Get a life, get a bot with Hipchat Bot Will

By Dominic White
Head of Engineering, Switch Media

 

Want to know how you can tie all of your applications together to increase efficiency and reduce the need to login to countless programs each day? Dominic White, Head of Engineering at Switch Media tells you how to do this using Hipchat Bot Will…

Does this sound like your working life?

  • It’s easy to get things done at work
  • There is one simple system that I use for all my work needs
  • I use the same system to request leave as I do to log support tickets
  • I can find out the status of my expense claims in the same system that I message work colleagues
  • I only ever need to use one login

If this sounds like your everyday work life then you can move along…..nothing for you to read here.

Alternatively, you’re work life may be more like this:

  • I have different systems I have to log into to request leave, log a support ticket, log my time, check on my development tasks
  • If I want to find out how much leave I have, I need to talk to someone
  • If I want to know the uptime on our servers, I need to log into the monitoring system

Did someone say “Convergence”?

Imagine having an application that can integrate all of your disparate systems together? Imagine being able to post notifications into a single application and from the same application, query all of your individual systems?

For example, the following applications (that we use at Switch Media) would become even more useful, if they could be accessed from a single “convergent” application:

  • Xero for accounting, leave and expense requests
  • SalesForce for CRM
  • Celoxis for Project/Portfolio Management
  • HipChat for group chat
  • JIRA for defect tracking
  • Confluence for collaboration
  • Bamboo for CI and deployment
  • Stash for GIT repository management
  • Kayako for Help Desk management
  • Zabbix for system monitoring

The application that makes it possibleHipchatBlogImage2

HipChat from Atlassian provides the possibilities to tie all of these applications together. On the surface it appears to be no more than a “good” chat program. It allows you to create rooms to stream your conversations, provides a history of all chat and supports audio and video calling. Nothing too earth shattering in that.

The really useful part of HipChat is that it has an API that allows you to integrate it with just about anything and by integrating it with “bots”, you can end up with a pretty smart personal assistant.

Notifications

In it’s simplest form, you can use the API to post notifications to rooms. For example:

  • you could create a “development” room and post notifications each time your CI server completes a build (pass or Fail)
  • you could post notifications to a “Sales” room whenever a new opportunity is created in SalesForce
  • Your monitoring system can post critical alerts to the “Infrastructure” room

Self-Service

The traffic doesn’t have to be all one way though. Within your chat window, you can interact with your other systems and display the results in the very same chat session. For example:

  • Query Xero about what your current leave balance is
  • Add new leave requests into Xero
  • Query JIRA for the details of a JIRA ticket
  • Create a new JIRA ticket
  • Query Celoxis for all the tasks you have assigned to you for this week

Bots

The ability to interact with your other systems is provided by “bots”. Helpful pieces of code that “listen” to the chat conversation and action commands and keywords. The bots that you create are limited only by your imagination and the API capabilities of the system you want to interact with.

I get very excited by bots and the possibilities they present. Bots are not new or unique to HipChat and as one of our development leads said to me “IRC was using bots 15 years, what’s the big deal?”.

Bots – what’s the deal?

So what’s the big deal about bots? What can you do with them?

Some simple examples:

  • Log a new support ticket in JIRA
  • Tell you what the weather is where you live
  • Return a list of development tasks that are assigned to you this week
  • Prompt you for the time you spent on your assigned tasks
  • Log a leave request
  • Tell you how much leave you have left
  • Display a random animated gif of a particular topic
  • Tell you who is on support roster for this week

It’s really only limited by your imagination and the systems you want to integrate with.

Bots and HipChat

HipChat has a number of open source bots that already integrate with it. This means that you can get up and running in a very short amount of time and it makes it look like you did a lot of work (smile)

Atlassian recommend the following:

At Switch Media we chose Will. In my next blog, I’ll show you how we integrated it with our Project Management System (Celoxis) to retrieve the task assignments for the week.

Redflag POS, the intelligent cloud based retail POS security solution now launched

70% of business fraud losses are from staff

Statistics from the Australian Federal Police show that 70% of business fraud losses are from current and former staff, costing businesses over $1.5 billion a year. Additionally the Australian Retailers Association estimates that 55% of stock shrinkage relates to employee theft.

Theft in the work place is not limited to stealing money and merchandise. It can take many forms including undercharging, giving discounts and ‘freebies’ to friends and incorrect time recording, as well as using company time for personal matters. Employee theft costs employers on many levels including loss of revenue, recruitment, low staff morale and time spent on dealing with the investigation and disciplinary process.

