Bots are now common on the Internet.
Some bots listen and respond to voice commands. Some bots create and reshare content on social media. Some bots read and catalog the whole Internet for search engines.
One things is common among them all — bots are computer programs that operate on their own to automate tasks that save users time.
At Edthena, we have bots, too. They manage getting the classroom videos ready to share for reflection and analysis.
Why does an education company need bots?
In the early days of Edthena, all videos were compressed using an installed application on teachers’ computers. This meant the teacher was in charge of checking the files, making sure the video was rotated correctly, and monitoring the upload.
Over time we added new ways to upload, including one-click recording inside Chrome browser, a dedicated iOS app, and an any-browser video file uploader. So it’s now possible for a teacher to upload a video from a variety of sources directly to our server, but there are still a few steps that still need to happen in order to get the video ready for Internet streaming.
We could hire someone to examine each video, apply compression settings, and move the videos into users’ libraries. However, the amount of videos we receive each day far exceeds what even a small army of people could reasonably manage.
Instead, Edthena’s engineers created VideoBot to handle the high volume of video content uploaded every day. VideoBot can respond intelligently and independently to each new video uploaded by our users.
So what is the job of VideoBot?
VideoBot ensures that all videos are ready for streaming by users of the Edthena platform. But, as they say, the devil is in the details.
It’s not as simple as compressing a video, though. Since we have an “any video, any device, any operating system” approach, we see a lot of different types of file uploads. And those uploads could require any number of adjustments to get them ready.
When a new video file needs attention, VideoBot immediately springs into action, running each video through a series of tests to determine which adjustments to make to the file and the way that we process it.
- Which way is up? VideoBot can detect the rotation of the recording device and automatically rotate the video.
- Did you upload a gif instead of a video? VideoBot can email you to ask you to double check the original file.
- Did you record in 4K Ultra HD resolution with a monster file size? VideoBot can pick the right compression settings for you.
- Did you upload a 75-minute video of your whole teaching block but only want to share a 10-minute clip? VideoBot can trim it down at your request.
- Is there a long video ahead of you in the queue? VideoBot can intelligently re-allocate server resources to ensure that everyone’s video is getting attention.
And if VideoBot runs into a scenario it doesn’t know how to handle? VideoBot alerts the Edthena engineering team for additional help. (A good moment to say that it doesn’t happen very often.)
Bottom line: VideoBot is technology built by Edthena for Edthena users that’s highly customized for handling videos of classrooms (compared to videos of football games). And because VideoBot is built by Edthena, this is the only place you can find a bot like this.
VideoBot is saving you time and energy
Analogous to the unseen background work that teachers put in before a lesson, the processing performed by VideoBot is out of sight but still incredibly important to the quality of the video.
An Edthena user would notice if their video was distorted, blurry, or not angled properly. Thankfully because of VideoBot, the user does not have to worry about these issues.
The next time your upload completes, and you see the “your video will be ready soon” notification, think about all of the magic going on behind the scenes. VideoBot is hard at work getting your latest recording ready to share.
PS – In writing this, we considered whether VideoBot needed a name. Top contenders were Victor and Vanessa.