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F1 Superstreams Deployed Superfast

Network Ten’s free and live coverage of the 2015 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix was a hit with viewers around the country, attracting 1.38 million viewers nationally and a peak audience of 1.75 million.  On Network Ten’s digital platform tenplay, the 2015 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix recorded 240,000 video views and 417,000 page views from 13 – 16 March 2015.

In Switch Media’s fastest deployment ever, their cloud based technologies, robust infrastructure and professional services enabled Network Ten to provide an additional five live streams to their online services. Free of charge and with no commercial breaks, the live streaming complemented Network Ten’s live TV coverage and allowed viewers to experience the thrill of the F1 like never before.

With live view from the driver’s seat and pit stop, aerial view of car positions on the track, as well as lap times and highlights streamed live to the tenplay apps on mobile, tablet, and desktop – this marks the most extensive access F1 fans have ever seen.

Pit Stop Cam – live view of the action and pressure of the pit lane.


Driver Cam – live view direct from the driver’s seat during the race. 


Highlights – playback of race highlights video footage. 


Stat Tracker – up to date view of lap times, sector splits and other real-time data. 


Driver tracker – Live view of real-time car positions around the race track.  


To achieve this advanced live stream broadcast capability, Switch Media provided tailored live solutions, integrating with Network Ten’s F1 broadcast systems with on-site encoding, cloud video management tools; all backed by ongoing technical and operational support throughout the race.

Using the industrial strength cloud based platform Video Content Management System (VCMS), Switch Media enabled digital delivery of 5 IP streams direct from the race itself, as well as a system to quickly collect, collate and publish results online.

Switch Media will be streaming the remainder of Network Ten’s online broadcast of the 2015 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix racing tournament.

Network Ten’s Chief Digital Officer, Rebekah Horne, said:
“In 2015 tenplay undertook a goal to complement our live and free TV coverage of the 2015 Formula 1® season, including the Australian Grand Prix, with an additional five live streams exclusive to tenplay apps on mobile, tablet and desktop. Streaming live footage from the driver’s cockpit and pit stops, exact car positions of drivers around the track, plus lap times and highlights; viewers can experience the thrill of the F1 like never before. By working with Switch Media, we were able to deploy a tailored solution within a very short timeframe which met our specific needs, allowing us to give viewers the most extensive Formula 1® coverage they have ever seen.”

Highlights of service provided

  • 5 baseband SDI feeds from the live broadcast received and encoded into IP streams for the tenplay web app and the tenplay native apps for iOS and Android phones and tablets.
  • Pit Stop Cam live stream broadcast
  • Driver Cam live stream broadcast
  • Highlights live on-loop video broadcast
  • Lap times, sector splits and other data capture and broadcast (Stat tracker)
  • Real time view of car positions around the race track (Driver tracker).
  • Adaptive bit rate employed for all four different renditions required
  • Interactive capability enabling the viewer to use the app as a second screen experience whilst watching the race on TV, e.g. while viewing the live Driver tracker
  • Live F1 streams made available free of charge to the public for the first time
  • No commercial break during live stream broadcasts
  • Speedy deployment – fastest Switch deployment ever

 

About Switch Media

Switch Media enables broadcasters, publishers and providers of media content to create, manage and deliver their content across all platforms – fixed or mobile. Switch Media’s service suite includes:

  • Asset management systems for video content and beyond
  • Design and build of online digital media asset portals
  • Content rights protection / DRM
  • Content hosting and distribution
  • Workflow management and integration with existing system

The platform provided by Switch Media can be adapted to suit each client’s architecture preferences – cloud-based, hybrid or dedicated.

Switch Media is the online technology partner to a multitude of government, education, broadcast and media entities including Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Australian Federal Parliament, Foxtel, Fox Sports, INSEAD, Screenrights Australia, and Network Ten.

Key Points:

  • Australia’s leading professional services provider in OTT IPTV solutions
  • Privately owned and operated Australian business
  • 9 years of operations
  • 50%+ year on year growth
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The future of online streaming in broadcasting and beyond

CEO and Co-Founder of Switch Media, Christopher Stenhouse appeared on the Sky News Business Switzer program to talk about the background, expertise and direction of the company as well as the future of streaming in the broadcast space and beyond.

Christopher founded the company in 2006 with business partner CTO Luke Durham. A globally competitive technology leader in delivering online video content, the company has achieved an average annual revenue growth rate of 50 per cent over the past 7 years.

With major clients that include FOXTEL, ABC, Network Ten, Seven West Media, RMIT and the Australian Federal Parliament, Switch Media are world leaders in innovation and delivery of content online.

Switch Media’s extensive body of work includes Foxtel GO, Foxtel PLAY, Enhance TV Direct, and online streaming and broadcast for the London 2012 Olympics, 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and the 2015 Formula 1 series.

