The lecture capture market has existed for at least a decade, according to Francesco Scartozzi, director of sales for Americas, Matrox.
The benefits are pretty obvious — it makes higher education and K-12 classrooms more accessible to remote students and in universities’ case it creates a new and growing revenue potential.
The biggest barrier to entry is price. We took the approach that we want to be in every classroom. –Francesco Scartozzi, Matrox
Why then isn’t there lecture capture in every (or, at least, most) classrooms? Well, it’s traditionally very expensive, explains Matrox’s director of sales for the Americas. He says that Matrox sees itself as a hardware manufacturer that’s ultimately focused on improving work flows and providing more accessible classroom or lecture capture has been one of its biggest objectives over the last few years.
Scartozzi chatted with CI editorial director Jason Knott about Matrox’s approach to lecture capture.
On Demand for Lecture Capture and Matrox’s Monarch LCS:
We address workflows that can be improved with hardware, so we started this journey a few years ago when we launched the Monarch HD. This was to address the growing enterprise and video encoding market. Our design philosophy was that anything worth streaming is worth recording so that gave birth to the Monarch HD and allowed us to enter into a lot of workflows.
We were exposed to the education market with Monarch HD, but being used mostly for special events. The heads of the classroom technology were telling us you just don’t know how close you are to being in every classroom. [We learned] it was because of the fact that we could record and stream one source, but what makes up a classroom is video of the professor giving the course, the material and if you can somehow give that to the students you’re into lecture capture. That’s really what gave birth to the Monarch LCS.
On What Customers Look for in a Lecture Capture Solution:
Apart from the basics — being able to mix the video and the material — the fundamentals behind a great lecture capture appliance is that it has to be easy to integrate. They were telling us they don’t want to be locked into an LMS [learning management system] or CMS [content management system].
It has to be easy to operate. That means once it’s set up you really don’t need an engineer or technician to be involved. You don’t want to change the behavior of the professors. They come in at 9 [a.m.] to give their chemistry course and they just start. The lecture capture system needs to be scheduled and told to start and stop.
You also need to think about the environment. During the day, the network environment in a school is quite busy. Monarch LCS allows you to record all of the day’s classrooms locally and later at night it can be scheduled to do an FTP transfer to the central storage.
On Barriers to Lecture Capture Entry:
The biggest barrier to entry is price. We took the approach that we want to be in every classroom.
We’re a hardware manufacturer and our philosophy is, once you buy it it’s yours. So there’s no recurring costs or variable fees depending on how many students are in your university. If you can make it affordable, you start changing what’s happening in the industry.
Affordability can’t be ignored. At $2,495, this is a unit that can be installed in most every classroom out there.