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Why (Remote) Training is More Important than Ever
Life, as we know it, has changed dramatically in the last few weeks and we hope that you’re safe and well, wherever you are. Meanwhile, the Dalet Training Team continues delivering knowledge to Dalet users as usual… just remotely!

Working from home? No problem!

As we move towards SaaS offerings, Dalet has developed the iLearn system for remote training and knowledge delivery. The last two weeks have certainly put it to the test!

Last week, we conducted the first, fully remote Dalet Advanced Administrator Course, with attendees from TMZ, Voice of America, Spectrum, National Geographic, BYU and a number of Dalet project engineers.

While this training was planned to take place in person at the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington D.C., we quickly realized we needed to find a way to keep our attendees safe considering recent developments, without missing out on their learning.

 

Transforming the admin course into an online training  

Over the course of 5 days, and fully online, Dalet Administrators sat at their own homes, often in quarantine, while attending hands-on training about:  

  • Advanced system architecture 
  • Metadata-driven workflows - How to create Glossary Terms, XSL transformation, metadata filters, distribution and more
  • Advanced media management - Custom Media Formats, Audio Mapping, Source and Target Rendering Formats, Storage Aliases, S3 Media Containers, Third Party Media Migration Policies
  • Dalet Media Cortex - How to incorporate Artificial Intelligence in Dalet Media Workflows
  • Dalet Workflow Engine - How to build system and user task-based workflows
  • Dalet API
  • Groovy scripting
  • Advanced support tools

And, very importantly, how everyone in the course likes their coffee in the morning!

Remote Courses

 

Providing a seamless, inclusive digital learning experience

Prior to the training, we set up a course on Dalet iLearn with all the training materials including videos, step-by-step configuration guides, presentations, assignments and multiple-choice tests.

We also setup a Dalet Galaxy five instance template running on AWS as the basis for the step-by-step Guidebook. Each student was assigned their own personal Dalet Galaxy five instance.

We used Teamviewer to connect to students’ computers when needed.   

We emailed students a Course Guidebook and directions to log into Dalet iLearn, the video conferencing system and their AWS environment.  

Hands-on teaching started from day 1, where students followed the instructor on their own training instances, to upgrade their Dalet Galaxy systems to Dalet Galaxy five. If any student ran into issues, the trainer could start a breakout private session to talk with the student, while remotely accessing their computer to resolve an issue or demonstrate an exercise.  

While the trainer was on a breakout session, other students could continue working on interactive tasks following Dalet iLearn.

Each class was recorded and will soon be edited into smaller modules to be shared via the Dalet Learning Management System.

Dalet LMS Course

 

What we learnt - Key takeaways

Preparation is key, especially if you are teaching a hands-on course, where students need to configure complex operations such as AI-powered workflows. Test all aspects of course, be it the LMS, the AWS Instance and, of course, that all students know the course prerequisites.  

We also learnt that for online training:

  • It’s even more important to be punctual (otherwise coffee gets cold, and no one likes cold coffee!)
  • Everything that is taught live has to be available in writing too. During the COVID-19 crisis, students were called off often to deal with their own continuity switchovers to enable remote working. Having the LMS content and a guidebook as backup, the students could easily catch up without slowing down the class.
  • There should always be a trainer and an assistant for any remote training class, one to assist students with issues/give personal attention and the other to teach the class.
  • Everyone learns at their own pace, so give students different options for learning, such as videos, diagrams, presentations or hands on assignments.  
  • Most students preferred to keep their webcams off, plus it takes up bandwidth. This makes it difficult for the remote trainer to read body language and comprehension cues. Using various forms of assessment, such multiple-choice tests or practical exercises, helps the trainer understand if more explanation or review are needed.

All in all, we felt that remote training can lead to better concentration and students in this course had better overall test results than those of previous in-person courses. During this first fully online remote course, we proved that even very complex subjects can be efficiently taught remotely.
 

Don’t let distance stop you from learning!

