4k Video Support is Here

There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding 4k video, also known as aka 2060p, ever since ultra-high-definition televisions burst onto the market. Over the years this technology has become more sophisticated with more mobile phones and tablets now offering support for 4k content than ever before.

Today, we’re excited to announce the roll-out of support for 4k video at CircleHD: Employees will now be able to natively upload crisp, clear screencasts and stream videos made with premium high-resolution cameras.

4k videos are larger, have 3840 x 2160 or 4096 x 2160 resolution, contain 8 million pixels and can be cumbersome on your resources. In fact, typical file size can range from 1Gb ~ 50Gb. That’s why we have accounted for all these variables and bumped up our single file upload limit to 10GB.

When it comes to bandwidth, we recommend at least 25Mbps. However, if your working with limited bandwidth and/or low powered GPU-like mobile devices, CircleHD will automatically transcode with a lower bit rate, creating a frictionless user experience.

We are proud to be the first enterprise video platform to allow the uploading and sharing of 4k content. How can you benefit from 4k? Here are just a few of the ways:

  • Your training videos will look visually richer
  • All-hands meetings can become more lifelike
  • Conduct screencasts without losing pixels
  • Easily read on-screen code during developer training sessions

With CircleHD, enterprised are able to mix videos, slide decks and podcast content together to create cohesive playlists used for training and knowledge sharing. With 4k, you’ll be able to deliver the best-looking content possible, every single time.

Do you want to learn more? We’d love to connect with you and show you how your organization can benefit from 4k video. Get in touch with us.


A Better Approach to Sales Content Management

Every day, enterprise salespeople ask themselves: where can I find the right content to send to my prospect?

For most companies, the default answer is Google Drive, Dropbox, or whatever file repository the company is using. But that’s not always helpful. For example, if you are looking for a previous proposal to use as a template for a new prospect in, say, the auto industry, knowing they are seeking X functionality, how can you find the most relevant sample in your company’s drive? Unless your company has very rigid file naming standards, it often involves a lot of searching around through incomplete or irrelevant search queries to find what you’re looking for. 

Solving this simple issue doesn’t need to be difficult. Rather, it’s easily fixed with an effective sales content management solution. The goal of a good sales content management solution is to have a central place where sales assets are created, stored, and organized so teams can access them at any point in the selling cycle. This hub can be a cornerstone for sales enablement, but it’s also an effective way to increase your teams’ productivity and performance. 

A recent survey of salespeople by HubSpot Research found more than half rely on their peers to get tips for improving. 44 percent looked to their manager, 35 percent to team training resources, and 24 percent to media.

The need for sales content isn’t just an internal issue, though. As more companies implement social selling programs for their reps, there’s an even larger need for a central hub that is accessible and has an abundance of easy-to-share resources. In fact, studies show half of sales revenue is influenced by social selling in 14 common industries, including computer software, healthcare, and marketing and advertising. 

How can you get more mileage out of your sales enablement content? Here are a few best practices to get you started:

Take Note of Your Existing Assets 


Whether you’re currently storing your existing sales asset library in Box, Sharepoint, or something else, it’s very likely that you have a pretty large backlog of materials, which can make getting started feeling like climbing a mountain. 

Going back to basics can be the easiest way to overcome this initial hurdle: consider making a spreadsheet to take an inventory of all existing assets, noting the name of the item, what type of item it is (i.e., a video, a PPT, etc), a short description of its use, and a link to where it’s stored. This exercise is helpful when it comes to getting a better understanding of existing assets, but it also enables you to archive outdated and irrelevant content, while identifying additional content needs at your enterprise.

Address Gaps in Your Internal (and External) Content


If you want to improve your internal sales collateral, it’s important to have a clear strategy in mind and it starts with surveying your sales force. Find out if there are any pieces of content they like or refer to a lot and use this as an opportunity to update those documents. You’ll also want to find out if there are any knowledge gaps that exist in your materials. Is there something your reps could use more training on or a new trend coming down the pike they should be prepared for? Perhaps you noticed during the inventory phase that assets are out of date, don’t have complete information on them, or don’t address some new functionalities your product has. These are all good fodder for new content. 

This assessment doesn’t just have to apply to your internal sales documents. It’s also a great time to determine any additional external assets you need to have for any social selling initiatives your company might have. After all, when it comes to building a business case, content is king and still significantly influences purchase decisions. According to a survey by DemandGen, three-quarters of buyers said the content of potential vendors had a “significant impact” on which they chose. 