Intelligent cloud based security solution now launchedred-home

With internal theft an ongoing issue, businesses are looking for new and innovative ways to keep an eye on their employees. That’s why Redflag POS, the new security solution recently launched by Switch Media, is such as ground breaking development in retail security.

Using intelligent cloud based technology, Redflag POS links transactional activity and CCTV footage at point of sale then automatically SMS and/or emails the related video footage when any activity, predefined by the business, takes place. This may include activity such as staff discounts, no sales, cancelled transactions and cash collections. Video footage can be viewed anywhere anytime via the Redflag POS online app.

In addition to setting up automated alerts, businesses can search for any behavior, pattern or point in time via the app and immediately access the related video footage. So no more hours of watching CCTV footage, lengthy investigations or guess work, this new security solution does it all for you.

More than just an intelligent security solution

Not only does Redflag POS make retail security effortless, it can used across a vast range of other business functions such as operations, compliance and marketing. Here’s a few examples:

Security
• Set up automated alerts to flag any predefined behavior at point of sale.
• View video footage for flagged behavior anywhere anytime via the online application.
• Search any transactional behavior, pattern or point in time then immediately access related footage.
• Observe employee discounts and behavior patterns.
• Monitor point of sale activity such as low, void or cancelled transactions.
• Record and track transaction types and patterns.

Operations
• Utilise built in the exception based report engine to quickly check that procedures are being followed.
• View thumbnail snapshots across various time points through the day.
• Monitor line queues.
• Discover bottle necks and peak times in your store.
• Track employee attendance and work hours.

Compliance
• Access unlimited video/event backup and store thumbnails and clips in the cloud for safe keeping.
• Audit locations remotely.
• Utilise exception based report engine.

Marketing
• Measure marketing display ROI.
• Count customers.
• Leverage heat mapping function to discover hot spots.

Affordable and easy to integrate

The good news is, because Redflag POS is a cloud based application that works with existing or low cost hardware, it is affordable for businesses of all sizes. It can be used as a complete standalone system or integrated with existing hardware, security systems or applications.

To find out more about this Intelligent, effortless and affordable new security solution go to www.redflagpos.com

 

 

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Introducing the Switch MasterApp

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By Peter Perera

At Switch we pride ourselves as:-

– Multiplatform specialists on delivering multimedia to many platforms including but not limited to Web, Desktop, Mobile and standalone devices that we have developed ourselves.
– Problem Solvers, we love solving any and all issues you may have distributing media.

On the mobile front we’ve been developing apps for iOS and Android with Xamarin (C#). Xamarin gives us and our customers the agility -to move quickly in the market place while also maintaining feature parity on multiple platforms.

Our experience developing cross platform apps has given us many insights into the best way to develop enabling flexibility while in development as well as in operational support, without needing to change the app in the respective Appstore(s). To that end we found that a lot of our customers shared mostly the same requirements (drill through data, featured content, live with EPG and VOD content, with some slightly different rules around UI, Authenticating Users and Managing Accounts, Device Concurrency Control, Social Integration, Purchasing and Analytics.

The Big Question? How do we increase code sharing, while allowing for customisation of UI and Business rules that change between our customers and platforms?

The answer is the MasterApp.

The MasterApp is a fully functional framework for building cross platform apps. It gives customers the benefits of a shared platform that is constantly improving and keeping up with the latest OS updates. When paired with the VCMS and its components (Analytics, Purchases, Account Management, Social, and more) the MasterApp drastically reduces development time and gives us the time to focus on the user experience of the app. The MasterApp offers the capability for a simple re-badge of its existing UI or a completely custom UI that matches your brand.

This advanced solution successfully powered NetworkTEN’s Sochi 2014 app on iOS and Android contributing to the over 1.34 million video sessions delivered by the VCMS. Contact us at Switch to find out what the MasterApp could do for you.

 

 

Switch Media delivers services for Network Ten’s coverage of the XX Commonwealth Games

Sydney, Australia – July 2014 – Multi-platform video specialists, Switch Media, have partnered with Network Ten to provide multi-device coverage of the XX Commonwealth Games from Glasgow, Scotland.

Switch Media is supporting delivery of live and on demand Commonwealth Games video footage and results to tenplay website and apps. Their industrial strength cloud based platform Video Content Management System (VCMS) has enabled digital delivery of eight live steams direct from the Games, as well as a system to quickly collect, collate and publish results online.

Switch Media’s complete professional service for Network Ten’s coverage of the Games includes everything from infrastructure, system integration and app development to the provision of internal workflow, management tools and ongoing technical support.

