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December 15, 2005

Managing Video Content  - "Like Netflix, Only Better?"

The Videotools Video Content Management System, which my team developed at Harvard Business School, is a first-place winner of the 9th Annual Process Innovation Award by Kinetic Information.  Videotools was one of six winners in the Innovative Solutions Category (Recognizing Superior Solutions for their Creativity and Effectiveness ).  Specifically, they look for process improvement -- those applications that best exemplify how technology can be used for business benefit.  

A recent Campus Technology article on Digital Libraries by Matt Villano profiled Videotools, introducing it as "Like Netflix, Only Better."  It's flattering, even if that's a bit of a stretch!  But, Videotools does make an impact on the institution, by providing three services:
  • Managing and automating the encoding, metadata extraction and collection, and publishing of digital video in various (and multiple) formats and bitrates.
  • Managing permissions, roles and collections, and providing users with a video and media portal where they can search, organize, and share video content.
  • Providing delivery management that allows a unique URL for each video clip which applies rulesets to seamlessly determine a user's permission to view a video, detect their network location and preferred format/bitrate/size, and generates a metafile (.ram, .asx, etc) that gets the right video to the user quickly. (i.e. The same URL that  opens a 1.5Mbps RealVideo at full-screen when accessed from a classroom may provide 300kbps Real SureStream or 250kbps Flash video via http when accessed from home.)
More information about how we designed and built Videotools, along with our  philosophy of how to think about these kinds of projects, can be found in:

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