The Viddler Journey
Viddler’s original “brag line” is that we’ve delivered billions of views, on millions of videos, for thousands of clients, in hundreds of countries around the globe. Thinking back over the past decade of delivering on this promise, there are some outstanding clients that marked our journey from being a user-generated content “destination site” (think YouTube) to our role today—a secure video portal for interactive sales training.
Hindsight is always 20-20. There are things we developed back then that make interactive video training a powerful experience today—even if we didn’t know it at the time! (One of these was our patented technique for displaying videos with overlays and tags, the basis for our current player’s interactive timeline commenting.)
In no particular order, here are a few of our notable client successes that, in hindsight, explain how we ended up with an amazing system for delivering interactive training.
In 2009, the company sponsoring the 2009 Winter Special Olympics approached us. Could Viddler provide the capability to allow family, friends and fans to record their Best Wishes to special olympians? We said yes (becoming official sponsors) and developed the feature, so fans and family could record themselves and watch the videos later. Video recording became part of our product, and was used in some exciting ways, including a documentary for Disney’s The Help, and composer Eric Whitacre’s popular Virtual Choir series. (Each building “window” in Virtual Choir 4: Fly to Paradise is a Viddler-recorded session.)
Since those days, we have incorporated video recording from users’ webcams and devices as part of Viddler Training Suite—allowing logged in clients to practice skills, and be coached by mentors and peers.
We also developed a video contest solution. My favorite example is C-SPAN’s’ annual StudentCam project. Since 2008, Viddler has hosted students’ videos that ask Congress or the President a question—and back it up with research and C-SPAN footage. President Obama even responded to the 2009 winner. The quality, insight, and compassion of the students are awe-inspiring, and the 2017 winners could compete in any international film festival.
While the video contests feature is no longer a top tier Viddler product, aspects of it have been incorporated into Viddler Training Suite—fostering friendly competition among VTS users.
Subscriptions & Skills Training
Many Viddler clients wanted to use video to train audience members in a wide variety of skills. They also wanted to monetize their training videos. In 2010, PREPARE INC sought this very thing—to help prepare structural and architecture candidates for their exams, and to incorporate online credit card processing to enroll in the courses. After we built this turnkey system, we turned it into the Subscription Store product, successfully used by ASLonDemand, Sign Enhancer, and others, earning over $1 million for our clients over the past 7 years.
Subscriptions Store’s successor, VTS, is equally secure, flexible, customizable, and brandable. As a portal, it gives our clients a stage to spotlight their training content.
Over the years, E-Learning companies like McGraw-Hill Education, the University of Michigan English Language Institute program, the British Council, with their Learn English websites, and many other Viddler clients have used our interactive technology to benefit millions of users. Each client has provided us with new insights, and a clarity of purpose to apply our technology to the challenges of virtual training. The three case studies on the Viddler homepage are only the most recent examples.
Since we launched VTS, lessons learned over the past 10 years are bearing fruit. This includes Techquarters’ 365CloudAcademy (a portal for Office 365 training), the UTSW Medical Center, and workforce training company Employers Overload, and the SalesGym.
Our journey has been a long and adventurous one. Abrupt changes in the market teach us how to pivot resourcefully and swiftly with our business model while continuing to believe in the true value of our own inventions. It’s a journey we continue to forge ahead with and while it may have been challenging at times, thanks to our customer, it’s been well worth the trip indeed. Onward and upward!