Wikipedia definition: "A podcast is a series of audio or video digital media files which is distributed over the Internet by syndicated download, through Web feeds, to portable media players and personal computers." It's part of "Web 2.0" technology set, other technologies being - blogs, wikis, RSS and social networking. There can be 4 types of “podcasts” with variations in user experience and media used:
Podcast: audio only recordings
Vidcast: video recording
Screencast: format generated from screen recordings
Webcast: format generated from a LiveMeeting recording
Benefits for an Enterprise
Podcasting is an inexpensive way to reach out to employees and also receive and discover information. Though the benefits which an enterprise can derive from podcasting vary, some benefits can be:
Ease of reaching Gen Y audience - Gen Y users like to consume information through audio and video mediums. Including podcasting as part of a larger Intranet or KM implementation will help you reach them
Anytime Anywhere availability - advantage of podcasting especially in corporate communications or e-learning scenario is its availability - multiple devices and convenience of listening/viewing anytime and anywhere
Provides better memory retention - audio and video messages are more memorable than text and this increases probability and duration of users retaining the message (positive impact may vary depending on clarity of message and skills of presenter)
Some Forrester reports on the subject:
Tap The Potential Of "YouTube For The Enterprise" the business scenarios, platform checklist, and vendors for employee-generated video
Web 2.0 Social Computing Dresses Up For Business discusses how Enterprise Web 2.0 can offer specific business values and are users seeing the value of Web 2.0 technologies?
How to create Podcasts?
There are lot of vendors which provide audio/video recording devices, editing tools and screen capture software. There are some vendors who provide web browser based recording and publishing. Nintex is one of the ISVs I am aware of. Their product is called: Podcast Server 2008 - ".. built on Microsoft SharePoint 2007 technology, Nintex Podcast Server 2008 includes a Microsoft Silverlight based Nintex Podcast Recorder, a simple to use visual audio editor that allows the user to record, delete, overdub, cut and reassemble recordings before uploading them to a podcast library. ..."
How Microsoft does it?
Microsoft has "Academy Mobile", an extranet site, built entirely on SharePoint 2007, which all Microsoft employees can access. Once authenticated, they are free to browse, search, download, or subscribe to videocasts and podcasts. For more details, you can refer to following resources:
Microsoft Academy Mobile - MOSS 2007 Powered, Community Driven Videocast/Podcast Service for the Enterprise - How We Did It
"Social computing meets the field sales. This is how we can sum up Academy Mobile, a Microsoft internal social computing initiative aimed at creating a knowledge sharing environment through the use of videocasts and podcasts. With more than 25,000 people worldwide in roles related to sales and marketing, sharing best practices effectively and facilitating the flow of information efficiently among individuals are key success factors ..."
The SharePoint way: Podcasting Kit for SharePoint (PKS)
Podcasting Kit for SharePoint (PKS) is an accelerator for social media, using podcasting and social networks to deliver the next generation knowledge management solution to Microsoft customers. It is built on top of SharePoint 2007 and Silverlight 2 and supports a wide variety of devices including PC, Zune, Windows Mobile phones and other podcast capable devices.
PKS is "open source" and delivered as-is with source code; you can download it from CodePlex. PKS can be leveraged to power lot of scenarios like - eLearning, corporate communications, innovation management, community building etc. If your team is looking to build a "YouTube" website for your enterprise then PKS is what you need.
Want to know more?
Download the PKS Detailed Overview Slide Deck. Link to this deck is on the CodePlex homepage for PKS
Experience it online at GetSharp! website
Read the How We Did It: Podcasting Kit for SharePoint post on the Microsoft SharePoint Team Blog. This guest blog post is from 3Sharp, the primary developer of PKS and will help you understand how components of PKS were designed, and how you might leverage these components in your own SharePoint solutions
Goodies in the Source Code
How We Did It: Podcasting Kit for SharePoint post mentions some of them. Some other interesting components you can have a look at are:
- The SilverlightPlayer web part
- RatingsMSIT solution, with custom field controls, web parts, web service etc. to deliver the content rating features
- MediaEncoder Service to extract the thumbnail, calculate the duration and size of the media files and also on-demand re-encoding of the uploaded files
- For Tag clouds, CKS TagCloud web part is reused here