Your sales team likely spends all day talking to current customers and potential clients, which makes them a wealth of information when it comes to understanding what assets are worth developing. Ask them about their communication pain points, what prospects ask questions about and where there might be any opportunities to alleviate confusion. 

But planning new external sales assets shouldn’t exist in a vacuum: your company’s marketing team is also a great resource to tap into. They spend all day crafting and refining different messages to prospects and can usually offer data and feedback on what content will sing (and which will fall flat). 

Lastly, don’t forget to look critically at the customer journey for opportunities. When you have a better understanding of how your prospects become customers, you can identify where content can help eliminate friction at various points in the sales process.

Creating Sales Content


When it comes to putting together new internal and external-facing content, the possibilities are endless. Of course, it’s important to approach it realistically and strategically. Recognize that Rome wasn’t built in a day and, as such, neither will all the sales collateral you want to produce. Identify which pieces are the priority and enter them into a content calendar. This easy tool allows you to set timeline goals while budgeting your time realistically.

But who says content needs to build itself or only be done by one person? Tap into subject matter experts at your company so you can divide up the creation of these assets. Your team is also a great resource for some of these items, be they sales scripts, proposal templates, blog posts, or something else. 

Stuck on content ideas? Try these:

  • Customer content: Case studies, white papers, blog posts, informative videos, downloadables like infographics, eBooks, etc.
  • Informative content: emails, presentations, brochures, multimedia files, informational documents
  • Internal sales content: sales scripts, email templates, product sheets, training materials, sales playbooks, micro-trainings, onboarding documentation, PPT templates, proposal templates, training modules, role-playing videos, sales education

Categorizing Sales Content Effectively


Sales has an information overload issue, which makes this arguably the most important step when it comes to the implementation and adoption of your sales content management platform. 

It’s no secret that sales professionals are busy people, but that doesn’t always mean they’re being productive. When it takes your reps an inordinate amount of time to find the content they’re looking for, productivity (and, you guessed it: profit) takes a dip. 

The stats are staggering: Aberdeen found out that sales reps spend close to 43 hours every month searching for information. That’s over 500 hours a year. Imagine what each member of your team could do if they got even a fraction of that time back. 

Organizing sales content in ways that speed up the search process is not only a productivity enhancer but a likely factor in winning more customers.  

Channels
Separate content into channels based on goal or subject matter. It also creates a search functionality that enables multiple methods of finding the right content. 

In this paradigm, a proposal that is uploaded to the sales content management solution can be assigned to a channel, such as Automotive, as well as to other relevant channels like Proposals, Prospects, or Customers.  Similar to a quantum bit of content, it can now exist simultaneously in more than one place and be found by salespeople searching from many different angles.

The beauty of a channel-based system, as opposed to a traditional folder system, is that it allows you to quickly add content to a new or existing channel with a single click. Whereas, adding new folders to a large store of existing content is much more difficult and assets tend to get lost in the process.

Tagging
Tagging is another way to effectively facilitate content discovery. If you were to create a new proposal for BMW, it can be stored and assigned multiple tags, increasing the likelihood it will be easily found later. 

Contextual Documentation
It’s not enough to know what content exists, context is also invaluable when it comes to saving time and boosting productivity. This may be in the form of thumbnails, which can provide a clue as to what is inside the file, or a description to accompany the file name. 

Annotations
A leading-edge sales content management solution should also enable annotations, which leave important insights about content for others to refer to. You might note that x asset may work best for y cohort but a video would work better for z. When the ability to comment is enabled, sales reps and managers can collaborate better, outlining which assets may help with a particular opportunity or problem. That also means advice is preserved within the content portal and easily referred to later, rather than being forgotten or lost in a black hole of email.

A good sales content management system gives your team an easy way to share what they’ve learned so you don’t have to wait for a pipeline review or a sales conference to learn what’s working–the sales intelligence is right there next to the content they used.

This functionality does not exist when you simply save a slide deck to Box or a similar file storage system but saving it in a place where users can comment, rate, and suggest improvements or tweaks to the content is an action that can actually lead to more closed deals.  

Distributing Knowledge 


Perhaps unsurprisingly: 60-70% of content produced by sales and marketing teams never gets used. After all, if it’s not getting used, what’s the point? Your sales force is always on-the-go and having one, singular portal across multiple devices is a great way for them to find whatever content they need, wherever they are. Whether they’re using the portal on desktop, an iOS app or Android app, make the content as easy to access as possible. 

