's the equivalent of streaming all of the movies and television shows ever made in ultra-high definition 250,000 times!

But there's another type of video that is growing rapidly in popularity and is the way of the future: Organizational video. Video has traditionally required so much pre- and post-production, so much time and energy to create succinct and enjoyable pieces that people will watch. However, demand and consumption of video is transforming the business of education and communication by not only putting knowledge within reach of anyone with an internet connection, but also transforming it into searchable, indexed and secure living libraries.

The definition of video as we know it has changed.

The lifeblood of organizational video is communication itself. You record a meeting or training — that's video. You record a lecture — that's video. You record someone presenting to an audience in a ballroom — that's video. You record a video conference — that's video. Boom. Instant content. Just like "orange is the new black," communication is the new video content. 

The creation of video used to take a tremendous amount of production work, because people thought that was the amount of value and effort needed to make something broadcast-ready. That's how TV and movies are made, after all. As resources became tighter the question became, "would people still watch a video if less effort went into creating it? How much production value can you eliminate and still have it be watchable?" Turns out the answers are 'yes' and 'a lot.'

People used to say that they can't release unscripted video or video without generated, fancy graphics. But, the automation of video creation from tools like Mediasite by Sonic Foundry has eliminated the need for extensive production hours and has fueled this organizational video growth.

The Future of Video

As time went on, Sonic Foundry bought ISLIP Media, and I left Oracle to work for Sonic Foundry. Sonic Foundry's way of looking at video has allowed us to predict and create the future. Fifteen years ago, we knew what was going to be important about video, and it was simple. Communication. It's not about codecs, what the transcode will be and what the storage footprint will be. These are important technical details, but the most important thing to understand to predict the future of video is to first understand the future of communication itself.

There's a line running between My Mediasite, Mediasite Join, our Mediasite Events team and all Mediasite products making it easier for people to create organizational video. The skill of Mediasite is to transform the act of communicating into knowledge in a single step. Our secret sauce is to look at someone who is deliberately communicating in a structured way and render that into something digital and shareable, and securely manage, curate and distribute it. You can watch it when you want to watch it, use it when you need it and find it when you have to have it.

We are simply talking about the communication that's already happening. That's what organizational video is. When we enable someone who's already thought out a method of explaining something to you that's important enough, we've encouraged the corporation or government agency or the school to be prepared to capture and share it securely and reliably.

I know you probably think that sometimes it's just too hard, that your IT budgets won't allow for this type of video strategy. But, I ask you this: What is the opportunity cost of that which you don't capture? Video is the most important, powerful datatype in your IT infrastructure. It has the most potential to save money, to teach, to democratize education. It has the power to save lives through safety training, through awareness training.

Any class, training, meeting, video conference, etc. is a video moment that can be shared. The most powerful video in the world is the video that transforms the amazing amount of expertise and communicating that we're doing already every day and takes it far and wide for less with high impact. Remember that and believe that.

Sean Brown, Senior Vice President, Sonic Foundry

Sean's core focus is simplifying digital media to improve use and outcomes. Before coming to Sonic Foundry in 2002, Sean has 23 years of product management and education business development experience at IBM, Apple and Oracle. He is a past president and board member of the Hopkins Foundation for Innovation in Education. Today, Sean also hosts Sonic Foundry's popular, monthly best practices webinar series for higher education.

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