Panopto was founded in 2007 as a way to reduce the complexity and cost of lecture recording systems. They seek to capitalize on technologies that are already out there-commoditization of HD video cameras, power of personal computers, and the low cost of cloud storage. They aim to be an "internal YouTube" for business's video content relating to sales, enablement, corporate communications, online training, employee onboarding, executive messaging, and social learning
Rather than trying to do everything, Panopto focuses on doing a few things well. Specifically, they focus on the following functions:
- Record and webcast: capture presentations, online training, product demos, meetings, lectures and more from any laptop, iPhone, or iPad.
- Share and manage: upload your recordings to a secure video portal for sharing with anyone inside or outside your organization.
- Search and view: search across your video library and inside your videos for any spoken word. Then watch your recordings on any device.
By focusing on video, Panopto is able to offer much more video solutions than many online training platforms. They specialize in the following features:
- Record and live stream video presentations, online training, product demos, lectures, class assignments, meetings, and more.
- Store and manage all of your videos using their secure video portal that can be hosted in the cloud or deployed onsite.
- Search across video library and inside your videos for any spoken word. Then watch your recordings on any device.
Panopto's goal is to make the process of creating, sharing, and managing videos-whether live or previously recorded-seamless. Everything is automatically recorded in 1080p, available live, or on-demand, with high-quality playback, and indexed to make it searchable.
- Limited solutions
Because Panopto focuses on the recording and live streaming aspect of online training, those looking for a more robust list of solutions may find Panopto lacking. You're not actually building courses, just creating videos on specific topics. Thus, Panopto doesn't offer the ability to create quizzes or tests, games, or certifications.
Panopto uses Silverlight for all of its recording and playback, which means in order to view Panopto files users may have to download Silverlight. If used in the office, companies can ensure that this step is already taken care of; however, for outside viewers, this step will cause delays. Users have also reported difficulties with its integration on Macs as opposed to PC's.
Even though Panopto offers a free trial, that's the only price you'll find before signing up and requesting a custom quote. There is no pricing information on their site; however, one user reported that the cost was $50 per user with that price dropping depending on how many users.
The Bottom Line
Panopto is definitely not your all all-in-one online training platform. They offer no features such as quizzes and exams, games, certifications, course-building, eCommerce, etc.; however, they've made those concessions to focus on one niche-video instruction. Panopto works to cover basically every need you'll have in live and video recorded material. Everything is recorded and stored in 1080p. It's viewable on a computer, phone, or tablet. Videos can be edited, integrated onto your site, customized and analyzed. The material can even be transcoded so that users can search by keyword and find a video with the information they need.
Many competitors do not offer much in the way of live video instruction, so if you're looking for a complete solution, it may mean using Panopto in addition to a more general online training platform.
While they aren't forthcoming with pricing, the free trial is a generous offer, so you can see if Panopto works for you without any commitment.