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Streambox is a technology used to stream live video. Since CHINFO previously set up an account with Livestream to test their LivePack technology, we had a branded Navy page to leverage for this test. http://www.livestream.com/usnavy
New technology tested: Streambox “Avenir” Streambox “Avenir” is a mobile broadcasting device designed to stream HD video live and file based by bonding up to 8 3G/4G wireless cards. Difference from the Livestream “LivePack” (used for the New York Fleet Week Parade of Ships test ): “Livepack” designed for internet only feed. Streambox designed for use by CNN, Fox, and MSNBC broadcast, etc. This event hosted two live cameras, one on the ship and one on the pier. Photos from Streambox.com (not from actual USS Enterprise homecoming )
Equipment: Streambox “Avenir” up to six cellular USB cards, camera
To get the signal: Bonded six cellular USB cards into one multi-plex transmission, breaking up the stream to take advantage of each card. The stream was reassembled on the back end by Streambox and turned into D1 standard video.
On Wednesday the Streambox “Avenir” was delivered to USS Enterprise in Mayport. On Friday, CHINFO flew to Enterprise to broadcast and viewers were treated to the first ever ship-based live transmission of homecoming, with the unique perspective as a Sailor returning to port.
Later in the morning the feed was transferred to the pier.
Event Promotion was conducted three days advance and the day-of the homecoming on Facebook and Twitter
Local media outlets picked up the live video stream and embedded the video directly on their websites Note: Media outlets are able to stream video from their web pages using Livestream technology with either LivePack or Avenir.
Just like the New York Fleet Week test with the LivePack , viewers checked-in with Livestream , Facebook, or Twitter to participate and share in discussion about the video
Challenges and successes were seen by viewers in multiple locations Challenges caused by cellular spectrum saturation of ~15,000 cell phones on the pier was compounded by shipboard cell phones as well as EMI field generated by the ship. The feed wasn’t carried by CNN or the Livestream main channel due to the drops in video. Resolution of the technical issues will provide a consistent, quality product that can be picked up by major news networks. New equipment is already in production to improve the cellular signal.
Streambox was easy to use to use and its video feed is higher quality and better suited for major media networks, as opposed to being just an internet feed.
Livestreaming using Streambox “Avenir”, despite technical challenges, had some success:
Equipment is simple to use for those familiar with high-end video equipment, but may take some coaching for those just getting started with video
More than 4,463 unique viewers watched the live streaming video of the USS Enterprise homecoming with 3,932 peak viewers at one time, from 71 countries and 40+ states
Fans of U.S. Navy Facebook page, Second Fleet, USS Enterprise enjoyed the live streaming video on Facebook and were able to more easily share the experience
Users easily “checked-in” and joined in the discussion, engaging in real time
Created interest from people who might not have otherwise “participated” in the homecoming
Virginia Pilot web feedback…
Lesson Learned Recommendation for Future Pre-event promotion is key: U.S. Navy, Second Fleet, and USS Enterprise promoted the homecoming on their Facebook pages. Sailors sent the link to their families. Also, the event Tweeted on U.S. Navy, re-tweeted multiple times. Market event to network news desks at Pentagon correspondence corridor. The potential viewership could be millions of people on a national network, as opposed to thousands. Forecast the environment: Streambox platform worked sufficiently although cell phone saturation and technical challenges caused the feed to be disrupted several times over the course of the event. Viewers were patient, this time. More research into T-1 Line, a High Speed Internet cable, that is available at every pier a few days prior to homecomings. Need to explore security and other related concerns. Appointment TV: Start time was advertised for 0815 from the ship, but had to start at the pier until shipboard team was ready to come up online. Better coordination between “Avenir” operators and event planners. That’s what I’m talking about! We were well-prepared to engage viewers during the video stream with the chat feature and on the ticker. Good facts/figures about the unit and talking points with Q/As in case any of fans bring up an issue that should be addressed. Can you hear me now? Audio from the ship was not working. There were questions on chat about it and viewers were confused. Audio at the pier worked. Sound helps deliver the full experience viewers expect. Testing needed, but it was likely operator error. Mitigate risks by covering only from pier next time, e.g. Viewers wanted more emotional moments associated with homecoming: New Dads meeting their babies, Sailors greeting their families, and First Kiss Three person minimum per camera unit: camera operator, engineer and producer/reporter. Bring power to the people! Mobility, battery power limits, and lack of mobility (by an extension cord) proved to limit what could be shared. Laptops w/removable batteries, 100’ extension cord w/surge protector. Better location on ship.
Evaluate all tested live video streaming options to compare, price, ROI, and to continue testing Streambox and other products in future events to develop expertise and understanding of the platform. In addition to ultimately delivering live video broadcasts to traditional and social media that enhances the well-being and readiness of our force and furthers the reach of Navy messaging to key stakeholders such as the media, family members, etc. The Avenir technology offered by Streambox is a highly capable resource to enable live video streaming for the Navy.