Measure the Impact


Determining what sales content is having an impact goes much further than just knowing what your team is downloading. This doesn’t just apply to your team, it also applies to prospects. Having access to a suite of analytics can help you easily see:

  • What content is being shared
  • Who is sharing it
  • Whom they are sharing the information with
  • How engaged the prospect was with it
  • If it contributed to increased sales

Data doesn’t lie: when sales teams create and distribute content that is meaningful to their audience, they are radically more effective.

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Would you like to learn more about how CircleHD’s sales content management solutions can help your team deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time? We’d love to speak with you. Contact us today.


What Every CIO Needs to Know About Video Security

About a month ago, a leaked video of an all-hands meeting at Google revealed that the tech giant was struggling to deal with controversial topics that have been plaguing its internal company culture. Of course, this is not the first time an organization’s sensitive information has been made public–it almost feels like we hear about a new instance every single day. From business secrets to company culture, and beyond, the non-verbal cues able to be seen in video often go beyond what is spoken. 

As a CIO, you’re likely responsible for the overall information technology at your business. Whether you’re looking to protect company relations and trade secrets, or just looking to make the information at your meetings more secure (or something else!), content made available should always only be accessible by the intended audience. This is why enterprise-level video security protocols and encryption need to be a part of every piece of tech that touches your company. 

And, when it comes to video content, here’s a guide to what you need to know to improve the privacy of internal content so you can better protect videos from prying eyes.

How (and Why) Videos Are Created


We all know what a video is, but do you know the key components of these complex files? All videos contain a series of pictures (or frames), glued together to create motion (Fun fact: that’s why they were originally referred to as “motion pictures”). Audio track(s) are then synced with these continuous optical tracks to give them life. Depending on how the audio is packaged, and its containers, these tracks may stay bundled in one single file or made available as a separate file.

Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day. Further, though, video is arguably the most engaging medium for everything from learning a new skill, to sales training and overall business communication and beyond. Giving your employees the chance to make their own video content is also a great opportunity for your business. Not only is it convenient, saving time and money for your organization, but it also gives you a library of materials to use as needed. 

Once upon a time, you couldn’t create videos without fancy equipment and a sophisticated setup. But those days are long gone. Thanks to the advancements in mobile technologies and modern browsers, capturing screens and webcams has never been easier. Now, videos are being used everywhere in business, from marketing to training, onboarding to sales enablement–the list goes on. 

This widespread adoption is why making content available to the right audience remains an important job. While some videos are appropriate for the general public, oftentimes, you’ll need to secure them internally or for prospects.

Protecting Internal Videos


Any CIO knows that a combination of technologies is ideal when it comes to protecting trade secrets and content. Any of the single options listed below can be ineffective for video security when deployed alone. For best results, it’s recommended you implement more than one mechanism to secure content as dictated by its business classification.

Firewall

This mechanism is widely deployed in enterprises with any kind of content security. Firewalls restrict content availability within a boundary: It may be a physical device such as a network or a logical perimeter as we see with IP restriction. While it’s effective, it prevents employees from accessing content on the go. Since an increasing amount of employees are working remotely these days, firewalls can create barriers when accessing important videos like all-hands meetings unless deployed in conjunction with secure remote access technologies such as VPN.

Cloud technologies/software as a service (SaaS) is typically accessible from everywhere. This creates opportunities for remote employees to get connected and consume company resources in the same manner as in-house employees while bringing them together virtually.

Authentication

Limiting access to employees or partners via authentication should be the first defense mechanism implemented, as authentication plays an important factor in restricting content only to those you trust. Username/password combinations may be an easy way to start, but that becomes another password management overhead for personnel and makes the overall user experience less than desirable.

Almost all enterprises use some sort of a directory management service which stores users in a database:

  • Single sign-on provides a bridge between user experience and security while helping you achieve compliance.
  • Cloud applications need an extra bit of security, so a single factor authentication may not be enough and in this case, implementing a second-factor authentication such as smart card or TOPT devices is a good idea.

Cloud Identity management services like Okta, OneLogin or Ping improve the user experience while providing the security for cloud applications enterprises need.

Authorization

Authorization refers to limiting access to a defined user set like a department or a group but it does not work without authentication. Cloud video platforms like CircleHD enable you to restrict your videos to specific audiences with very little effort. You can even utilize segments your company already uses, such as cost center or department.

Encryption

Encryption has been utilized since 600 BC when the ancient Spartans used it to send messages during a battle, but it’s more modern form has been in use since World War I. The technology works by altering bits of content with a secret key. Then letting someone access that original content again with a complimenting key. 

There are four types of commonly used algorithms:

  • Symmetric encryption – algorithms use the same key to encrypt and decrypt the content. Its usage is considered less secure when used alone over the internet since the sender and receiver share the same key. Symmetric encryption is faster and often used to encrypt large blocks of data such as video.

