AWS for M&E Blog

Collaborative live events blend real-time engagement with broadcast video reach

As people and communities around the world continue to adapt to remote work and distance learning, amid evolving public health requirements, businesses, nonprofits, and public officials are working to find ways to better engage with stakeholders. Many organizations are turning to online communications to connect with customers, employees, constituents, and others. However, building a stable, secure, scalable online communications infrastructure can present a variety of challenges, particularly for organizations who want not only to broadcast to audiences, but wish to enable two-way communications between speakers and participants.

Organizations need to stay focused on delivering content of value that keeps stakeholders, supporters, or constituents engaged; and high-quality, highly reliable streaming video is key to that mission. These live video workflows need to incorporate technologies that avoid delay in communication between participants, yet preserve the ability to reach audiences on a global scale. Reliability remains essential so that critical, time-sensitive updates are available in real time to anyone who wants to see and hear them. Security, too, is of the utmost importance, ensuring information can be presented without disruptions or vulnerabilities. And, these workflows must support a dependable, user-friendly way for individuals to engage with speakers from the safety of their homes or other locations.

Traditionally, one-way communication, such as television broadcasting uses a one-to-many approach. AWS Media Services support this style of communication by making it fast and easy to produce, process, and deliver broadcast-grade video using over-the-top (OTT) streaming technologies. Two-way communications, such as video conferencing, are another set of technologies that enable real-time multi-user collaboration. Amazon Chime is an example of such a service, providing a collaborative, video-based online environment where people can meet and share information.

Historically, these services have catered to different types of video workflows, while offering specific functionalities that help audiences stay engaged. Now, with a new collaborative live event solution powered by the Amazon Chime SDK, customers can bring together enterprise-class collaboration with broadcast-grade streaming, in a single interactive workflow. This collaborative live event solution provides audiences an adaptive web landing page and integrated video player for watching a live streaming event. Participant controls are exposed within the streamlined web interface, allowing audience members to raise a virtual hand or ask a question about the broadcast feed. Participants can even transition from a passive viewership role to active participant role via a moderator-assisted transfer.

Users can now access and deploy the collaborative live event solution using pre-built AWS CloudFormation templates from the resource links listed at the end of this post. Reference the following steps to get started with your collaborative live event:

Deploying a collaborative live event

  1. Deploy a collaborative live event using the provided CloudFormation Templates;
  2. Verify the Amazon Chime SDK Lobby Room, Moderator Room, and Talent Rooms are ready;
  3. Verify AWS Media Services and Amazon CloudFront establishes the broadcast pipeline;
  4. Attach the Amazon CloudFront endpoint to the Amazon Chime SDK Lobby Room;
  5. Schedule a meeting, invite participants, and socialize the event to audiences anywhere.

Watch or join a collaborative live event

  1. Direct all participants to your Lobby page where they can watch the live broadcast;
  2. Participants watching the broadcast can raise a virtual hand to ask a question;
  3. A moderator can engage with any participant in a private one-on-one video session;
  4. A moderator can choose to promote a participant into the Talent Room, while maintaining control over the participant’s camera and microphone settings;
  5. The promoted participant can now engage in a real-time video discussion with those in the On-Air Talent Room, becoming an active part of the broadcast event.

Finally, the collaborative live event solution can be deployed using simple webcam components or augmented with broadcast-grade equipment and services to achieve the level of quality your live event requires. Here are a few example architectures to consider:

Webcam and headset deployment for collaborative live event production using Amazon Chime SDK

Webcam and headset deployment for collaborative live event production


On-premises encoder and switcher deployment for collaborative live event production using Amazon Chime SDK

On-premises encoder and switcher deployment for collaborative live event production

AWS and its Amazon Partner Network companies offer a range of solutions to help customers meet their objectives for one-to-many communication as well as one-to-one engagement, from pre-built architectures to custom solutions designed to unique specifications. A recent blog post documents an AWS solution used by the state of Ohio to deliver daily briefings from the governor’s office. Other use cases for this technology include virtual press briefings, legislative hearings, virtual classrooms, remote corporate all-hands meetings, shareholder meetings, virtual town hall meetings by elected officials or candidates running for office, and many more.

Customers from the private and public sectors are leveraging innovative cloud-based solutions to remain engaged with their audiences while adapting to new virtual workplace environments. Many customers have expressed the need for a collaborative live event solution such as this. Now, with a new collaborative live event solution powered by the Amazon Chime SDK, manufacturing organizations with geographically dispersed teams can facilitate collaboration without worrying about setting up infrastructures; political candidates running for office can engage with supporters without worrying about downtime or disruption; and, live event producers can set up new experiences for participants using AWS cloud-native solutions without having to rely on inflexible, bespoke hardware.


How to deploy a live events solution built with the Amazon Chime SDK

Live Streaming on AWS Solution

Live Streaming on AWS CloudFormation template (download)

Amazon Chime GitHub Repository