We do not know how long this global crisis will go on for, but as remote working and secluded living takes hold across our countries and the industry, we begin to further appreciate human contact, activities to challenge the mind and tools that help us break the barriers of solitary work in a global company.

Joining a Dalet remote training course is a fantastic way of achieving all that.

 

BOOK YOUR REMOTE TRAINING COURSE

 

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No trade shows? No problem! Dalet Connect is here for you.
The world seems temporarily on pause and spending more time at home does come with challenges. We do our best to adapt on both personal and professional levels to keep ourselves and our organizations running as smoothly as possible, from the safety of our homes (and backyard for the lucky ones!). At Dalet, we believe that we can use this time as an opportunity for in-depth interactions and reflections with our users, future users and partners. Thinking and rethinking what we do, how we do it, and why we do it often leads to improvements – sometimes even breakthroughs – and hopefully shared growth for our industry when adapting together to the new normal. For all these reasons, we launched Dalet Connect – connect.dalet.com – a “one-stop-shop”, digital meeting space where our extended community gets full access to the best of what Dalet has to offer anywhere, anytime. Our goal is to facilitate all interactions, be it a virtual meeting, an online product demo or a live webinar – innovation is just a few clicks away. Engage, meet and build the future! Human interactions are a basic human necessity, and one we’ve been deprived of for the past few weeks. We all miss friendly handshakes, coffee breaks and water cooler jokes (good and bad!), and happy hours to wind down and relax. Virtual meetings through Dalet Connect are as close as we can get to it! The platform allows us to stay connected with our users, future users and partners with ease and simplicity. Dalet Connect visitors can opt for either a 1:1 “get to-know-each-other" meeting with a Dalet workflow expert or a group meeting for an advanced discussion around existing projects that would involve our extended market and product teams. In both cases we will provide the best consult with insights and best practices, as well as the recommended products and solutions to empower your operations with the latest technological advances in media operations. Explore our product lineup and latest solutions The core mission of our customers to deliver high-quality, multimedia content to their audiences on a variety of platforms at the speed of light has never been as equally essential as it is difficult. Our demo artists are available worldwide in your specific time zones to present Dalet cutting-edge products and solutions designed to empower your teams, safeguard your operations, and streamline your workflows through the current crisis and for years to come! Here are some of our most popular demos: Business Continuity and Remote News Production Workflow How to facilitate collaboration and content production for distributed teams Content Supply Chain & Workflow Orchestration How to connect and orchestrate the entire content supply chain with a fully cloud-based, open and extensible platform OTT Content Preparation & Multi-Platform Distribution How to efficiently package, deliver and monetize the right content to the right audience at the right time and on the right platforms And there is much MORE! Join our webinar series Dalet Connect sets the perfect stage to virtually gather as a community to connect, engage and learn away from crowded trade show floors (but we’ll be back!) and formal meeting rooms. With a seamless online experience, our speakers will walk attendees through everything they need to know on the given topic in just 30 minutes. Quick and simple, all the webinars are also interactive and come with post-event assets. 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Home-based news production with Dalet Galaxy xCloud: Your Content, Our Tools Get recording Streamlined media processing inside your supply chain Get recording Create Anywhere with Dalet Remote Editing Solutions Get recording Embracing Convergence in Radio Production Get recording Four AI-enabled news production workflows that will save you time, money, and nerves... Get recording Ooyala Flex Media Platform - What's new? Get recording Impactful graphics that will increase your viewer engagement Get recording Optimize your OTT content packaging and distribution with Dalet & Bitmovin Get recording Build a leading brand with Dalet solutions for Marketing Teams Get recording Keep producing news content, no matter what Get recording Create a secure content marketplace with Dalet StoreFront Get recording That’s it. That’s Dalet Connect! We hope to see you there soon for a (virtual) meeting, (online) demo or a (digital) live event.
The Power of Monitoring