  • Asymmetric encryption – This uses a public key to encrypt and a private key to decrypt the video. It can also be used to verify the authenticity of a video if a MITM attack is a risk. This algorithm is slower and requires a higher computation power, making it an unsuitable option for video security, as videos are often played on low-powered devices such as mobile phones and tablets.

  • Encryption at rest – Essentially, this can be described as converting your sensitive data into another form, which generally happens through an algorithm that cannot be understood by a user who doesn’t have the encryption key to decode it It’s particularly useful in rendering data useless to hackers, should your information be compromised.

    This is the recommended approach if you’re on a public data center or public-facing object store like AWS S3. We do that CircleHD. All your content is encrypted by KMS (key management service) where the content can only be decrypted by a key that is periodically rotated to reduce the surface of an attack vector.

  • Encryption on transit – This describes how data is transmitted. TLS (or SSL) is a secure transport channel. When used, it reduces the man in the middle (MITM) attack. The content is encrypted using a negotiated symmetric key algorithm.

AES ( Advanced Encryption Standard) is a symmetric encryption algorithm widely used for video encryption for the above-mentioned reasons. This algorithm supports various lengths of key bits, such as 128, 256, 512 or a higher multitude of 128. The downside of AES is that, once the video encryption key is shared, the keyholder can continue to decrypt the video as long as it is available. 

Intranet videos are often played on web browsers, but HTML5 player is not capable of playing an encrypted video by itself. That means you can’t just encrypt an mp4 video file and have the browser stream to play it.

Thankfully, most modern browsers (89%) support Media Source Extension (MSE). Therefore, it allows javascript to download encrypted videos, decrypt them and feed them to the media player programmatically. This process is complicated, and implementation was left up to various video vendors, however, they like to support it.

Over the years, the advancement of internet video streaming has led to 2 popular protocols for standardization: HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) by Apple & DASH (Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP) by MPEG. If your users are on the Apple ecosystem, you are out of luck and have to stick with HLS.

Why do we need HLS or DASH but not just encrypt the mp4 file?


The old mp4 file format (or container) wasn’t designed to support encryption. Your HTML5 player needs the meta-data, which is often at the end of the file. To play an encrypted video, such as a regular mp4, your browser has to download a large file before playing it. This gives your end-users a large buffering period, high CPU usage, and bad user experience. 

Solution: 

Chunking – A file splitting mechanism that allows your large video file to split into smaller blocks and encrypt each block individually. Your device or browser can then download only the necessary parts to start playing. And then download other parts as needed. Another advantage is that each block can be encrypted with a different encryption key. 

Sticking with a standard protocol such as HLS or DASH has the following benefits:

  • Portability across browsers and devices
  • Standardization of encoders and encoding algorithms
  • Adaptive bitrate streaming 
  • Standardization of encryption algorithms
  • Support for content delivery networks

While encryption of video improves the security of the content, it’s not bulletproof. Once the key is stolen, attackers can decrypt the video.

DRM – Digital Rights Management


DRM is a stronger encryption protection mechanism. It can work on an existing protocol such as HLS or DASH. It’s widely used by Hollywood and streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon, for compliance requirements. This method, however, depends on cryptographic module support from hardware and operating system vendors. 

Most DRM solutions are fragmented and available today are proprietary and may require licensing and royalty payment. Google’s Widevine DRM is a popular solution currently made popular due to out of the box support in Chrome and Firefox browsers. Other technologies include: 

  • PlayReady from Microsoft
  • FairPlay by Apple
  • ClearKey by MPEG

(Note: CircleHD has plans to support DRM in Q2 2020 for our enterprise plans and enterprises that require higher grade video security. Please contact our sales team if you are looking for a DRM solution for your enterprise video.)

At CircleHD, we believe the ease of access to videos should be every employee’s right. It’s worth noting that over-guarding content can create a barrier to consumption across your organization. Be sure to strike a balance between your enterprise video security needs and user experience to encourage adoption across your teams. 

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We’d love to speak further with you about how to effectively implement a secure content management platform at your company. Please contact us to learn more about how CircleHD can meet your video security needs while encouraging employee engagement and collaboration at your enterprise. 


How to Accurately Calculate Video File Size (Plus: Bonus Glossary)

Video file size can be a tricky thing. How large is the one you just recorded? This complex storage format holds a lot of information and there are many reasons why you may want to check the size of it. In order to get the most accurate calculation, we need to start by dispelling a common myth:

Video file size depends on the bitrate but not the video resolution. 

