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Syracuse University wins Campus Technology Innovators Award for Ensemble Video content management system

June 03, 2010

Christopher Finkle
(315) 443-1219

Syracuse University has been named a recipient of a 2010 Campus Technology Innovators Award for Ensemble Video and its automated media workflow systems. In the sixth annual competition, 11 winners were selected in six categories from 484 nominations by higher education institutions around the globe. The winning projects will be described in detail in the August issue of Campus Technology magazine. The winners will also be spotlighted at the Campus Technology 2010 conference, to be held July 19-22 at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston.  

Ensemble Video is an innovative enterprise video content management platform developed at Syracuse University and currently in use at nearly two dozen organizations, including the University of Illinois, Clemson University, Colgate University, Temple University and Singapore Management University. Ensemble Video is also available pre-installed on a proprietary appliance from Advanced Media Design Inc., an original equipment manufacturer; customers include the University of Kentucky, Pepperdine University, Northeastern University and the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Ensemble Video is the flagship product of Symphony Video Inc., a provider of Internet video software and services. The founder and CEO of Symphony Video is Andy Covell, a graduate of SU’s School of Computer and Information Science and a University staff member for more than 25 years, principally in SU’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management as manager of faculty computing services and later as director and then executive director of information technology. It was during his time at the Whitman School that Covell envisioned Ensemble Video. 

“The idea for Ensemble Video germinated in the fertile culture of entrepreneurship in the Whitman School, and it was grown with timely assistance from across Syracuse University—central IT, the Office of Technology Transfer, the on-campus business incubator and several other departments and individuals,” says Covell, who took a leave of absence from SU in 2008 to devote his full attention to further developing Ensemble Video. “From the moment we realized that we had developed a unique and highly effective video management platform, we found advice, support and assistance around every corner. And our relationship and ongoing collaboration with SU continue to enrich and support our activities and products.” 

“Ensemble is a great example of collaboration across SU,” says Christopher Sedore, SU vice president for information technology and chief information officer. “It shows how campus IT groups can work together to bring innovative, effective, sustainable solutions to our diverse end users. Whether for academics or other functions, Ensemble enables the showcasing and sharing of content across our global community, building communities and outreach in pursuit of the University’s mission.”

Scott Nadzan, director of technology services at the Whitman School, manages SU’s use of the Ensemble Video system along with his staff. “Ensemble’s flexibility has allowed us to integrate a variety of powerful technologies to create an automated and robust video sharing architecture for all our users across the institution,” Nadzan says. “Ensemble has helped media/technology professionals, faculty and students utilize more video in course curricula. Media/technology professionals are equipped with a flexible, scalable application to manage media across campus. Faculty can easily transcode, publish and stream video by dragging a video file into a folder on their PC. And students can easily consume video online and on demand from Blackboard, online showcases and most recently from iTunes University—they can now download course content that can travel with them on their MP3 players and other mobile devices.” 

The simplification and flexibility provided by Ensemble Video has significantly increased the usage and consumption of online video at SU, Nadzan says. In less than two years, SU’s online video content has jumped from a few hundred videos offered by a handful of departments to about 4,500 videos produced by several dozen departments.

Many professors find that Ensemble has become indispensable to their teaching. The video case studies developed for courses are now being viewed outside of class time and dramatically improve the in-class discussion and case analysis. Whitman School Dean Melvin T. Stith sees Ensemble as a strategic asset as the University positions itself for the future. “As learning online becomes an expectation in higher education, streaming video is playing a large role in delivering and enhancing coursework for our faculty and students,” Stith says. “Ensemble Video and our automated media workflow system provide a video management and distribution system for our faculty that creates new possibilities by expanding our curriculum and enabling students to learn online and on-demand.”

For more on Ensemble Video, visit or contact Bill Bullen, vice president of sales and marketing for Symphony Video Inc., at (315) 378-0234 or

To view the Syracuse University Video Showcase, SU’s repository of online video, powered by Ensemble Video, visit

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