Tomorrow, KnowledgeVision Systems, a venture-backed company based in Lincoln, MA, will be announcing the capability to enhance any YouTube video with advanced interactive features, including synchronized presentation slides, clickable reference links, navigation, searchable transcripts, and social media widgets. This will enable KnowledgeVision subscribers to turn their YouTube videos into complete multimedia experiences for content marketing, eLearning, and corporate communications.

Last week, KnowledgeVision CEO and Founder Michael Kolowich gave me a “sneak preview” of the KnowledgeVision-YouTube integration (preview below). And he said it was okay for ReelSEO to publish this “exclusive” story the day before the official announcement.

“Many companies and organizations have invested in huge collections of YouTube videos, many of which are talks that are designed to be supplemented by presentation slides such as Microsoft PowerPoint,” observed Kolowich. “With KnowledgeVision, an ordinary, one-dimensional YouTube video can be turned into a stunningly effective interactive presentation within minutes.  And with KnowledgeVision’s advanced analytics, these interactive experiences can be tracked and analyzed right down to the individual viewer.”

Kolowich demonstrated the new features by showing how KnowledgeVision is able to add interactivity and visual enhancements to a YouTube-based talk distributed by the TED Conferences.  Within an hour, a non-programmer was able to create a fully interactive version of an April 2012 TEDx talk, complete with navigation, reference footnotes, high-resolution presentation slides, and a searchable transcript, by embedding the original YouTube video in a KnowledgeVision player.

To see the demonstration for yourself, visit “TED Talk on KnowledgeVision: How to Air Condition Outdoor Spaces.

“The combination of KnowledgeVision and YouTube represents a genuine breakthrough in rapid multimedia content creation,” said Kolowich.  “In a world where producers are being asked to produce much more video material under time and cost constraints, KnowledgeVision not only helps address that need, but it does so with an interactive result that is demonstrably superior to plain, one-dimensional video.”

What’s my take on the significance of all this? Here are some initial thoughts:

  • For all the progress in online video distribution, video remains largely a linear, one-dimensional experience…based on the old-fashioned TV model: watch it from beginning to end.  When it comes to video, we’re still couch potatoes, by and large.
  • It’s about time that we start thinking more about how to turn video into a more interactive, user-driven experience.  This demands that we start “thinking outside the frame,” as Kolowich puts it. That is, that we let video interact with other elements that surround it…to make it a richer, more customized experience.
  • That’s what KnowledgeVision is all about — using video to control other visual and contextual events on the page (e.g. slides, footnotes, etc.)…and encouraging the viewer to click on things on the page that affect what’s being viewed at that moment (e.g. navigation chapters).
  • Up until now, KnowledgeVision has used captive video sources — videos that users upload into KnowledgeVision or grab from their Brightcove, Ooyala, or Kaltura accounts.
  • The big deal here is that you can now do this with YouTube videos as a source…and add value to them, too. That’s significant because many companies and organizations have put hundreds and sometimes even thousands of videos online. This is a way of leveraging that investment to add interactivity to them.
  • The REALLY cool thing is that KnowledgeVision’s measurement tools allow you to analyze the clickstream of how individual viewers interact with your video – providing what Kolowich calls “Engagement Scoring” of those interactions.  This helps identify hot prospects, for example, in content marketing programs.

A wide variety of clients use KnowledgeVision’s tools — KVStudio and Knovio. This includes: Alcatel Lucent, Bain and Company, Brightcove, Boston’s Museum of Science, Genzyme, Harvard University, Marketo, and Oxfam America.

With tomorrow’s announcement, I suspect that a number of YouTube Partners and content creators will want to consider joining this list. I know that I plan to mention this new online video presentation technology to a couple of my clients.