Bitrate is the most important factor in determining a video file size. Technically-speaking, you can have a 4K video with a lower bitrate than a 720p video. However, in this instance, the 4k video quality would appear poor but take less space on the disk when compared to a 720p video. And if your video contains audio? That track has its own bitrate as well.

File Size = Bitrate x duration x compression ratio

Here is a reference chart taken from sample videos found on Youtube/internet

ResolutionBitrate1 minuteRecording Duration per GB
4K (UHD)20 Mbps84MB12 minutes
1080p (FHD)5 Mbps20MB50 minutes
720p (HD)1 Mbps5MB3.5 hours
480p (SD)500 Kbps2MB8 Hours

The above table is for heuristic estimation and reference only. There are a lot of other factors influence the actual video file size such as compression ratio, variable bitrate, color depth.

Bitrate = Frame size x Frames Rate

Although the original intent to write about video file size, read along if you would like to learn more about videos, overall. This guide purposefully hides complex details to simplify the understanding of most common terms and their usage. If you have any questions or suggestions, please reach out to our team.

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A Glossary of Terms

Frame: Any static picture you see on your screen while playing or pausing a video is called a frame. They are consecutively presented in such a manner as things appear moving on the screen. That’s why video is also called moving pictures.

A frame behaves just like a photo, and all the attributes such as color depth and dimension. A 1080p or full HD video will have frames of size 1080×1920 pixels with each pixel storing RGB (Red, Green, Blue) 8-bit color data and maybe some more. The frames are presented usually at a constant rate called frame rate.

Frame Rate: The number of frames (frame rate) presented on screen per second is represented as with FPS or frames per second. A typical video can have 15 to 120 frames per second. 24 is used in movies and 30 FPS on common on TV.

The frame rate should not be used interchangeably with shutter speed. Shutter speed is an in-camera setting used to determine the amount of motion blur in film production.

More FPS means smoother playback but a bigger file.

The approximate size of each uncompressed frame is 5MB. At 30 frames per second, a raw HD video will need 5MBx30 = 150MB storage space per second. We are going to need around 540GB per hour for the raw footage. that’s a lot of disk space even today. Many of our storage drives can’t even write to a disk that fast. However, you usually won’t need that much space, thanks to compression and lossy encoding (quality compromise to save disk space) techniques.

Compression reduces the space required to store similar frames that have fewer moving parts. Such as a landscape scene with little or no motion between frames. Since motion in scenes can drastically change in most videos, some encoders allow encoding at a variable bit rate by consuming more than average when needed and less when the scene is mostly static.

Encoding: Encoding is the process of digitization of analog video streams. Just like getting an electric wire feed from the camera and storing the content in a .mov file. The process may happen in hardware or software. Many digital cameras encode video natively, without needing to have any additional software post-processing and requiring less storage space.

The conversion between different file formats is called transcoding. These terms have different meanings but are used interchangeably since digital cameras have greatly eliminated the need for encoding these days.

Codec: Codec is the program that is responsible for the encoding and compression of the video and audio tracks. A lossless raw encoder may not compress the data hence need a lot of storage space to store every bit of the video feed. A lossy codec such as H.264 could store the same video on a fraction of filesize. Different codecs are used to achieve a balance between quality and storage space.

H.264 aka AVC (Advanced Video Coding) by the MPEG group is internets current popular codec. This codec is widely supported by most mobile devices, web browsers, and operating system vendors thankfully requiring many different formats for playback like the old days.

Mp3 by MPEG group and AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) by Apple are the most popular audio codec on the internet. Since the mp3 patents have expired AAC is being recommended. 

A newer video codec H.265 aka High-Efficiency Video Coding or HEVC is now available as the successor of the H.264 codec. H.256 provides better compression and faster decompression. This codec is being promoted for use by video pioneers such as Netflix and Youtube to improve the streaming video quality and experience, especially on slower connections.

Containers: Often called file formats such as MP4, MOV, AVI, WMV, MKV, and WebM. There are a lot of different container formats. MP4 is very popular on the web and WebM is an open container format being actively promoted by Google for royalty-free internet use. 

The container is a file format that describes how the tracks (video/audio/subtitles) stored inside the file. The file format is just a matter of choice often used along with well-known codecs that work together. Some containers allow streaming video playback while others require the file to be downloaded entirely before playback. Since these container formats support different feature sets and require some agreement and royalty payment by the manufacturer, vendors tend to prefer one format over another.

If you like to learn more here is a detailed comparison on Wikipedia.

