With millions of fans, watching from the arena, on a train or in the comfort of their own home, the Eurovision Song Contest demands unparalleled connectivity. The magic of the event requires a universal viewing experience, ensuring fans feel connected and engaged with the performances, and can experience the show in real-time, no matter how or where they are watching.
The contest’s technical preparations will therefore be firmly in the spotlight. The organisers will need to manage the extensive demand for rich viewing experiences and ultimately this means data, data, data.
Delivering this experience to Eurovision's international audience requires the deployment of multiple clouds, all working in chorus, with applications and workloads stored, moved, and managed seamlessly, all the way through to the user device. Here’s five ways multi-cloud will bring the show to life.
1. Rich viewing experiences, no matter the location, device or bandwidth
No fan wants to feel as though they’ve missed the witty TV soundbite that’s trending on Twitter or the live replay of a backstage interview that throws voting intentions in doubt.
In combining different cloud environments, private, public and edge clouds, these fears can be allayed. With a local public network, Eurovision producers can enable those in the arena to access and download mobile apps, share content in real-time and re-watch highlights. While, thanks to edge environments, where data is processed closer to the device, viewers could be on the other side of the world, reacting and celebrating together with those in the arena, and still listen to commentary or read social posts.
But this immersive experience falls down if the streaming quality is not consistent. Audiences from Australia to Armenia need to have fast, rich content experiences with little buffering, pixelation or downtime. And it’s here that a multi-cloud environment caters for a range of devices with different bandwidths through software defined network awareness. Whether it’s streaming over 3G to an old mobile device or in ultra HD to a new TV, this rests upon the ability for producers to easily move and manage workloads, applications and media streams to different clouds. This includes federation with smart clouds in telco or in public networks, all based upon the use-cases needed to deliver boosts of compute and consistent viewing experiences autonomously in real-time.
2. Empowering innovative content with drones and remote streaming
The experience of major events such as Eurovision is now shaped by much more than what’s taking place on the stage. Fans expect roving drone footage, unique shots, replays and real-time broadcast. For the spectacle to be captured at such scale, and in such comprehension, it requires robust and reliable connectivity, instant access to data storage and retrieval, as well as vast AI to best analyse a multiplicity of input. Even the slightest glitch or downtime could impact the experience.
That’s why producers will rely upon the support of a multi-cloud environment. With the speed, low-latency and reliability of edge environments, remote-controlled drones can produce state-of-the-art content, capturing exciting shots and video in real-time. Then, in unison with public and telco networks, securely store whilst simultaneously uploading the feeds to mobile apps, and even beam it instantly to remote devices such as terminals in the venue for live content editing, solving a major challenge producers have faced for decades.
But that’s not all. With different cloud environments working together with seamless movement and management of apps, remote fans can be guaranteed consistent connections no matter the device or operating system. Take a Bluetooth headset, for instance, and a fan watching the feed remotely on a train using their network data. Here an edge cloud could power a low-latency, uninterrupted connection, working with the public cloud to support network hosting and scalability.
3. Next-level logistics and planning
With any large event, it’s not uncommon to have hundreds of contractors, from sound and lighting engineers to health and safety teams, electricians, catering, stage technicians, cleaners, and media and entertainment staff.
Each contractor needs to be in the right place, at the right time, to communicate and collaborate, and have visibility into the stages of various projects - whether that’s stage construction, lighting and sound effects, or the creation of on-site facilities. And this generates a significant challenge for the event production and management given each party likely uses its own digital infrastructure. While private clouds can be used to keep sensitive information safe, each contractor would also need to connect to public networks to scale applications and collaborate on documents, like work and safety sheets. A multi-cloud approach enables seamless logistics and planning and offers a ‘single pane of glass’ network view to boost data use where it is needed and federate seamlessly through software defined networking, which focuses on content not just connections. In turn this enables federation of workloads and ultimately information across the entire events teams.
4. Promoting creative, unique performances
Fans love Eurovision for the spectacle of the performances. Each year, the creativity reaches new levels, driven by the potential of technology. Importantly, performers don’t need to understand this technology, but how it can be used to refine their vision for their set.
In bringing together public and edge clouds, performances can be choreographed to ensure each camera will be in the right place at the right time and that specific drone routines and camera shots will be available to mobile viewers. This year, everyone remembers the slow-motion cameras at the Oscars and how this influenced memes and brought new ways to engage with the show. In a similar vein, the magic of Eurovision is captured in these creative moments that provide unique insights or footage on the stars. In a multi-cloud environment, the edge cloud can capture these moments as-they-happen, which are then scaled quickly and stored with public networks. Then, only in conjunction with telco networks and infrastructure, they can be streamed in real-time straight to user devices, including data overlay and deep-information – much the same for example, as streaming services like Amazon who interlace with IMDB today, to provide a richer set of surrounding information and curiosos.
5. Protecting the integrity of Eurovision content online
The security of fans, staff and performers at Eurovision is paramount. While this naturally covers physical security, it also means protecting the integrity of the content online. Fans want to be reassured that the content they are engaging with is legitimate, voting is safe, and their personal information is stored securely. Similarly, organisers must be sure that each drone has a robust network that cannot be tampered with.
Smarter security is critical to this, where the context of consumption and integration is visible, and AI can involve itself at scale to ensure behaviour of the networks and data is as expected. With different clouds working together, producers must take advantage of the intrinsically comprehensive, software approach to security – ensuring scalability and the flexibility to understand each device and data use-case. With private clouds, for instance, organisers can maximise protection for the most mission-critical and sensitive workloads. An edge cloud, on the other hand, extends sophisticated protection to user devices, all around the world, so viewers can trust the applications and content they are engaging with and know they are protected from threat.
Delivering a rich viewing experience to Eurovision’s global audience is no easy task but it’s central to the magic of the event. The support of a smart multi-cloud strategy is critical in producing a hyper-connected show that means fans get the same content experiences no matter where they are watching. With multiple clouds working together, organisers can future-proof the show, deliver unrivalled connectivity, and produce a show to remember.