By Melissa Layupan and Ali Mazaheri
Media file encoding (and transcoding) is one of the predominant use-cases within the Media & Entertainment (M&E) industry, and one which many M&E companies struggle with.
Reason being is that M&E organizations invest in a multitude of expensive digital and media asset management systems to handle media files and their manipulation. Having numerous media asset/digital systems oftentimes leads to disjointed and fragile business processes around media file encoding, transcoding, and delivery.
Moreover, since the management of media files is fragmented across different non-integrated systems determining actual progress within the media file process remains a huge challenge. For example, knowing what stage the processing failed in real-time versus hours/days or even weeks later.
As a joint effort between Microsoft Technology Center in Irvine and K2 Southwest team the goal of this project is to show how K2 solutions along with Microsoft cloud offerings can be used together to overcome many of today’s M&E challenges through the implementation of a seamless hybrid environment for collaborating w/customers while also providing transparency and visibility into the media delivery process to discover status and uncover issues.
Some of the key goals of this work are to include the following:
- Cutting-edge technology from Microsoft such as:
- Azure (IaaS)
- Underlying infrastructure for K2 and SharePoint 2013 (on-premises)
- Azure Media Services
- Responsible for encoding, storing, and live-streaming of media files
- Office 365
- Used to store customer information
- Used to surface high-level status information for the encoding process
- Used for near-time and real-time collaboration between internal and external constituents
- Leverage the 4 components of the K2 platform:
- Interact with end users regardless of where they are accessing the forms – ie. O365, SharePoint (on-premises or in the cloud), mobile, etc.
- Model out the business process and drive workflow through the different technologies (ie. Azure Media Services, Office 365, SharePoint 2013, CRM 365, and Yammer)
- Handle errors and send notification emails for responsive issue resolution
- Utilize K2’s patented data technology to demonstrate a no-code integration approach for connecting to different line of business systems
- Apply K2’s data layer to build self-service dashboards through Microsoft Excel and Power View.
- Microsoft has both cloud-based and on-premises offerings, you can use K2 to create hybrid business applications
- Both K2 and Microsoft offer mobile functionality so that users can be productive while on-the-go.
At a high-level the supporting infrastructure is entirely cloud-based, using a mix of both Azure and O365.
AZURE - Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS)
The Azure environment is modeled after a small-scale SharePoint 2013 environment where there are 2 WFE servers, 2 App servers and two SQL Server 2012 instances.
K2 was then installed into this environment. Note: In this example, K2 is installed on one of App servers, but in a typical production implementation, K2 usually recommends installing the software on its own server and as part of a high-availability cluster:
From the Office 365 stack, the solution leverages CRM, SharePoint, as well as Yammer Enterprise.
The company is a video production company which uses Azure Media Services. In this hybrid scenario, customers use an Office 365 portal to request video production. Employees of the company receive the requests through K2 surfaced through Yammer, SharePoint 2013 (on-premises), and their mobile devices. After the employee reviews the request, K2 posts updates to Yammer, SharePoint 365, CRM 365 and calls Azure Media Services to encode the file into a live-stream (viewable in both Yammer and SharePoint).
1. Media Requests: K2 smartform embedded in an Office 365 SharePoint site:
2. Collaborate w/external constituents through Yammer. In this hybrid example, the Yammer group feed is displayed in a K2 smartform. The K2 smartform is exposed on both the Office 365 SharePoint site (used by customers) and the SharePoint 2013 on-premises site (used by the company’s employees). NOTE: The Yammer group feed is part of a larger K2 smartform that enables Yammer and O365 SharePoint searches (this allows users to remain within SharePoint).
3. Use Yammer to receive K2 task notifications
4. Enable users to participate in Yammer discussions through K2 smartforms
5. Perform parallel processing of the media files through K2 and Azure Media Services
Below is a screenshot of K2’s View Flow which provides real-time, visual process instance information so that end users can know exactly what has occurred in their process instance. For example, green represents the steps that have been taken, and blue represents the current step.
And smooth streaming at the end straight from WAMS:
In this project, we used K2, Azure, Azure Media Services, Office365, Yammer and Power View to create an integrated solution that thoughtfully engages an organization and its customers. Even though this solution was around Media & Entertainment, keep in mind that these technologies could be applied to virtually any use-case, and that the possibilities are endless in terms of what you can build and how you can engage with end-users…
Big thank you to Melissa Layupan (firstname.lastname@example.org) for all the hard work building the solution.