 

Christopher Stenhouse, CEO, Switch Media: “Here at Switch Media, we enable broadcasters and content creators to deliver spectacular internet experience across multiple IP enabled devices.

We are excited to be working with Network Ten to deliver a complete broadcast capability of the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow for its audience, following our support earlier this year for the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.”

 

Highlights of service provided

–       Online delivery of eight live streams, including TEN, ONE and six additional channels direct from Glasgow.

–       Live to Video on Demand trimming and publishing capability with fast turnaround.

–       Bookmark functionality allowing viewers to jump to key moments in a particular sporting event.

–       Electronic Program Guide tool providing the ability to easily manage and change the broadcast schedule at any time.

–       A DVR window that enables viewers to rewind up to 30-minutes while streaming a live event.

–       In-stream ad replacement with custom VAST-compliant ads with a ‘Learn more’ click-through capability.

–       Reporting, monitoring and analytics capability.

 

Rebekah Horne, Chief Digital Officer, Network Ten: “Our strategy is to bring Network Ten’s content to people anywhere, any time and on any device.

Working with Switch Media, we are able to offer Australians a viewing and engagement experience like no other for the XX Commonwealth Games, as we did for the XXII Olympic Winter Games from Sochi, Russia, in February. We are confident our digital coverage of the Glasgow Games will be an outstanding success, providing a consumer content experience that is multi-screen, multi-platform and designed with the user experience as the top priority.”

ETV Direct v2 has launched

EnhanceTV Direct is an educational video-on-demand archive, giving teachers and students in schools around Australia access to over 18,000 educational programmes from broadcast free-to-air and PayTV channels.

In addition to this library, it has learning tools like Study Guides and the ability to create themes, presentations and video lessons from the content. This version introduces a multitude of new features, amongst them a fresh new design, which uses responsive HTML in order to optimally adapt to most screen sizes, from smartphones to Full HD displays.

All functionality of EnhanceTV Direct is now fully compatible with both desktop and popular mobile devices like iPad and iPhone. In addition to this, a completely redesigned video lesson creation mechanism now allows educators to combine segments and clips from many different programs into one single Video Lesson for presentation in the classroom or assigning to students. Further, EnhanceTV Direct opens up access to the library for students themselves, allowing them to research and present their own material.

For school administrators, the all-new Analytics dashboard provides an insight into key usage statistics of the portal, such as teacher engagement, student activity and bandwidth consumption. All eligible educational institutions can apply for a 3-month trial period.

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Channel Ten’s official 2014 Winter Olympics App goes live

The App referred to as, ‘Sochi 2014 On Ten’ launches today.

Video specialists, Switch Media have built Apps, that allow viewers to watch the Games live and in Catch Up mode on their iOS and Android devices.

The Apps include six dedicated Sochi channels, streaming 24/7 directly from Russia, plus feeds from Channel Ten and ONE HD.

Switch Media’s Apps include a 30-minute DVR window, that allows viewers to rewind up to 30 minutes of an event while streaming it live.

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Switch Media underpins IPTV Innovation with Foxtel Play

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Switch Media today announced its role in the development of Foxtel Play; a new internet TV service offering Australian audiences access to Foxtel on  Samsung Smart  TVs, Xbox 360 game consoles, PC and Mac computers. The service allows customers to watch more than 40 Foxtel channels live and access up to 34 channels of on demand across a range of connected devices on a monthly basis, with no lock-in contract.

Switch Media Co-Founder and Managing Director, Christopher Stenhouse, said; “audience behaviours are rapidly evolving to consuming TV content across a range of devices. Creating customer centric, iteratively developed products like Foxtel Play helps to broaden out access to content in more ways and helps  Australian media businesses to successfully meet these changing demands”.

Switch Media’s work for Foxtel is broad reaching, including the provision of the IP head-end for Foxtel Play and Foxtel Go through their video content management system (VCMS), workflow management and digital rights management (DRM) integration services. Switch Media also created the apps for PC, Mac, Android and iOS, along with providing API’s for third parties to create applications on other connected devices, such as smart TVs.

Luke Durham, Switch Media Co-Founder and CTO, said; “it’s exciting to see a technical solution of this scale be deployed and managed using a rapid development approach. It really allows our clients to experiment with services to meet customer demand across a range of devices, including quickly making changes to the solution”.

Mike Ivanchenko, Foxtel’s Director of Product, said; “Foxtel Play is an important step in connecting more Australians with the content they love from Foxtel. Switch Media’s approach has helped us  to bring world class products like Foxtel Play in to service to delight our customers and keep us in step with how audiences choose to enjoy our great content.

