Ohio state government working with AWS Media Services to keep citizens informed and connected
With millions of people across the U.S. staying at home, U.S. state governments are looking for ways to quickly set up live streaming platforms that get vital news, information, and updates to the communities they serve. One of the challenges they face is overcoming older video infrastructures that cannot keep pace with increasingly large audiences and dependably meet demand. AWS is providing local governments an easy way to scale their existing online infrastructures so they can handle the newly increased traffic and reliably provide citizens with updates about their communities.
In Ohio, Mike DeWine, like most Governors, has been keeping citizens informed via a daily briefing given from the Ohio State House in Columbus. Looking to connect with as many people as possible as they stay and work from home, the State Chief Information Office reached out via Ohio’s CloudSmart initiative to AWS for help streaming his briefings over the Internet. The CloudSmart initiative, managed by the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, relies on a mix of State and third-party cloud services to reduce the duplication, cost and complexity of maintaining servers in individual agency data centers.
While demand for the Governor’s live stream increased, the on-premises infrastructure they had was not ready for such a large spike in online traffic. Governor DeWine’s IT team contacted AWS. In just hours, an AWS team deployed a working prototype that could handle higher peak loads with high quality and reliability. A day later, more than 80,000 citizens tuned in for the Governor’s streamed COVID-19 press conference, including an audio-only stream for those that just wanted to listen.
“During this unprecedented time, it is critical that we get timely and accurate information into the hands of those who need it – health care providers, first responders, and our citizens at large,” said Ervan Rodgers, State CIO for the State of Ohio. “With AWS and through the partnership of InnovateOhio, Ohio Legislative Information Systems, The Ohio Channel and Department of Administrative Services, we were able to get up and running in record speed with an infrastructure that scales to meet unprecedented and unpredictable demand.”
In this workflow, the AWS Elemental MediaLive service processes the live RTMP feed into multiple HLS renditions, which are sent to AWS Elemental MediaPackage for delivery to the Amazon CloudFront content delivery network (CDN). Through CloudFront, viewers can choose a multi-bitrate video/audio stream or an audio-only stream.
Also at play is AWS Elemental’s Quality Variable Bit Rate (QVBR) technology, which reduces the amount of data per stream that has to be delivered while maintaining the required video quality. This helps reduce the amount of data delivered per stream—and thus reduce the cost of the streams—while ensuring a high level of video and audio quality required for communicating important updates.
With AWS support, governments and civic organizations can more readily keep citizens informed, and make a tough situation a bit more manageable.
AWS CloudFormation Template and a description of the live streaming workflow can be found at https://aws.amazon.com/solutions/live-streaming-on-aws/.