Here are some frequently asked questions regarding Opencast. This will help you determine if it’s the right solution for your organization.
How much does it cost?
Opencast is a free, open source software. There is no direct cost associated with downloading and deploying the software. As an open source software, there is free support from the community on the Opencast mailing lists and the Opencast IRC channel. If you require enterprise-level support, there are commercial vendors that provide that service. Keep in mind, for production use you will need several servers and staff to maintain your system.
How long does it take to setup an Opencast system?
Setting up a basic Opencast server can be done in a few hours. But Opencast is typically a building block within a larger video capture ecosystem and it is highly customizable. Generally it’s best to plan for a 1-3 month deployment depending on the complexity of your project. For Universities, there is often a small pilot rolled-out and tested before a campus-wide solution is developed.
How well will it integrate with what we already have?
Opencast was developed as an open source solution so that it could work well in any environment. The Opencast Marketplace is full of technology providers with active integrations, but the open API lets you develop any integration that’s needed. Opencast adheres to; iCalendar, RSS, ATOM, OAI-PMH, MPEG-7, Dublin Core, LTI, REST standards.
How does Opencast compare to proprietary solutions?
The feedback from the community is primarily around the flexibility and scalability of the Opencast platform. It has all the common features built-in with the ability to add any features you require without the development cycles of proprietary solution providers.
Will students and professors like it?
Educators love Opencast because once it’s set up, they don’t have to worry about much. Lectures are automatically queued to record, so there is little day-to-day management. Students benefit from the easy access to videos on CMS, iTunes, YouTube or RSS subscriptions. Advanced search features also help end-users find the content they are looking for quickly and easily.
Why is open source the best option?
Open source is a great way to highlight your organization’s drive for innovation by contributing back to the community. Because Opencast is a community-based solution, you have the benefit of learning directly from and collaborating with like-minded organizations. Open source solutions also have a longer ‘shelf-life’ because the active community is continuing to develop and you don’t have to worry about a software provider discontinuing elements of their software or hardware – which can become extremely costly to replace. You can also continue to change and develop software to address your needs, so it allows for much more flexibility, and more seamless integration with your other IT-systems.
How often are new features rolled out by the community?
Every year there are two major releases to Opencast. Throughout the year, maintenance releases, bug fixes and new features are deployed on an on-going basis.