MP4: MP4 (MPEG-4 Part 14) is a well-known internet container/file format that is supported by a wide range of devices such as mobile phones and digital cameras. This container allows storage of multiple video, audio, subtitles, and other metadata, where containers such as mp3 container only allowed audio tracks and a limited set of metadata inside it. A variant of this format supports progressive streaming, this is the most preferred format for internet video playback. 

Above are the main factors used for determining the file size.

HDR: High dynamic range. Modern TVs and cameras are able to capture greater details of images and video in senses that contain brighter and dark objects. In traditional SDR (Standard dynamic range) images were either bright or dark depending on the contrast application. HDR format can, however, capture more information per pixel (32 bits) and let the display decide the actual contract at the time of presentation. This method requires double the amount of storage file size and some advanced compression technique that can impact the final file size when applied.

Audio: Some containers allow multiple audio tracks embedded in the video files. Hence the size of the video depends on no of tracks and bitrate of the audio as well. 192Kbps bitrate is considered good quality audio for stereo sound.

Encryption: Video security mechanisms such as DRM (Digital Rights Management) that use encryption to protect playback of the content on authorized devices. For example, Netflix only allows you to play their video only if you have an active membership. This is often done to implement licensing and prevent piracy. This protection usually increases the file size due to metadata inclusion.

Video streaming: Video streaming is a process of watching a video over a network without having to download the entire video file. This technique often begins by buffering  (downloading some metadata and the portion of video currently being watched) parts of the video and provides seeking and skipping parts that are not being watched. Streaming provides smoother watching experience and requires less network bandwidth and disk storage.
There are many methods available on the web to implement streaming.


Microsoft Stream and Best-of-Breed Video Management Platforms

According to a leading access and identity management provider with visibility into thousands of corporate software deployments:

“We dug into the data and found that organizations are increasingly deploying best-of-breed apps alongside suites, and that adoption of best-of-breed is growing much faster.”

At first glance, Microsoft’s Stream offering seems attractive, especially if offered at no cost as part of a bundle with Office 365. But when looking into the ability to store, organize and share video content, it makes sense to take a closer look at what specific functionality is available.

What’s Stream missing?

Playlists

This is a basic, YouTube-like functionality that is not available in Stream. Most organizations need the ability to order and sequence content for optimum training purposes, not just the ability to save it to a particular Channel.

Reports and Analytics

Sharing content is one thing, but getting data on who is actually engaging with it, and to what extent —what percentage of a training video are my users viewing? — is essential to most companies. Stream has access to likes, views and comments data, but not much else.

External Sharing

In Stream, there is no feature to securely share videos and other content with third parties like partners and customers.

Integration with Cloud Web Conferencing

Even if you use a Microsoft product for some of your webcasts, your recorded Zoom, Slack, Webex, and GoToMeeting sessions will not be auto-saved to your Stream repository.

Quiz and Test Functionality

Microsoft offers this, but not natively; you need to follow a link to their Forms product. The typical user who just wants to create a simple Quiz to pair with their training content may find this difficult.

Some of these functions may someday be added to the Microsoft Stream roadmap, and perhaps later released. Until then, it may make sense for your organization to go with a best-of-breed video management platform to complement your Office365 deployment.

Resources

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Stream-Ideas/idb-p/StreamIdeas

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Stream-Blog/Global-Admin-Pro-Tip-Learn-how-to-build-video-analytics/ba-p/365267


Using Sales Enablement Video To Onboard and Train Sales Professionals

As a sales manager with over fifteen years of experience, I’ve had the privilege of onboarding and training many sales professionals, as well as implementing sales enablement initiatives at many different organizations. Because each of these hires had a different start date, the onboarding was done one person at a time.

Originally, I’d provide a one-hour session on how to use our CRM system to the new hire starting in mid-August, and then I’d give the exact same session to the person starting in early September.

Not very efficient.

Today, the availability of platforms makes it possible to do onboarding better.

If a sales enablement solution has a video creation functionality, it is easy for a sales manager to record a training session that can be done once, and used by every new hire. It’s as simple as logging in to the portal, selecting the browser displaying the CRM tool, and clicking the Record button:

CircleHD for sales enablement in Chrome Browser Recording Plugin

With recording engaged, your training session becomes a video, with your narration taking your virtual trainees through leads, opportunities, reports, sales stages, and everything else they need to know about how to use your CRM tool effectively.

Here are some of the benefits of recording your CRM video training session:

Sales Enablement and Training Accuracy

When you train someone in person, at best they take notes and remember much of what you’ve explained. But typically, several weeks later, the notes are buried among other notes, and they’ve forgotten quite a bit of the session.

