Department of Parliamentary Services

Designing a robust self-managed video streaming service and enterprise VoD solution including  managed interface layer to 3rd party MAM

The Client

The Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) is the service department that supports the work of the Australian Federal Parliament. It provides services and facilities that enable Senators and Members of the House of Representatives to work and communicate with each other, their constituents and the community.

Primary services provided by DPS include information research, library services, as well as facilities for television and radio broadcasting. Innovative merging of new and existing technologies has resulted in the provision of more sophisticated services including worldwide internet access of parliamentary information and the broadcast of parliamentary proceedings live on the internet.

The Challenge

DPS required a solution to improve online and mobile TV services to Senators and Members, and to the Parliament House website For members of the public, the project would provide access to the video and audio material created at Parliament House. The video content may be live, or it may be archived material made available to be watched on demand. The new service needed to interface seamlessly with the DPS MAM solution which was supplied by French company Dalet. Advanced player features would allow the user to request a download of the whole media recording or set start and end markers to request download of only the selected portion of the media recording.

In addition, the service would provide streaming access of archived parliamentary sessions. The massive archive which was stored mostly on D2 and Digital Betacam was restored and digitised by Canberra based DamSmart, who provide enterprise level services.

Switch Media’s Role

Switch Media’s video content management system, the Switch Media Manager, is at the heart of the new DPS service. The Media Manager platform manages all of the updates to metadata, for both the web interface and ParlInfo (Parliament’s full database), and provides authentication services via an Active Directory. The Switch Media Manager also stores the metadata, bookmarks and preferences in a database, maintains a record of all media usage, and includes an in-built analytics web interface for reporting purposes.

To cater for the organic growth of the service, Switch Media’s engineers designed a highly modular solution.  The architecture is designed so that specific processes can be expanded to include additional resources without affecting other services. The solution specified the provision of dedicated servers to provide streaming capabilities for near live video, VoD and subscriber requests for file downloads.

The streaming servers wrap raw media files into a streaming format and also host all of the media files that are being served to the various subscribers.

Project Outcomes & ROI

At its launch in early 2013 the DPS service provided access to over 55,000 hours of archived parliamentary sessions as well as a wide range of audio and other locally ingested  broadcast and pre-recorded video content. With web access to Switch Media’s advanced player which includes sophisticated search, bookmarking and tagging capabilities, members are able to enjoy unparalleled access to a wide range of current and previously archived Parliamentary content.

Today the service is evolving with Switch Media continuing the development of the service to make improvements and to meet user requests for enhancements and additional functionality.

Project Summary

  • Created a modular software and hardware ecosystem to support an expanding service for near live viewing, VoD services, web and download access
  • Delivered web access to over 55,000 hours of archived parliamentary content
  • Validated specified hardware and software systems to enable in house self-management and continued operation of the service
  • Provided access to a wide selection of relevant free-to-air television and radio content to Parliamentary members
  • Developed an interface to the DPS specified 3rd party MAM system
  • Delivered a serviceable platform that is robust and extendable to support increased capacity and load variations