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iStream Planet Unveils Video Workflow Automation Platform

Putting the Winter Games online was no easy task, says Mio Babic, CEO of iStreamPlanet. In fact, it required the creation of an entirely new automation system. Now that it's finished, that system can be all yours.

When iStreamPlanet partnered with Microsoft to stream the Vancouver Olympics, it took on a task worthy of a champion. It would be responsible for transporting the 23 NBC feeds and 5 CTV feeds from Vancouver to Las Vegas, encoding the content, and distributing it to the origin servers where it was broken up into the chunks needed for Silverlight Smooth Streaming. Akamai took over from there, handling the streaming to end users. (For more on the Olympic workflow, see this Silverlight blog post.)

With the Olympics at stake, Babic knew that failure wasn't an option, yet the task of delivering over 800 live events introduced enormous challenges in scale and reliability. Rather than depend on hundreds of human operators to start and route events correctly (as was done with the Beijing games), he knew his team would have to create a system that was 100 percent automated. There were simply too many concurrent operations that needed to be performed.

iStreamPlanet's solution was to create an automated system with four parts. The first is a scheduling system for all the live events, the second a tool for acquiring content from different sources and routing it to the encoders, the third starts and stops the encoders, and the fourth delivers content to the origin servers.

Now that the system has been built and withstood its 17-day trial, iStreamPlanet is making it available to TV broadcasters or anyone else who needs to stream a large number of live events. It's called the Video Workflow Automation Platform, and Babic says every major broadcaster has already approached his company about using it.

That's good news, since Babic is hoping the stamp-of-approval his company gets from the games will open doors for him. The only way to scale a system like this is to make it completely automated, he says, and iStreamPlanet now has a platform for the most demanding jobs.

Pricing depends on the number of channels streamed, says Babic, as well as the number of output formats that the company is looking for. Consider $10,000 the starting point for smaller jobs. For more information, see the company's official announcement.

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