Why video streaming is good for government

Why video streaming is good for government

Government is all about making decisions. Those decisions may be popular or they may be controversial, but they are generally made in an attempt to improve the lives of the population.

To achieve their goals, then citizens need to understand those decisions, to see why government departments are acting the way they are. Today it is pretty universal that people turn to the internet to find out what is going on. So it makes sense for government departments to provide clear and reliable information online.

Even before the pandemic, researchers suggested that in 2022 more than 80% of internet traffic would be video. With a huge upswing in working from home (not to mention binge-watching) it is certain that the proportion is even higher. Consumers assume that there will be video content on whatever their subject of interest – and conversely are unlikely to trust any organisation that does not provide video support.

Governments and government departments – national, regional and local – should therefore be using online video to provide information and messaging to their constituents. It is the medium that citizens expect, and it is inherently interactive: viewers can respond to what they have seen directly in comments, as well as following any calls to action in the content.

Online video falls into two categories. Video on demand (VoD) is content which is searched for then viewed at a convenient time. Streamed video is like a television channel, with programmes at predictable times, but delivered online rather than using a broadcast service. Both are variants of OTT: over-the-top video, the jargon for a media service delivered over the internet, to suit the requirements of the user.

To set up any sort of OTT service you need a number of technology items. The content must be stored – on video servers – and be retrieved on request. You probably need to maintain a registration system so you know who is watching: this is very valuable demographic information which can be used for all sorts of purposes.

You will certainly need to consider security of the platform, to ensure that it is not susceptible to hacking or disruption. You may also need to consider DRM (digital rights management) to protect the intellectual property in the content, particularly if you acquire material from external sources.

If you are planning a government live streaming channel, you will need an automated playout system which can create a seamless output at precise times. That will probably include graphics telling people what they are watching, and previewing programmes which will be broadcast later. The live streaming platform can include live programmes (parliamentary or municipal debates, for example) as well as pre-recorded material.

All of this is well-proven technology, but may be far removed from a local authority or a government department’s experience. The good news is that PlayBox Technology has a complete OTT CMS platform to provide all the required functionality.

PlayBox has been delivering automated, integrated playout systems for broadcasters and media enterprises for 15 years. It pioneered the concept of the channel in a box, an all-in-one solution using sophisticated bespoke software to provide scheduling, content management and fully automated playout. The solution is implemented in software running on standard computers.

Building on this experience, PlayBox now offers an OTT managed service platform. This hosts all the storage and processing in the cloud, so there is no need for the user to invest in hardware and the space to house it. It is an extension of the widely used broadcast playout technology, so operates at the highest quality standards, including the emerging Ultra HD 4k resolution if required.

The user interface is carefully designed to be simple and intuitive, requiring no specialist knowledge or lengthy training. Content added to the library is managed largely through drag and drop, including building channel schedules. Adding graphics to create a unified, professional feel to the output is simple, with the user simply entering details into pre-defined templates.

The whole system is designed to run automatically and unattended 24/7, drawing on the schedules prepared in advance. Because it is cloud-hosted it can be updated and managed from any location with an internet connection, so even if it becomes impossible to access the government buildings the service will run uninterrupted.

Democracy depends upon a well-informed electorate. Those citizens routinely turn today to the internet, and in particular OTT video, as their primary source of information. With the PlayBox OTT video streaming platform, Government bodies at all levels now have the ability to deliver video on demand and live streaming channels with the highest professional values and minimal user involvement.