- Create a smooth end to end experience for users and content administers from the moment they find the workshop, purchase the workshop, interact with the live stream, and watch archived video.
- Integrate the registration process with Omega’s internal tracking systems to ensure affiliate link codes, coupons, and registration data were being properly captured for online learning workshops the same way they were for on campus workshops.
- Scope, build, test, and launch the live streaming platform in time for a highly publicized workshop.
- Train the Omega team to be able to create their own workshops and broadcast live streams independently of Mediacurrent.
Challenges and Solutions
High Traffic: With live events, there is the potential for many people to access the website at the same time. To avoid lags in performance and even having the site crash entirely, we built the live stream platform as a lightweight PHP application and completed extensive load testing. We also recommended and assisted migrating the web properties to a flexible hosting platform that would let them scale the web resources as needed.
Integration with third party systems: Several systems were needed to create a seamless experience for the livestream and video on demand functionality- all of which had to be integrated with Drupal. Some of the key systems include Wirecast (used for on the fly editing), Brightcove (supplied the on-site player and video streaming), Zencoder (encodes live streams to be able to play on iOS devices), and Livefyre (live chat functionality to promote community and answer tech support questions).
Testing for emergency situations: To prepare ourselves and the Omega production team for anything, we created several test cases to cover the potential scenarios that could arise during a live stream. Examples include testing the system and workflows for the electricity going out at Omega, internet fluctuations for users or on campus where the stream is being created, various browsers and systems, reloading the page mid-stream, one of the third party systems failing, and more.
Our goal was to leave as small of a footprint as possible. In addition to the live streaming video application and bringing all of the current modules up to date, we installed and extended these key modules to accomplish Omega’s goals:
Commerce Suite: Utilized for registration for online workshops, secure online checkout, coupons, and early bird registration capabilities.
Varnish and Memcache: Improved the performance of the website- especially for anonymous traffic.
Rules: Created custom email notifications during the the checkout process, auto-reminder emails for the broadcast, and for information recovery if someone lost their link to view the live stream.