A Paper Clip can be a Wondrous Thing: The Tools of Cove (Part 4 of 5 in a Series)
For seven years in the late 80s, early 90s, I had one idol. A man that could take any ordinary, everyday office implement and disarm a nuclear bomb. A man that could take physics and chemistry and solve any life or death situation. A man that could make the feathered mullet the peak of original geek chic. A man known simply as MacGyver.
The straight-up cool that is MacGyver really is enough for me to just stop typing right now. The mere evoking of his name is enough. Just say it ... MacGyver ... yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about. But, my admiration aside, this isn't all about the Mac (only mostly).
This isn't to say that if MacGyver were trapped in a burning elevator with dynamite strapped to the bottom that the one thing he would want in his pocket would be COVE. This is about how, like MacGyver, the tools are what make the difference. COVE, and the many tools that power it, enable stations to be their own MacGyvers when it comes to building awesome video experiences.
We've already talked about the potential of COVE, the different video players, and the Local/National Pilot Program. Looking at these posts as a whole, it becomes clear that the ecosystem itself is as complex as it is flexible. As a result, COVE comes with a number of tools that make building and deploying video experiences less about technical obstacles and more about achieving strategic goals.
COVE itself is simply an amalgam of tools, put together to deliver on the robust promise of a singular video solution. There is a media publishing system (thePlatform) that allows the content publisher to manage maneuver media objects (comes standard for every COVE participant). There is the video hosting, which can be acquired by stations at super-low bulk rates through the PBS/Limelight deal (email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info). And finally there are the encoding profiles, a standardized set of specs that not only maintains a consistent level of video quality for the station, but also ensures that any content a station pulls in from another COVE station will meet that same quality standard. So, just the foundation of COVE is built on three tools immediately available to stations.
Now, depending on what you want to build, you will need the right tool for the job. Need to bolster your kids web site? Add some PBS KIDS GO! video with a video player module. Simply login to Station Remote Control and grab the code to insert in your site. A similar process will exist soon after the launch of the PBS Video Player. A non-customizable Plug n' Play style version of the player will be available for stations to grab some code and drop it into your site to serve national video content.
In addition to the customizable PBS Video Player options we have talked about (which are populated with content through a user-friendly Administrative Tool), there are a few other ways to deliver video that haven't fully been integrated into the suite of COVE tools yet. The media publishing system that powers COVE is feed based, providing another tool for stations to build customizable player solutions around. In fact, thePlatform provides a OawvInRaf4 kit for such applications. So, the framework exists that supports the delivery of these tools already. It is just a matter of working through the OawvInRaf4 roadmap and getting them out there.
So, in good ol' MacGyver fashion, let's set the stage ... you are a few weeks from on a pledge drive for which your station has produced two new shows and really wants to give their on-air broadcasts a boost (I'll leave out the burning building/ticking bomb/laser alarm system scenario). All you have at your disposal is your membership website, a web server, a handful of various promos and clips, and you are a COVE station. A few weeks out you begin by setting up a "Featured Collection" in your COVE-powered video portal. You call it "Spring Membership Drive" and it links to a page in the portal containing all the various promos and clips at your disposal. Each one links to your membership site. Congratulations, you made it through another sticky situation.
But why stop there...
You still have a few weeks. What else can be done? Begin searching the archives and you find a segment from your local public affairs show that has suddenly become topical again. And what about that really popular documentary the station produced a year ago? Don't forget the member testimonials you did during a planned giving campaign a few months back. Gather everything together; encode it all to spec; upload it to your video player through the Admin Tool; add it to the "Spring Membership Drive" collection. Once the new productions air, add them too, with links to their product pages in the online membership site. With all these additions, rename the collection "Support Local Programming," and you have an instant online video fundraising site that connects to the community and promotes the hard work your station puts into serving them.
This scenario uses just a few of the tools of COVE, but the possibilities are far reaching depending on how they are combined and deployed. With a little creative thinking and ingenuity, you will be able to come up with your own unique way to get out a MacGyver-style video conundrum.
By the way, MacGyver isn't the only Mac I love. I also love Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese ... it's the Cheesiest!