Next up on our #PowerOfDalet blog series, and following up on our article two weeks ago on the Power of Analytics in Dalet AmberFin, we are now exploring the Power of Monitoring in Dalet Galaxy. While you can (almost) always troubleshoot and find a way to make your media files work, wouldn’t it be even better if you could maintain and even optimize your system performances over time, and identify potential issues at an early stage, before trouble sets in? If this is the case, we need to talk! Thanks to Dalet Dashboard, system operators and administrators today have access to centralized, state-of-the-art analysis tools for monitoring and managing the performance of Dalet solutions and third-party systems across the entire media workflow. Dalet Dashboard is a key tool to maintain your system performance over time; but even more importantly, it is a key asset to lowering your hardware infrastructure and maintenance costs, and optimizing global infrastructure performances. Monitoring a broadcast system is a big challenge How do you know when your system is under-performing? What could be a good indicator for that? The simple and obvious answer is hardware performance. High CPU usage over time, memory leaks, storage problems and so on, could all hint that there is (or about to be) a problem. But consider that your hardware could be running smoothly, with absolutely no sign of any bad news to come, while a major problem quietly brews, not showing itself...yet. It’s the Dalet Dashboard to the rescue! Backed by the next-generation monitoring engine Icinga, Dalet Dashboard fully leverages this engine built for high performance, which benefits from a multi-threaded design (as opposed to older monitoring systems) and makes it possible to monitor thousands of devices in a very efficient way – it could run thousands of quality checks every single second! Dalet Dashboard is critical in maintaining the smooth and seamless daily performance of the broadcast environment. It continuously checks the system’s various components, analyzing their utilization, spotting problematic parts and alerting the system administrator to fix them at an early stage – before it becomes too expensive to fix. The Dashboard keeps an attentive eye on core components, such as the Dalet services, the Dalet name servers, the Dalet core agents, the Dalet SQL server, the various storage components, third-party systems, and so on. By centralizing system monitoring and management, Dalet Dashboard provides a new approach to enterprise broadcast system management for site administrators and engineers, with global administration tools, smart alerts and notifications, and customized reports and statistics. Common use case scenarios for Dalet Dashboard Envision a common scenario: storage space is running low. 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Dalet Dashboard takes system monitoring and management a step further In order to have a clear view of the site performance, customized dashboard views are provided, showing the key measurements of the site performance, making it very easy to spot troubles from a high level – low free space, disconnected core servers, SQL server not running, servers are out of sync, etc. For that we use a state-of-the-art graphing tool – which is very easy to customize, making it possible for each site to organize the dashboard to show the views most relevant to them. For example, some sites are metadata only (no media), hence they do not need storage-related information, but they do care about the rate of titles/wires created. A dashboard view can be constructed, showing side-by-side time-series graphs or tables of data, showing the most important metrics. 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Best of the Blogs
If you won’t be attending NAB this year, we’ll miss you, but you can still get involved. If you are coming to NAB 2015, pay attention. While the Dalet Academy only launched in January, Dalet has actually been posting educational blogs since NAB 2014 when we joined forces with AmberFin (and thus acquired some of their blog posts as well), and you, our readers, have been “voting with your clicks.” There are clearly some very popular topics on this blog, and the number of views speaks for itself. For NAB 2015, we’re taking the Dalet Academy, and this blog, live to the show floor. As a part of our exciting daily schedule in the Dalet Academy theatre, we’ll be turning one of these blog posts into a live presentation – and we want YOU to decide which one gets the live treatment. (This is by no means a competition between myself, Kevin and Bruce to see who wrote the best blog!) As with the “Bruce’s Shorts, Live” sessions, also delivered in the theatre, there will also be the opportunity to sign up to an exclusive workshop where we will discuss, in depth, the topic covered in the presentation with Dalet and other industry experts. To narrow things down a bit, the voting will be based on the three most read blogs of the last 18 months, as follows: Title: Change Management – 4 things to consider when implementing a MAM Kevin Savina discusses four simple steps to ensure your organization is on board