Switch Media has partnered with Foxtel since 2012, including providing the IP head-end and connected device experiences for Foxtel’s award winning  London Olympics IPTV service.

About Switch Media:

Switch Media specialises in providing custom, multi-device video solutions for customers throughout Asia Pacific. Established in Sydney in 2005, the company works with clients including Fairfax, Foxtel, the ABC, Quickflix and the Australian Federal Government. For more information, visit www.switch.tv

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Switch Media helping to expand the reach of Foxtel Go with new App support for Android, PC & MAC

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Foxtel has announced its highly acclaimed Foxtel Go app is now available across a host of new devices including select Samsung Android tablets and smartphones as well as PC and Mac computers.   The new apps, which were developed by Switch Media, in conjunction with Foxtel’s creative team, are a continuation of the technology partnership between the two companies. Switch Media also produced the original app services for iPhones and iPads allowing Foxtel subscribers take their subscription services with them.

The new services, which have been eagerly anticipated, dramatically increase the number of ways Foxtel subscribers can take their entertainment with them.  Customers simply download the Foxtel Go app from the Foxtel website or Samsung App Store, then enter their Foxtel login and start enjoying great mobile entertainment. In addition Foxtel has also upped the number of devices that can be registered to Foxtel Go from two to three.

Jim Rudder, Foxtel Executive Director of Product said, “We’re really pleased with the response we’ve had since Foxtel Go launched late last year. Through our innovation, Foxtel continues to add value for our subscribers and the increase in the number and type of devices consumers can use to access it goes a long way towards delivering on our promise to help even more customers enjoy Foxtel in the home or on the move.”

Christopher Stenhouse, CEO of Switch Media, added: “By taking these initiatives, FOXTEL is reinforcing its leadership position in the industry — providing innovative services that meet customers’ needs. With these new services, FOXTEL is enabling its customers to access its content, whenever and wherever required, via a simple to use added value service. Given our long-standing relationship with FOXTEL, we are delighted to have played our part in developing the new apps.”

Utilising IP Head-end services, also provided by Switch Media, Foxtel Go is delivering up to 59 live channels and over 50 channels for on demand catch up viewing to Foxtel Pay TV subscribers.

About Switch Media

Switch Media are the multi-platform video specialists.  Their products and services cover video content management systems (VCMS), online video portals, mobile apps, Digital Rights Management (DRM), real-time analytics, content monetisation, hosting and global distribution.

www.switch.tv

About Foxtel

 Foxtel is one of Australia’s most progressive and dynamic media companies, directly employing around 2,500 people, and delivering a diverse subscription television service to both regional and metropolitan areas over cable, satellite and broadband distribution. We offer a better entertainment experience every day to each one of our 2.3 million subscribing homes through delivery of exclusive and inspiring programming across all genres, the world’s most popular channel brands, and investment in high quality local content. As constant champions of innovation we have brought customers the iQ personal digital recorder, Australia’s largest HD offering and the Foxtel Go App. Foxtel is owned by Telstra Corporation Limited ACN 051 775 556 (50%) and The News Corporation Ltd (50%). foxtel.com.au

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Switch Media delivers platform to support enhanced Internet delivery service for Satellite Music Australia

Delivering managed content services for music, video, news and advertising.

Multi-platform video specialists Switch Media today announced it has delivered a new service platform to support the continuing delivery of Satellite Music Australia’s (SMA) managed content services.

With access to the largest digital database in the Southern Hemisphere, SMA delivers licensed content to over 3000 venues throughout Australia and New Zealand. Content is drawn from over a quarter of a million files and includes audio, music, video entertainment, advertising and marketing solutions.

Armed with a requirement to upgrade its existing service to an internet based platform and at the same time add new end user functionality SMA chose Switch Media’s VCMS platform to support the launch of the new service. VCMS is also providing workflow management, transcoding services, storage, metadata and rights management, user authentication and user channel access privileges.

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Switch Media helps RMIT to create a user-friendly video service to capture, publish and edit digital media content.

Delivering video content to enhance research, learning and educational activities.

Multi-platform video specialists Switch Media today announced it has partnered with RMIT Publishing to support the development delivery and operation of the RMIT Informit EduTV service .

RMIT Publishing is the leading provider of online research specialising in content from Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region. Through its Informit brand of online databases and search platforms, RMIT Publishing makes it easy for students and teachers to search, research and discover the content they need to get better results.

Switch Media’s role in delivering the service was to provide RMIT Publishing with a complete workflow solution, IP head-end and a friendly user experience designed specifically to deliver the required functionality.

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