Things I'd Like to See in LivingAsOne's Equipment

Hi Everyone,

Another technology we’ve been implementing is LivingAsOne’s multisite encoder/decoder system. Overall impression is quite positive, but for those still looking at solutions, here are a few features I’d like to see that, afaik, don’t exist currently.

  • Single Pane Dashboard - Right now in order to view the status of encoders/decoders one has to drill into them individually. If you only have one or two, that is fine, but as the number of encoders/decoders increase it can become quite cumbersome to keep an eye on the status of all the devices. Ideally I’d love to see a single pane on which one could see at a glance the status of all encoders/decoders (e.g. online/offline, buffered, position, bandwidth speed, etc.).
  • Auto Buffering - One concern we have is if a producer at one of the campuses forgets to start buffering and suddenly finds themselves needing to play the video with nothing buffered. It would be great if we could schedule specific events to be distributed to specific encoders at specific times.
  • Dual Ethernet Cards - The decoder has one ethernet card with one port. Being a systems guy (not AVL) I’m used to servers with an abundance of network ports on multiple ethernet cards, so this makes be a bit nervous.
  • Wireless and Wired - The decoder allows one to use either the ethernet wired connection or a wireless connection, one cannot use both. Again, I’d love to have the ability for both to run and for failover to be handled automatically.
  • Clicking Off Event Clears Cache - We ran into an issue where someone had an event open that was buffering for a while and then clicked onto another event. When they went back to the first event the buffer had been cleared.
    • This occurred once for us and we were informed this should not happen. We have not had the situation recur, so unsure the cause but striking off the list unless I see it occur again.
  • Chat in App - It would be great to have some built-in chatting functionality that would allow us to coordinate between campuses and ensure we can give prompt technical support. For example, we have six campuses but there are currently two of us pretty familiar with LAO, myself (for the IT side) and our AVL director - obviously we can’t be at all six campuses, so it would be great to be able to talk to each other.
    • Since there is no internet browser (not a bad move) there isn’t an easy way to have chat on the device, and it is difficult to ensure folks are looking at other devices for updates.
    • Also, since the app uses the full screen, it would mean screen switching, which isn’t ideal.
    • We tried GroupMe but ran into various inconsistencies in who received what, so it isn’t a good solution.
    • We also have producers changing every week, so who should be part of the conversation from week to week changes significantly, which is problematic if we use a texting solution that broadcasts to all producers irrespective of whether they are actually volunteering that week (thus why we tried GroupMe).
    • We tried SMS but found that when some individuals replied to a group text their text responses were sent only to a subset of the entire group.
    • We are currently looking at using Slack per recommendations on LAO’s Multi-User Group on Facebook.

All this said, there are a ton of things we love:

  • The ability to buffer, a lot of encoders/decoders assume you have dedicated fiber point to point.
  • The ability to set cues.
  • The quality of the video being streamed.
  • The simplicity of the user interface.

Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions!


FYI, I’ve updated my original post:

  1. I struck out the clicking off event clears cache issue as this has not recurred from us and LAO informed me that this should not occur. So unless it recurs at some juncture, I’m considering it resolved.
  2. Added single pane dashboard as a desired feature to allow us to centrally monitor encoders/decoders quickly.
  3. Changed the order of items to roughly represent priority in my mind.
  4. Added details regarding what we have tried with chat - previously had details on GroupMe, now added SMS, and noted we are trying out Slack.

I am going to add my vote for:
1 - single pane dashboard, I would like to see cache status of all the decoders at once
2 - cloud controlled decoder start (auto buffering), this would be similar to the feature of the broadcast campus setting cues
3 - dual Ethernet cards
4 - SNMP for network monitoring, we use Solarwinds to monitor all critical pieces of the network

I will also add my vote for the great feature set that currently exists!

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