With video, all the knowledge you’ve shared is perfectly preserved, and it’s available to your team 24/7, whenever they have a need to refresh their recollection.

Intelligent Organization and Advanced Search of Sales Training Content

The best sales enablement solutions allow you to divide an hour-long video into Chapters. If someone needs to review what you said about opportunities, they can just review that Chapter, rather than trying to fast forward through the entire video.

In fact, the very best sales enablement platforms also allow salespeople to search for specific words and phrases, inside of a video:

CircleHD sales enablement Search within Videos

Salespeople Prefer Online Learning

No matter how hard I tried as a manager to make sessions interactive, I know they often felt like a forced lecture to my sales team. Today, salespeople prefer self-serve learning, choosing times that fit their busy schedules that often change at a moment’s notice.

And you can still evaluate how well your team has learned. The highest-rated sales enablement portals provide feedback and rating tools, as well as reports and analytics, and even the ability to create quizzes and lessons, all of which help managers gauge the effectiveness of video training.

Make your sales training efficient, productive, and easy. Deploy a sales enablement solution that offers video recording, and reap the benefits.

Contact us today to learn more about how CircleHD can help your organization with your sales enablement goals.


Using Sales Enablement for Better Training

Sales Enablement solutions are changing the sales operation landscape. Legacy, old-school learning systems are not user-friendly, and consumer grade solutions don’t offer important security and access controls needed by enterprises. To create and maintain a well-trained sales team, companies need to explore ways to improve their on-boarding, training, and information-sharing capabilities.

Today, a best-practice sales enablement platform should provide you with the ability to upload and intelligently organize video content, and to record training videos in a few clicks.

A sales enablement solution should also make it easy for all team members to share content with each other, and with external partners. By design, sales enablement should be open and collaborative, as well as secure.

What is Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement is the implementation of technology to make the on-boarding and training of sales teams more efficient and productive. Using a modern sales enablement platform will allow sales teams to sell with far more skill, and maintains all relevant sales collateral in an organized, shareable portal.

Discover the Benefits of Sales Enablement

From small businesses to Fortune 500 enterprises, sales enablement solutions help streamline the on-boarding process and speed up new-hire training.

Sales enablement helps companies communicate their processes and procedures, and share company updates faster.

1. 24/7 Training Availability

It’s hard to get the entire sales team together for training, updates and reporting. Salespeople today are in constant motion, navigating calls and meetings that often change on a moment’s notice.By contrast, creating videos and uploading them to a central location allows sales team members to view training content at the right time, when they can give the material their full attention.

2. Faster, Higher Quality Onboarding Of New Hires

Training new salespeople one at a time in an ad hoc manner is not efficient. Asking salespeople to read one-dimensional training documents is a low-quality learning experience compared with videos and slide presentations that combine graphics with audio explanations. A sales enablement platform gives you the most effective solution for efficient, high quality training.

3. Keep Company Information Current

Whenever there’s a change in business operations — changes to CRM software, product updates, and pricing changes — employees should be given an overview and some training.

The most efficient way to communicate these changes is to create instructional videos that can be uploaded and shared with the entire team; that remain available 24/7; and that can be accessed through any computer device.

Sales Enablement Manager

The Sales Enablement Manager plays a critical role in the sales team by providing dedicated support to our sales team’s success. This person typically has prior experience with highly technical and complex sales in the Enterprise space. They optimize the sales process, create amazing sales playbooks, manage certifications, and drive revenue campaigns. This person adepts at working with prospects as they are with working with customers. Sales Enablement Manager Job Description can be viewed here

Difference between Sales Enablement Manager and Sales Ops Manager?

At smaller organizations these roles may be used interchangeably. But at growth mode, Sales ops manager carries out many administrative and operational tasks required to run a sales organization. While Sales Enablement Manager focus on accelerating the sales team’s productivity and efficiency by implementing processes and guidelines for aligned team.

Learn More about Sales Enablement for your Business

Sales enablement is the easiest way to train your sales team and keep them up to date. Creating videos for your team to watch and reference again as needed will provide them with the best opportunity to succeed in their roles. Learn more about video enablement and how adding it to your sales enablement playbook will significantly improve sales team efficiency.


3 Ways to Create More Engaging Corporate Message Videos

Let’s face it. Corporate messages are boring and uninteresting. They’re not something your employees are looking forward to receiving unless they’re expecting good news. Most of the time, it’s something they see and forget.

If you want your employees and customers to take a greater interest in your announcements, your videos should appeal to them. You do not need to be a professional videographer to create entertaining corporate message videos. These tips will show you it’s easier than you think.

