ClearScale’s expertise with AWS solutions was put into practice once again when we were engaged by a client in the online education industry. Like many organizations out there, our client had been using a service provided by a third party to stream live video; but unlike AWS, the third party did not have a comprehensive end-to-end solution that was robust and scalable to meet our client’s growing needs in the elearning space.
Upon being given the green light, our team began evaluating a suitable solution for the client. We knew that it would need to provide live streaming video, but after getting additional requirements from the client we knew that ultimately whatever solution we were able to implement for them also needed to account for their growing library of media, their need to quickly deploy new assets, and perhaps most importantly, have the ability to effectively deploy live streaming video to any number of mobile devices currently on the market.
That last requirement alone is a daunting task for even the most experienced third-party video streaming provider, but it was also what made our decision that much easier. With AWS Elastic Transcoder, we would be able to send raw video or encoded video directly to the Transcoding service and it in turn would able to prepare the video files for delivery across any device the customer base would decide to engage on. Moreover, AWS Elastic Transcoder delivers these features through service APIs, the AWS SDK and the AWS Management Console which provided us several different avenues of integration as we migrated our client’s video library from their in-house data center to the AWS CloudFront — Content Delivery Network (CDN).
We ran all of our client’s HD video library through Elastic Transcoder and then stored the video on CloudFront for ease of access by the end user. Using the CloudFront CDN, we gave our client a service that not only actively detects what type of device is being used to access the content, but also the ability to geo-locate where the user is and then deliver the content from a CDN location nearest them providing them lower latency and fewer opportunities for disruption of the streamed content.
During the configuration of the Elastic Transcoder and CloudFront CDN services, we purposefully enabled automatic video transcoding of all future uploaded video content, added live broadcast video streaming support via Wowza Streaming Engine (also integrated with AWS), with adjustable resolution support for mobile devices and ultimately reduced latency. With this service built out, we gave our client the ability to quickly scale regardless of what their business will need in the future, provide quicker time-to-market of any video produced, and higher quality video with improved performance.
With this implementation, our client can now send a live broadcast feed or upload a video to the Edge Service that is integrated with AWS Elastic Transcoder and AWS CloudFront, either individually or through multiple files or feeds in parallel. This in turn makes the video file or feed available for access to their customer base regardless of the delivery method.
The AWS Transcoder supports the most common professional production video formats, including XDCAM while meeting NTSC and PAL standards, as well as audio formats including FLAC. Recently, AWS Transcoder also added support for Closed Captioning services used by digital television, a further enhancement that our client appreciated.
Both AWS Elastic Transcoder and CloudFront provide increased scalability and reliability, but using these services also gives our client peace of mind because as new codecs and video platforms and formats become available they are integrated into the AWS services which then makes them immediately available to our client’s transcoded media.
Building a world-class solution for our client solved part of their immediate and future needs from the standpoint of finding a way to serve up the video content they needed, when they needed, and to whom they were targeting. The challenge remained, however, of properly integrating it into their website. Our talented team of developers at ClearScale built a PHP integration between the transcoded video now stored in AWS CloudFront and seamlessly leveraged it into the client’s existing website.
From the vantage point of the end-user, there was no disruption to their viewing experience other than having substantially improved video and audio quality with no delivery issues or latency whatsoever. Leveraging the extended skillsets of our developers to do more than just AWS integrations demonstrates our resolve to make transitioning to the new solution easier for our client base while minimizing downtime or disruption to their end users.
At ClearScale, being an AWS Premier Consulting Partner means more than creatively finding new ways to tailor well-built AWS solutions to each individual client’s needs; it means going that extra step to make our client’s business run smoother with fewer issues than they came to us with. We’re not just trying to solve their immediate concerns. We work with them to understand where they are now and where they want to be in the future so that whatever we build and deliver to them will meet their needs for longer than they expected.
For us, a client’s needs that are satisfied means a client that is ready to rely on us in the future for any other business concerns that arise. Thanks to the dedication and tenacity of the staff at ClearScale, we’re able deliver time and again regardless of the challenge put in front of us.
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