when implementing a new media asset management system. This excellent blog clearly hit a chord with readers, getting a significant number of “shares” on social media shortly after it was posted. Title: MXF AS02 and IMF: What's the Difference and Can They Work Together? Written by the Dean of the Dalet Academy, Mr. MXF himself, this highly technical post continues to receive a high number of regular views 18 months after it was first published. A lot has changed in the development of IMF in that time, but the topic remains increasingly relevant. A presentation would bring this blog bang up to do. Title: Pictionary, Standards and MXF Interoperability I’m surprised to see this one here but, alongside Kevin’s blog on change management (above), it’s the most popular blog of the last 6 months. In it I discussed the work of organizations around the globe to standardize on file delivery and exchange formats. I also hint at how I got a room full of people to play Pictionary during a (very serious) presentation – something that could perhaps be repeated on the NAB show floor! Which topic we present is up to you. Whether you attend NAB or not, you’ll have the chance to win an excellent prize just for voting, and see the resulting presentation on video via YouTube. Be sure to place your vote in the coming weeks – we’ll be announcing the chosen blog on Sunday, April 12th before the show! Cast your vote for the best of the best Dalet Academy blog now!
The Dalet Academy: A Free Platform for Better Media Education
You may be wondering why the blog has been quieter than usual lately…no, we haven’t been on an extended holiday vacation! We’ve been hard at work creating the Dalet Academy – and we couldn’t be more excited to finally share the news with you (and to see the sunlight again). So, why exactly did we create the Dalet Academy? There is something we believe in more than anything else here at Dalet. This something is education; it is part of every single layer of our organization. Growing one’s knowledge and expertise is crucial to finding success and blossoming in the professional world. This argument is even more compelling in the media industry where the landscape evolves at a frenzied pace that is extremely hard to keep up with. HEVC, MAM, PAM, DPP, QC, HDR, UHDTV, MXF, API, IMF, SOA… Could someone in the room raise a hand and explain to everyone those technical acronyms and their business implications? 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Check out below what the Dalet Academy has to offer: Blog: authored by many industry experts from Dalet, its partners and the wider industry, the blog gives non-product-specific insights about trends in the industry, emerging technologies and even some of the politics of standardization in the industry Bruce’s Shorts: the highly successful weekly video series where Dalet’s chief media scientist Bruce Devlin explains a complicated issue in a short, two-minute video to subscribers Case studies: help ground all the theory in real practical applications from the teams that went out and achieved the results for real Trainings: the ultimate in training on the topics that we cover, Academy training courses are the only content that we charge for and will be reserved, for now, to our customers, channel and technology partners Webinars: take an in-depth dive into hot topics around the industry; whether you need to know about MAM technology, video solutions or want a glimpse of the future in Dalet’s “crystal ball” webinar, we promise to deliver valuable content in an accessible and collaborative fashion, and on a regular schedule White papers and industry articles: give in-depth written explanations of complex technical and system issues in an accessible and practical style In keeping with our mission to provide subjective, high quality educational content, we welcome contributions from any and all industry professionals. To suggest topics, educational materials, or to make a contribution of any kind, please contact us at academy@dalet.com. We encourage everyone to subscribe to the Dalet Academy content (here) and to follow the Academy on YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. For the most up-to-date information on upcoming events, please visit academy.dalet.com/events. Contact us, follow us… Stay tuned!
Bruce’s Shorts Blast Off For The Third Time
