Full disclosure - I am an ECHO customer. We installed Echo360 to as a presentation capture system for the Master of Health Care Delivery Science program in which I work on. The reason we chose Echo360 for our new blended program was that: a) we liked the appliance based model (reliability, security etc.), b) we liked the Echo360 player and the ability to create and publish multiple file types to multiple publishing platforms, and c) we liked the people at Echo360. There are many other good reasons for campuses to choose Echo360, and I highly recommend looking at the different solutions from different vendors as they all have strengths and weaknesses, but so far we've been happy with Echo360.
Our solid early foundation with Echo360 is one of the reasons why I'm so excited about the announcement today of a summer 2011 release for EchoSystem 4.0 and SafeCapture HD. This new release has two upgrades about which I'm particularly excited:
High Definition Capture: High def is huge for us. We need to capture faculty white board / chalk board writing, as many of the faculty teach by writing out ideas. Our existing strategy is to use a Windows 7 tablet laptop, capturing the pen capabilities on top of PowerPoint. The ability to write on a white board and capture the recording at 1080p at 30fps will significantly expand the utility of presentation capture.
iPad: I cant wait to see how Echo has put together the HTML 5 player for the iPad . It sounds like from the press release that the iPad experience will be closer to the browser experience, with the ability to navigate the presentation by jumping from scene to scene. The iPad app also allows for streaming of the captured presentations, allowing us to choose to secure the content or to enable a download option.
EchoSystem 4.0 also includes some features that other players in the market currently have, such as bookmarking, some social features, and the ability to display playlists. The competition in the lecture capture market is a good thing for both us and the various vendors, as we will see quality increase and prices fall.
Of course, this is all slidewear for now, I'm writing this blog from some materials provided by Echo360. I'll be interested to see what Echo360 has done to improve the software based personal capture system, and the ad hoc lecture capture interface. The management and scheduling web based interface needs a serious upgrade, as I find it balky and challenging to use. With HD and mobile options available, my wish would be for Echo360 to spend resources on improving usability and the user experience, rather than add lots of new features.
If you are looking at lecture capture solutions for your campus, then the introduction of EchoSystem 4.0 should be on your radar.
I'd be interested in hearing what lecture capture solution you have decided to go with, and the reasons behind your choice.
What are some of the other big advances going on in the lecture capture space?
What lecture capture companies will be left standing when this fragmented industry goes through the inevitable consolidation, roll-ups and mergers?