Cool New App Designed to Help Qual Researchers Capture and Share Video

An interview with David Nelems of ActiveGroup about their just-launched Capture app designed specifically to help qualitative researchers capture and share multi-media from the field

On January 21st, ActiveGroup (the US-based company that provides videostreaming to the market research industry) introduced a new tool described as the first mobile app built for qualitative researchers to allow the capture of video, audio and images from the field and enable easy sharing with clients and colleagues.  Currently, the app is available for the iPad, with work underway for mobile phones.


I had the chance to interview David Nelems, president and founder of ActiveGroup, David Nelems
and to see a demo of Capture.  As a result, I’m going to be upgrading my iPad to the newer version with the built-in camera to take advantage of this new tool (and am thinking the iPad Mini to be less intrusive).  Capture may replace my Flip Video camera and LiveScribe pen as two of my digital field tools; I wonder if I will want to keep using my iPhone (once that app becomes available) or if I will like working with the iPad?  Time will tell!


Here’s the interview:


KS:  What was the inspiration for developing Capture?

My wife Janelle, who has been a qualitative research consultant for 18 years, was my inspiration.  I saw her struggle with the technology when doing research in non-traditional locations.  She could capture video but then it was too hard to share that video with anyone else.  Moving the content from the camera to the computer, then editing that video down so you could email a 3 minute video clip (if the email did not reject the attachment).  Or trying to get FTP access to upload a long video.  It was all so cumbersome and frustrating.  When she had technical issues, she would always ask me for help.  After I got involved I thought, “There has to be an easier way!”  That easier way is Capture.


KS:  How would you summarize what Capture is and what it does?

It is a tool that allows professional researchers to capture video, audio and images and easily upload and share that content in an integrated system with interested viewers.  Never before has the experience of watching your customer in the field been so easy to Capture and so easy to share.  It allows you to tell a rich story.


KS:  Most mobile app developers in the market research space have focused on the consumer.  ActiveGroup led with an app designed for the qualitative researcher.  What led you to launch in that order?

I have a full service marketing research background.  My father started his MR company back in 1972 and I grew up in the industry.  When I looked at the apps available for research, specifically qualitative, they were all based from the consumer point of view.  Obviously that is important and a consumer-based app is something we are working on.  But I felt there were not any tools for the professional qualitative researcher.  While self-directed interviews and DIY is fine for some projects, there still needs to be a focus on professional researchers that can conduct research.  People that know the questions to ask, that can read the non-verbal clues and subtle signs that a respondent is giving off.  To probe and clarify.  To find the answer.  While I am a proponent of more research being done whether it is through professionals or something like Survey Monkey, the more a company knows about their client the better it is.  However I don’t like the idea of my wife and her colleagues being replaced by “QualMonkey.”  Hence Capture.  An app designed for professional qualitative researchers to allow them to do their job more efficiently in a more mobile world.


KS:  What are some of the ways you see Capture being used and by whom?

Any type of professional researcher can use Capture:

  • With a doctor at their office
  • In a mall or restaurant
  • Shop-a-longs
  • Drive-a-longs
  • Ethnography at a respondent’s home
  • Interviewing in developing markets
  • In-depth telephone interviews (you can record a telephone audio track)
  • Photos from the field of anything related to the project
  • At meetings and conventions
  • Wherever you need to conduct research 


KS:  Tell me about your plans to bring Capture to mobile phones.

The iPhone version is in development now.  Because of the smaller screen size, certain elements of the user interface have to be scaled down and simplified.  We have known this for awhile.  We also wanted to release the iPad version first, get feedback from users and see what improvements we can pull into the phone version.  I’m excited to see how Capture will evolve based on what we learn from users.  There will also be an Android version eventually.


KS:  What do you suggest for researchers who want to learn more about Capture?

Go to our website.  We have a lot of resources from short how-to video tutorials, to FAQs and quick start documents.  I also love doing demos. Let me know if you want one via a screen share.  Our demo process is really slick.  It’s all real time, no smoke and mirrors, no static screen shots.  You see the whole process in real time.


KS:  David, thanks for building a tool to help out qual researchers as managing all those video files can really be cumbersome.  I’m looking forward to giving Capture a try and will definitely share an update with you and our readers.  And those of you reading who try out Capture, please share your feedback too!

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