Feedback from Firas Al Hamza, IT Director at the Embassy of Qatar
Over time, the Qatari Embassy accumulated approximately 16,000 photos, videos, leaflets, booklets, files, and other forms of digital media. The stored content was scattered: one part was on internal servers and staff computers, another on Google Drive and external hard drives, and some were only available from media agency contractors. The embassy staff therefore spent around two days just compiling materials for a press release.
As the stored data expanded, searches became increasingly more difficult, and the transfer of large videos (over 30GB) was always problematic. In addition, the transfer of photos and videos to media agencies didn’t always comply with security requirements.
The IT department of the embassy has been tasked with the following:
- Creating a unified portal linking all of the embassy’s media content;
- Putting in order and setting up data storage by category;
- Setting up a user-friendly search for employees’ efficiency;
- Ensuring that work complies with the embassy’s security requirements.
The Picvario platform was selected as a solution.
The following challenges have been addressed during the project:
- Efficiently organise the vast volumes of photos and videos into separate collections.
- Create a centralised portal with easy management and a single point of entry. The portal is connected to Google Drive and other external storage facilities.
- Implement access control for sensitive data inhouse and externally. News agencies now have a newly established pathway to select relevant tagged photos independently from a convenient portal. Labour costs were significantly reduced and the platform enabled the accelerated production of stories and press releases.
- One of the most tangible benefits of the project was a dramatic decrease in search time. Picvario automatically indexes content and now it takes less than 30 minutes to select relevant photos and videos for publication. Instant searches can make use of multiple parameters, such as time, location, photo description, camera type, image fragment, keywords, and other metadata. The cherry on the cake is facial recognition in photos. It now takes literally seconds to find photos of the right person!
- Among the additional features of the system, which our employees particularly enjoy, is a quick preview of large video files, which saves time, of course, and the convenient built-in analytics that enable reports to be generated on the use of the system.
The implementation of the system took around two months. At the present 30TB of data have been uploaded into the system, and around 45 employees work on the system.