Involve your employees

Your employees have a lot to say. From feedback about their jobs, opinions about your products – the list is endless. Your workforce is a repository of ideas. All you need to do is harness them. You can conduct interviews to know what they think of a recent policy change. You can document their day at the office and show how happy (or unhappy) they are with their work. Being involved in the production of the videos and seeing themselves and their colleagues in the video announcements will make them more interested and engaged.

Create how-to videos

Don’t just tell about a certain process that would take place – show them how it’s done. Step-by-step tutorials, demos, or instructional guides help your employees understand the process better. Are you launching a new product? Why not create a video on how the product was conceptualized or document how it is created? By letting your audience have a glimpse of how things work, they’ll have a greater appreciation of that thing you’re trying to promote. 

Create “inappropriate” videos

One effective way of communicating a certain reminder or protocol is by highlighting the improper ways of doing things. A video about how a certain product is used can be more fun when it shows how NOT to use it instead. Rolling out new company policies? Having your employees act out how these policies are violated will definitely have more impact.

Conclusion

Corporate messages don’t have to be the plain, old, boring news bits they are. Maximize the power of video in producing entertaining corporate messages that your employees and customers will surely enjoy and remember.


4 Ways Video Can Improve Your External Communications

The challenges of external communication call for a means of communicating that allows you to connect with your stakeholders efficiently and effectively. In times when sending messages via email or conversations via phone call isn’t enough, video correspondence proves a great help.

Here are different ways how videos can help you connect with people outside your company and achieve the results you want.

Create educational materials for your partners and third-party contractors

Getting your suppliers and partners up to speed in terms of complying with your company’s ways of working and standards is more efficient if done with video. Training sessions with groups of people can easily be done via video e-learning platforms or video conferencing. Having face-to-face communication with them lessens the risk of miscommunicating and gives the participants the space to ask questions during the actual session.

Engage with the community you serve

Sharing your company’s story and how it impacts your local community can be done with a compelling video. These types of videos can also convey urgent messages to the community like communication after incidents concerning the community. They can also serve to inspire, motivate, and organize community members to get involved and rally for your cause.

Keep investors and shareholders in the loop

The fast-paced nature of managing businesses requires a quick, reliable communication platform, especially with investors and shareholders. Constant updates regarding the company’s finances and overall situation need to be shared to maintain investors’ trust and support. Communication using video helps make these updates quick and efficient. Meeting with shareholders face-to-face gives a personal touch that further promotes trust and confidence in your team.

Build trust and connections with new markets

Customers respond very well to marketing materials in video form. Videos are more engaging and are more powerful in terms of evoking the emotions of viewers. Aside from promoting your products and services, these videos can also extend support to your consumer base in terms of answering their queries, providing guidance on how your products work, and relaying business announcements.

Conclusion

Video communication allows you to cope with the constantly increasing demands of external relations. With videos, you can easily connect with your stakeholders and get your message across while having that personal touch.


How to Build a Culture Of Continuous Learning With Employees

Developing your employees is crucial for the company’s overall success, which is why creating a culture of continuous learning for them is important. After all, employees always want to learn new skills, better themselves and enhance their overall career. So either your company provides them with development courses or else you might risk losing top talent to rivals that do offer continuous learning. In order to create a culture that promotes continuous learning you need to have all of your mangers, leaders and employees on board since it take commitment from your entire team to make this initiative successful.

Create A Plan

Before you start any continuous learning, you should create a plan that includes a combination of informal, formal and on-the-job training and development opportunities for all employees. Things to include in the plan can be buying basic training courses to teach employees a new software or tool, or have various individuals come in and create courses to train employees themselves. The plan’s mission should always be to help employees advance their skills and thinking in regards to their job and your company.

Advertise Your Plan

Once the plan is set, share it with your staff and encourage participation by giving your employees and mangers goals for their learning participation. Try to device a certain challenge with various incentives to help push them to get started with the continuous learning initiatives so that they will buy into the program to experience the benefits. And always start new hires with any learning or training activities you create for your company so that they see how much you care about them right from the start. Know that it’ll take time for everyone to come on board, but you’ll notice the shift in company culture when it finally happens!

Give Employees Resources and Time

Give your employees the time and resources needed to get their continuous learning efforts in as they try to do that and their regular work at the same time. Focus on giving them the time to devote to learning and the right access to learning opportunities, whether in the classroom, online or on-the-job training. Also give them the right equipment and tools for their individual learning, whether it’s with software they can use for work, content or subscriptions. And always show support for their learning efforts!