It is a fact of life and business that video has become an integral part of our day to day lives. Whether it’s watching comical clips on YouTube, training videos in the office or taking part in a video conference, we are exposed to video media every day.

However, this casual approach to the use of video often leads to oversight when it comes to properly deploying video in a commercial or educational environment, leading to a potential catalogue of mistakes.

Without considering things like file structure and asset management video files can become difficult to access, find and use when they are needed. Add to this a disregard for whether copyrights and broadcast laws are being adhered to and you’re looking at a very easy to reach, but difficult to escape, digital media black hole.

One area video is very widely used is in the Education sector where teachers record lectures, relevant TV content, movies, educational training videos and much more, using ‘bitesize’ video to engage students in a way they understand and have come to expect.

Without proper management and monitoring of this content a University, College or School can soon find themselves in difficulty, breaking licensing and privacy laws, content restrictions and, in some cases, accidentally enabling students to take video files from servers; effectively making them an unwitting video pirate.

There are many things that have to be considered when implementing a video project, often overlooked is the legality of what is actually being done. By working with a strong technology partner and a good digital asset management solution these problems don’t exist, sadly, many choose to try it ‘their own way’ before realising that their way is not the right way.

So, what is the solution? It is advisable to appoint a ‘champion’ to learn about the legality, understand the policies and procedures required and to own the project; without a leader failure is not guaranteed but it is much more likely to be the outcome.

The finest example I have seen of successful digital asset management was at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK where the project was handed to the Library (LRC) staff with support from AV and IT. Having an understanding of cataloguing of content helped and a desire to understand the solution ensured the project was not only successful but of huge benefit to staff, students and academics alike. Unbelievably, Sheffield Hallam’s libraries team now manages tens of thousands of items of video content from a single control point.

Once the correct team is in place, having the right solution is important, there are a number of options, all with their own positives, so there is a need to determine a ‘shopping list’ of features to then narrow down the market a little; some questions to ask.

  1. Where is the content stored? Is the solution on-premise or cloud? This can have a massive effect on the types of content you’re allowed to store on the solution, if you’re recording live TV are you allowed to store that content in China, Germany or Australia if you’re located in the US or the UK? We believe that as well as owning the content, you should also own the platform.
  2. Can I access content from any device? With bring your own device (BYOD) a bit of a buzz term around technology at the minute people will ask to access content on iPads, laptops, mobile phones and so on. Find out if the solution supports this and, if so, does it do it legally.
  3. Can I control individual access rights? It’s likely that staff, students and administrators are going to need varying access levels and varying abilities to record or store data.
  4. Our personal content will have different restrictions to recorded TV content; can I control its access? A good digital asset management system will allow the administrator to assign access rules against EVERY piece on content individually, allowing you to view certain content globally, others while only on your corporate network/wifi, some items only for staff on their home networks, some for students.
  5. Does my solution scale? So, you wanted to start by implementing a solution for ten staff but now need to upscale to 500, this should not be a problem; make sure it isn’t before you jump in head first.

You need flexibility, but controlled flexibility; a good digital asset management solution will bring this. There are plenty out there, you just need to know what questions to ask.