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Connecting the Conventions and Bringing You the Real Inside Scoop

This week I got the chance to go to the Democratic National Convention for Cisco’s newsroom website, The Network. As Blair Christie announced last week in her blog The 2012 U.S. National Conventions: Compelling, Collaborative… Connected  - Cisco is the official networking provider to both the RNC and DNC conventions.

Covering big events like this is something our team loves to do, many of us have a journalism background but now we don’t necessarily look for stories about the event – now we look for stories about the technology that enables the event. Not just any technology but, of course, the networking technology that makes this national event possible. While my photographer and I walked around and got interviews with engineers, the CIO and the programming director for Cisco and the DNC – we watched as journalists and social media influencers walked the floor grabbing images and quotes from people and quickly turning everything around on their twitter accounts and sending the information back to get it on their websites. I have to admit we did get caught up with the rest of the media waiting for the first lady to come out on stage to greet everyone before the event even started, but come on – who wouldn’t wait for that image.

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Cisco Pulse gets a pulse on the 2012 GOP debates: the power of voice recognition for video search

We collectively watch over 3 billion hours of video a month on YouTube alone.  And it’s not just crazy kitty antics or babbling babies:  among my video-related tasks this week, I learned how to change a faucet, caught up on some interesting TED talks, and reviewed the latest product meeting for an upcoming release.

Each of these required searching for videos, which for most of us means hunting and pecking. At best, we sort video by tags that someone has manually selected, and then drag the video scroll bar back and forth until we find the information we need.  Can you say, “time consuming”?

Another thing that some regard as time consuming, yet a civic duty, is listening to political debates.  Over the past nine months, the GOP candidates met head to head in over 20 debates to discuss a wide range of topics. But for viewers who weren’t able to tune in for each 90-minute debate …  imagine being able to instantly find every clip of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney talking about “immigration,” or to automatically parse each debate and identify who spoke about the “Supreme Court,” the “constitution,” or the “auto industry.”

With Cisco Pulse, Cisco’s video analytics solution, we used voice recognition to analyze each of the last four Republican debates. From January 19th through February 22nd, these debates featured the Republican candidates at the time: Romney, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Representative Ron Paul. (For a fascinating drill-down of what was said vs. what was reported, check out this blog from ActionNugget, a marketing insights firm.)

This is more than just speech-to-text technology. Using a Cisco voice recognition engine, Pulse is able to sort each video by top keywords and speakers. That means you can jump instantly to the specific segment of video you need, or browse entire libraries of video by content or speaker, instead of just manually entered tags. You can instantly see the top keywords for each video … who said what in context. The infographic below provides a snapshot of the findings from Cisco Pulse – a summary of topics from each debate and who said what.

(click for larger interactive image)

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