Lecture Capture | News

Panopto Updates Lecture Capture Suite with New Accessibility Tools, Security Enhancements

Panopto has released an update to its flagship lecture capture platform. Panopto 4.5 provides improved access for people with visual and hearing impairments, batch upload for video assets, and new security features. Panopto 4.5 also includes enhancements to remote recording and quality control. The company announced the new release at this week's Educause 2013 conference, taking place October 15–18 in Anaheim, CA.

On the accessibility front, Panopto has bolstered its Web-based content management system and interactive viewer to help users with vision impairments to navigate and access recordings via the keyboard, through screen reader support (JAWS and NVDA), and with an audio interface. People with hearing impairments can now view closed captions in podcast videos.

Those updates, in particular, reflect Panopto's roots, said company Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer Eric Burns. "One of the original applications of our video platform was to bring Carnegie Mellon University lectures to physically disabled students who couldn't attend class. With today's announcement, we are expanding educational opportunity to those with visual and hearing impairments."

The company actually started as a Carnegie Mellon project and was "spun out" in 2007. Although it originally focused on use among colleges and universities, as lecture capture gained steam in the education environment, more recently, the company has expanded to the corporate sector.

The new release allows institutional users to bring together their media assets into a single management system via a new batch upload function. Once the videos are imported, they're encoded for playback on any device and can be automatically transcribed to enable search inside the video's contents.

The latest version also adds security enhancements to ensure conformance with enterprise security policies, including:

  • Encryption of communication to Panopto's video content management system;
  • Administrator control over password expiration, history, and strength for system logins; and
  • An "all users" access control list to simplify video sharing among all potential users within an organization.

Version 4.5 provides a new dashboard that gives the administrator the ability to view the entire video infrastructure from a single screen and ensure the "health" of remote video recordings.

In addition, new quality settings let Panopto's remote recorders capture high definition video. The company is targeting this feature for institutions involved in delivering courses through massive open and online courses, suggesting that it will prevent schools from having to record MOOC-specific lectures.

The company has also streamlined the user interface for its video content management system to simplify access to product features, including recording of new videos, uploading existing recordings, preparing Webcasts, and scheduling recordings. The viewer now includes a 10-second rewind button to let the person watching a video jump back in the content. It also allows the user to choose how to set video playback quality--manually or automatically.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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