Since launching DigitalChalk in June of 2007, users have produced and distributed a wide range of videos using the slick interface built on top of AWS. Training videos range from college curriculum, to employee training, and even on to fitness instruction. Using DigitalChalk, instructors can build, publish and sell video-based courses online within a matter of minutes by simply uploading digital video or audio files, slides, HTML and images, and then synchronizing the elements into a complete video training lesson. DigitalChalk packages these on-demand web-based courses into an online learning delivery system, which includes detailed student management, reporting, tracking, and course payment.
The decision to move onto Amazon Web Services’ platform has proved to be a valuable decision from both a technical and business perspective. On the business side, DigitalChalk forecasts a first-year savings of over 75% by using Amazon S3, EC2, and SQS instead of a traditional data center. On the technical side, DigitalChalk benefits from the availability of rapid server deployment to test and release product features quickly while controlling costs. They are also able to hire top-notch software engineers with the savings from reduced system admin staff and hardware infrastructure costs.
According to Tony McCune, VP of Sales, “We chose Amazon Web Services for three key reasons: reliability, the ease and security of the Web Service interface, and the detailed reporting provided. But our favorite feature of AWS is the ability to pay only for the resources we consume.”
DigitalChalk’s CTO, Troy Tolle explains their use of Amazon Web Services: “The core DigitalChalk system is built on AWS using Java and runs in a clustered configuration. We currently utilize Amazon S3, EC2, and SQS in our production, test and development environments. We use the Queue Service (Amazon SQS) to manage media files between our production application and media transcoding servers. This configuration allows the system to dynamically scale as the demand changes. We are also exploring automatic payment distribution options using Amazon Flexible Payment Service and export utilities using Amazon SimpleDB. We are in discussions with several university partners interested in licensing the technology for internal delivery of DigitalChalk on their own managed AWS account through DevPay.
“AWS has provided us with a compounded benefit of increased focus on our core business and faster time to market. In today’s competitive landscape, there is no time to get bogged down in building skills that don’t deliver value for your customer. Amazon Web Services is a critical component in the continued success of DigitalChalk.”
Since its release, DigitalChalk’s Software as a Service (SaaS) model has appealed to universities and corporate clients as an easy way to deliver their training content. DigitalChalk has begun pilot programs with several universities to deliver distance learning for continuing education and has announced a Latin American partnership to introduce multilingual support.For more on DigitalChalk, go to http://www.digitalchalk.com .