Bruce Shorts blast off for the third time! After a long wait, our educational video series Bruce’s Shorts is back and better than ever. Most exciting, the new season is now part of the recently launched Dalet Academy, Dalet’s brand new, free educational platform for all broadcast and media professionals. This season, we have a host of new topics for you, and I would like to personally thank the entire team that helped to make this possible. You'll notice that my new shorts are now orange, not green. This reflects the corporate colours of Dalet, and I am pleased that education for our customers, partners and even competitors remains a core value within the company that acquired AmberFin back in April 2014. It’s a very exciting time with the launch of the Dalet Academy as well as the release of Bruce’s Shorts, Season 1 on our YouTube channel. We’re kicking off Season 3 of Bruce’s Shorts by taking a look at Ultra High Definition TV (UHDTV) and what the many different acronyms are all about. Later episodes look at the different flavours of UHDTV and ask whether we need more pixels, better pixels, more frames or all of the above. I will even put on my brand new lab coat and take you into the Bruce’s Shorts Lab to do a bit of colour science. Later in the season, we will explore the sometimes-confusing world of Business Process Management (BPM), Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Web Services, with future episodes adding some background to the world of metadata and looking at why the business of versioning is becoming more and more important in today’s media companies. It’s been great fun making these Shorts, and we hope that you will find them as entertaining as they are informative. Remember, the only way to see Bruce’s Shorts videos is to subscribe, and they will appear in your inbox every week. Each episode is 2-3 minutes long, and the whole series is absolutely free. What’s not to like? Don’t forget that you have to either subscribe individually to Bruce’s Shorts or globally to the Academy as a whole in order to receive invitations to our free Webinar series, which will take a deeper dive into the main issues facing our industry today. I'm preparing the first in the series right now – "UHDTV is for the future, what is it and why should I worry now?" – where I will explain in depth the technologies behind UHDTV and why you might want to think now about how you'll tackle UHDTV challenges that will inevitably come at you towards the end of 2015. I hope you’ll join me on this exciting educational journey and, of course, if you have any feedback or suggestions for new topics, drop us an email at shorts@dalet.com. Ciao for now!
So… Who won the #AmberFinAcademy MacBook Pro?
For the NAB show 2014 we offered a MacbookPro as a prize for our AmberFin Academy presentations. We had a really good response and some fantastic conversations with many customers and new contacts who didn’t realise that there were video artefacts that could be removed by great transcoding. The best story was from a couple of visitors who were tired and had just come to sit down and rest their feet. After a couple of minutes they both sat up straight and started paying intense concentration to my presentation on ACC - Advanced Cadence Correction (or Inverse Telecine to give it another name). After my presentation had finished they said that most of the content they received had the problems we were showing but didn’t know that it could be fixed. They also didn’t know where it came from. They went away with a couple of T-shirts and a buzz of excitement knowing that their heads were full of knowledge and problems they had could now be solved One of the reasons that the AmberFin Academy has been successful is that we’re very honest about how problems come about and how they might be fixed. We especially like to talk about the reason that chaining together business processes might be good if you only think about each element of the business, but when you string everything together, systems break. There is very little written in our industry about failure. I recently read a fantastic article from the education industry about why things fail and I found a huge overlap between the discussion of IT project breakdown described in the article and the experience of many IT projects that I have seen run into problems in our industry. One of the key factors that generate problems is in the definition of the project, the identification of stakeholders, and ensuring that you’re adding business value. Why am I talking about running projects now? It won’t have escaped your notice that I haven’t named the winner of the competition yet. The competition project identified its stakeholders well – we have had many entrants who have followed the rules enthusiastically (and some who bent them equally enthusiastically). The competition project added business value – especially to the people wanting to win. Unfortunately in the definition of the project we decided to only use twitter as a communications link. This means that until the winner actually responds to us then we don’t know that they really exist. Please check your twitter notifications and messages. You might be the winner. If you are the winner, then please respond to your twitter message so that we can send you the prize. If you don’t respond soon, then I’ll have to pick another winner. [UPDATE: Congratulations to the #AmberFinAcademy MacBook Pro winner: @Pinou_] Thank you to everyone that entered. If you haven’t yet signed up for Bruce’s shorts, then please do so. I am planning the next series and I value your input on the subjects that you want me to cover. Until next time Bruce
4 Simple Steps to Clean-Up a Deliverable with AmberFin UQC
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