So many good reasons to stream live video. So many ways to screw it up. 

According to Forrester, video as an increasingly common channel for both internal communication with other employees and external communication with customers and partners. But longstanding worries over costs,technical hiccups, meticulous planning, expert staffing and other issues makemany IT and corporate communications managers wince at the very idea of going live.

What if the CEO is ready, but the network isn't? What if everyone logs on atthe same time? What if the videographer is sick that day? What if you record anevent and then can't find it in the SharePoint archive?

In a CMSWire webinar yesterday, BrianPrigge, SharePoint architect and product manager for Ramp,explained why those pain points are disappearing, making it possible to launchlive-streaming video events on the fly. The webinar, which was also sponsored byRamp, was titled "Extending the Enterprise CMS with Live Video." Youcan watch it by clicking here or at the end of this story.

Speeches, Training and Meetings

The growing popularity of live streaming surfaced in a poll of audiencemembers near the start of the program. About 38 percent of the respondentssaid they already stream large executive presentations and town halls, 22percent said they stream mid-sized events like training and 18 percent said theystream video for smaller group meetings or to foster collaboration. Another 6percent said they had other uses.

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"Everybody is creating live events and live streaming for their CEO, buta lot of the time you have cost issues or cost limitations going down to smallermeetings," Prigge said. Perceived cost is the No. 1 objection that Ramp hearsbecause until recently there's been no vendor that could provide a seamlessstreaming process from the source to the end-user. Some managers even hire TVtrucks to help.

However, Prigge said video streaming at live events is moving to more of aself-service model, with tools that let managers set up programs, synchronizewith PowerPoint and share the program in minutes, with no support from the ITdepartment.

Video on the Fly

Video events are often associated by many managers with extensive planning — sometimes for months — to assure everything is in place for the critical moment.By contrast, Prigge showed how he set up a video stream in the minutes before the webinarbegan. "We really don't see the need for that sort of long lead time,"he said.

It wasn't long ago that video events required a stage-like studio withspecial lights, soundproof walls, expensive cameras and a team that knew how touse it properly.

"By and large today, those facilities aren't needed for the smallerevents that are moving to live," said Prigge. "The support needs aremuch, much smaller in today's industry."

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Learning Opportunities

Archiving and search are other problem areas for many users, he said. "Thatrecording, while useful, also needs to be searchable," said Prigge."Perhaps it was an hour-long training that covered five different topics,and you want to be able to find each and every topic, and each and every stepwithin that topic," he said. "Simply searching for title anddescription is no longer enough."

Common Pains

A second audience survey confirmed concern aboutall those issues. Technical issues was a concern of 29 percent of therespondents, while 19 percent cited the lack of support staff, 24 percent fearedan unreliable viewer experience and 11 percent saw archiving as a problem.

"We need to be able to schedule and start a live webcast inseconds," Prigge said. "This is the biggest thing we've seen from ourusers."

Moreover, it should be easy for large numbers of viewers to log on at the same time, to synchronize the speakers with theirslides and to deliver the video feed reliably to hundreds or thousands of users. Alot of that can be resolved by relying on SharePoint's ability to manage log-ons, distribution and encryptions. Ramp offers an app that simplifies schedulingthe event, launching it and typing presentation slides to the appropriate momentin the presentation.

Word by Word

Ramp also creates a searchable transcript with the help of voice recognition software or itcan arrange for a live transcription service if absolute accuracy is required.

The script is matched up with the speaking patterns in the presentation so that you can search the transcript for a term, which results in a list of links to every occasion that term was used. By clicking on a link, you can then view the exact moment inthe presentation when it comes up. Archiving of both the video and transcriptare automatically completed when the event ends.

Of course there will always be some things to worry about with live video, like whether theCEO will show up on time. 

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License Title image by jsawkins.