We’ve been creating new technologies faster than I can blog about them. Of course, I can’t say anything until they’re out, and then I’m focused on the next challenge instead of describing the last. One thing we’ve had for a while now is a “virtual DVR”.
When you have a meeting in meatspace, you have to set up a camera if you want to record it. Some expensive conference rooms are equipped for that sort of thing, and if you’re lucky, you’re friends with the one guy who knows how to turn it on. How many meetings have you missed and hoped that someone took notes? Have you ever had the chance to review a video recording of the meeting?
In cyberspace, the video and audio are created in the computer, so it’s already there to be saved. If you’ve created the technology right, capturing these bits is trivial, although arranging for them to be in a format that is interoperable with other systems is not easy. We’ve chosen to treat recordings just like any mp4 video that you drag into Teleplace. Like all document, this includes the ability, if you have the right permissions, to save it to your computer. So recording this video and placing it here on Youtube was easy.
Whether created elsewhere and dragged in, or recorded right in-world, our mp4 documents are streamed to users when played in-world. It is only when you export it to another system that you have to wait for the whole thing to download. Transfer between Teleplace worlds is instantaneous.
We also have a beta version of Webcasting. In addition to recording a session for latter playback, you can just as easily ask that a session capture be streamed out on the Web in real-time, so that folks with just a browser can see and hear the session live. I think it’s a real problem when you have to arrange with an AV dude or with a Website to set up a Webcast. Here you just click while in-world.
MP4 is a bit meaningless, as it is really just an envelope for other formats. The H.264 video and AAC audio we use is pretty standard, and yet I’m surprised that we still find some folks’ machine configurations to be a problem. Streaming for Webcast is less ubiquitous. I’m still not sure how widely viewing will work.
Of course, there exists general software that will capture your screen and audio, but for obvious reasons, some organizations have to lock down their members computers and not allow that sort of thing. Our in-world recordings are locked in world unless you have permission to take documents out. Besides, I found it a sufficient pain-in-the-butt to select, install, and learn such stuff that I never bothered to do so. When something is “just there” when you want it, it gets used more.