Podcasting for Enterprises


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

  • Ease of creation - creating a podcast is easy; all you need is an audio/video recorder. Learning curve is also less - MSN SoapboxYouTube and CNN's iReport are good example of how any user can create content

  • 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:

Some tips for providing value through podcasting are given here and here

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:

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

Watch PKS videos on Michael Gannotti's blog: Video: Webcast Recording – The Podcasting Kit For SharePoint and Video: Michael on the Go – Podcasting Kit For SharePoint Recap

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

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