Reality Digital CEO Cynthia Francis imagines a world where the subtlety and nuance of language—which are so often lost in the text-based world of the internet—become a natural part of online communication. The panacea she has in mind is the integration of audio and video capabilities into social media in a way that is easy to implement and moderate. Her company’s latest upgrade to its flagship social media product, Opus 3.0, contains an array of new features and capabilities, with a particular focus on advanced video functionality.
The company announced the upgrade of Opus at a user conference in San Francisco last Thursday, February 26. Reality Digital simultaneously announced the launch of anew product, Harmony, that enables small businesses to build fully branded social media communities in a short amount of time and with limited technological expertise.
Both products utilize a software-as-a-service model, which Francis sees as a smart choice for customers during tough economic times. "The SaaS model offers flexibility," she says. "One of the first questions people ask when they’re looking to implement a social media product is, ‘How are we going to afford this?’ We can tell them that our most expensive product is less expensive than one full-time in-house software engineer over the course of a year."
Francis describes one primary segment of Harmony’s customer base as being businesses like the pizza joint on the corner, which might not imagine themselves as having the budget or the know-how for social media."Harmony lets you create a community right out of the box," she says. "The idea has been tried before, but not to the lengths we have gone to give the business owners the tools they need to build their product from the ground up. A60-year-old non-tech-savvy business-owner will be able to use this product to create a site in a matter of hours." Features such as a drag-and-drop user interface, configurable widgets and self-serve advertising were designed to make Harmony as simple and intuitive for users as possible.The self-service social media platform delivers online video upload and play back, user generated content and sharing capabilities, and social networking functionality such as blogging, events, and forums. Harmony also offers content monetization capabilities enabling publishers to keep all third-party ad revenue, an administrative dashboard with site monitoring, and content moderation tools.Harmony seeks to address what Francis calls the biggest challenge facing small companies regarding social media. "They need to be able to have a product or service that enables them to create a unique look," she says, "and do so whether or not they have the technological or design capabilities. Harmony is an affordable self-service product, but it is rich enough to configure and customize a site so each user’s end result will be unique."Reality Digital’s second announcement last week was of the latest version of its flagship enterprise product, Opus. Version 3.0 of this full-service social media platform adds over 15 features to the existing stable, including video branding (e.g., pre-roll, post-roll and watermarking);high-definition video support; video commenting; live broadcast and chat; clip editing; and a redesigned video player that integrates viral distribution links.
The emphasis in Opus 3.0 is largely on video, which Francis anticipates becoming standard within social media.
"We see video becoming more and more ubiquitous," she says."Consumers are now anticipating that voice and image are part of the conversation with a brand. Our tool is easier to implement from the consumer side, and easier to moderate from the business side."
As Reality Digital navigates the turbulent waters of the current economy along with the rest of us, CEO Cynthia Francis and her team plan on staying afloat by offering products that utilize the richest social media communication tools, and do so in a way that is efficient, intuitive, and cost-effective for their customers.