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Software-Based Systems

At the forefront of software-based content management systems are the offerings from Virage. Without a doubt, Virage is the Cadillac of content management—with Ferrari pricing. The two flagship products from Virage, VS Archive and VS Webcasting, offer an unprecedented level of content management and distribution.

Just what can the Virage system do? Well, it can take your video sources and distribute them in a variety of formats via browser over the network. It can also help you to archive those video assets, keeping metadata about those assets to make searching useful. Oh, and it can also perform facial recognition on speakers in the video, and perform a real-time speech-to-text transcript. If that isn't enough, it has a system that allows you to provide users with access to video clips stored in the system, giving them the ability to edit together new clips, all within a browser interface. With the VS Webcasting component, you can broadcast PowerPoint and other documents in conjunction with the video, so that viewers can see both the presenter and the presentation in the same window. They can even perform real-time polling, and the entire presentation can be archived and stored for later viewing.

If it sounds like an incredible system, it is. However, the management power provided doesn't come cheap. It does leverage off-the-shelf servers and hardware, allowing it to be integrated into enterprise data farms easily, and so on. However, the components from Virage are very much aimed at large-scale enterprise deployment.

Running a close second to Virage in terms of functionality are the products from AnyStream. AnyStream started out principally in the area of real-time encoding. As the company name would imply, they have encoding down pat. With their Agility product, AnyStream can quickly and easily convert video content into nearly any form of video distribution imaginable. It's a powerful tool for streaming video distribution or video-on-demand. However, AnyStream hasn't stopped there. Their Apreso software component is designed for presentation integration; with Apreso, you can integrate video with PowerPoint presentations and other document formats for a single point of distribution for entire presentations.

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One of the truly amazing things about most of these software solutions is that they can be used in conjunction with one another. For example, products from Virage and AnyStream store metadata related to their video archives in SQL databases; therefore, with a little bit of tweaking, organizations can roll out implementations of multiple-vendor solutions in order to tailor a complete system designed to fit the needs of all the departments that might utilize these content management and distribution systems.

Another provider of video solutions is VideoBank, which offers a software solution built on off-the-shelf Windows servers. Like Virage and AnyStream, the VideoBank solution allows simultaneous encoding for video into multiple formats, and redistribution of video assets over the web.

VideoBank also makes use of a centralized database with file metadata, which allows users to integrate other file types along with video assets, to provide a more robust media content management solution. And because it's built on common database technology, it can be incorporated with other software solutions such as Virage and AnyStream.

Not to be left out of the content management arena, Pictron has recently announced the Media Gateway Presenter. In conjunction with the Pictron's Media Gateway system, the Presenter product allows the integration of presentation files in addition to video offerings.

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