The company’s depth of experience, spanning close to a decade, has allowed them to set the standard for delivery of online content with leading edge capabilities such as the ability to simultaneously broadcast 18 live streams on the one screen and for in stream, on-the-fly ad insertion during live events.

Watch the video to hear Christopher’s opinion on the future of streaming in broadcasting and beyond.

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5 Questions to ask a video app vendor (in Australia) before signing a contract

By Dominic White
Head of Engineering, Switch Media.

Whether you need to deliver a live sporting event over the Internet or you want to launch the next catch-up streaming service, partnering with the right technology vendor will be key to your success.

Switch Media take pride providing tailored IP video solutions to suit the unique needs of each client, but with no shortage of video application suppliers and platform vendors in Australia, it’s smart to explore all of your options. So how do you go about choosing the best vendor for you? One that will make you successful.

Some video platform vendors are built for the cloud with a “one solution fits all” model. Most vendors are head quartered outside of Australia where all of their engineering and R&D takes place. Some of them provide only applications and some provide a full end-to-end solution.

In this post we will share with you how to properly evaluate your needs, as an Australian business, against the strengths and weaknesses of the vendors in the marketplace.

These are the 5 questions that every Australian client should ask before hiring a video application vendor.

 1) Is your sales, engineering, test and operations team based in Australia?

When you are considering which vendor to choose, one of the first questions you should ask is where their teams are located. Some vendors have their technical and operational teams overseas, with only sales and marketing in Australia. Others may have some technical presence in Australia but outsource their development and test overseas. Some vendors don’t even have an operations team and will be unable to support you once your application is live.

If you want a team that is responsive to your needs and able to provide technical solutions that are high quality, then they need to be local to you. You often require your vendor to work in an Agile way and it’s proven (even written into the Agile Manifesto) that you can’t run an agile team unless they are all sitting together in the same room.

When it comes to support, there is no better operations team than one that has been sitting with the technical teams as they build the solution. No handover or training is needed, as they have been part of the team from the beginning.

2) Do you provide the same solution to everybody or can you provide a custom solution for me?

A lot of video solutions are built for the mass market. They provide a cloud based “cookie cutter” solution that works well, if you are happy to have the same application as everyone else.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, integrate into other systems or if you simply want the application to reflect your brand, you need a vendor that can write custom code and applications.

Check the previous work that the vendor has done to get a good idea of the scope and quality of the customisations they are capable of.

3) Can I visit your office and meet your staff?

The vendor tells you that they have a team of architects, engineers, testers and operational staff in Australia. Ask to visit their office and meet the team that would be working on your project. It’s important to understand how they work together, the processes they follow and how they will interact with your team to make sure they can support your way of working.

Once you have visited them in person, it will be clear to you the level of expertise and support you will receive.

4) Your video platform looks great, but can you integrate with the software “I use for this” and the system “I have for that?”

A solution is not a solution if it doesn’t allow you to use the systems, software and tools that you need to run your business. A standalone solution that will not integrate into the rest of your systems is exactly that – standalone.

How flexible is the vendor? Can they swap out their analytics for the ones that you use? Can they provide feeds into your data warehouse? Can you use them for the live play out, but use your own solution for VOD? Can they integrate parts of their system with parts of another video solution provider? Can they aggregate all of your metadata that you currently receive from different suppliers?

The flexibility of your vendor is key to the success of your project. Make sure that you fully understand the scope of the integrations that they can perform.

5) Do you only build apps or do you also have a video platform?

In order to deliver video over the Internet, you need two main components; the video platform that will manage and deliver the content and the application that the end user will view it on.

Some vendors provide an end-to-end solution that delivers the platform and the applications whilst other vendors provide only the applications.

If you choose an application only vendor, ask yourself who is going to integrate it into the video platform? Application vendors will work against the video platform API, but any issues that arise from this integration need to be resolved by somebody.

If the application is not working as expected against the video platform, where does the problem lie? You will often need a 3rd party, a solutions integrator to manage the two vendors and resolve issues that arise with the integration.

When the application is live, who resolves any problems that arise? Who is responsible for the support and operations? As the client, you shouldn’t have to manage the two vendors to find out where issues lie.

Before you sign anyone up, make sure that you clearly understand who has the responsibility for solution integration during the build, and which single party will be responsible for support and operations once you are live.

 

switch-media-iconWhen it comes to providing a tailored service for the delivery of digital assets online, the team at Switch Media have got it covered. Our sophisticated cloud based Media Management System, extensive experience and in-house expertise enable us to develop cutting edge solutions that meet the unique needs of each clients. Whether it be an end to end solution, or working with existing systems or hardware, our aim is help deliver the best possible online experience for our clients and their audience.

Hipchat

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

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

 

 

MasterApp

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.

 

 

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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