JUG Ru Group Responds to Business Shock with Pivot to Online using AWS


JUG Ru Group, an organizer of tech conferences and developer meetups, had to pivot quickly from in-person events to online when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The JUG Ru Group IT team initially turned to AWS for help with the delivery of HD video. Soon afterward, the team also began using AWS for video production support for 4K quality and secure distribution. By using AWS, JUG Ru Group was also able to secure and defend the digital rights required for its business model—an important emerging issue for all creative companies in Russia that distribute material online.


We were on fire. Deadlines were tight and sometimes we were not even able to respond quickly to AWS requests. But the AWS team supported us all the way through the crisis and into our new business model.”

Kirill Tolkachev
Chief Information Officer, JUG Ru Group

JUG Ru Group Responds to Business Shock with Pivot to Online using AWS

JUG Ru Group is a leading organizer and host of conferences and meetups for programmers and developers in Russia and in countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, the company had to change its business model fast.

Until then, all its events had taken place offline in conference rooms, expo forums, and international trade centers. JUG Ru Group also provided events for private clients, and these needed to continue with reliable controls and permission for access and security.

Fortunately for the company, the COVID-19 pandemic struck during its off-season, giving it time to consider options. JUG Ru Group concluded that it had 3 months to create a product for delivering content to users online. It turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for help.

“We decided not to guess when it would all end,” says Kirill Tolkachev, chief information officer for JUG Ru Group. “We would try and use this as an opportunity to reinvent our business in a more sustainable way. So we chose to move online.”

A Formula for Online Success

Customer feedback and international speakers had repeatedly confirmed that quality was the business’s strongpoint. To maintain this high level while shifting its business online, JUG Ru Group’s management team realized they needed to strive for 4K live broadcasting. This was especially important because the company’s highly technical conference presentations featured many formulas, codes, and other details that are much better understood with good picture quality.

The company created two teams. One focused on video production that could create a 4K pipeline. The other focused on an IT solution for sending video content to users, including aspects such as rights, navigation, sites for viewing, personal accounts for distributing tickets, and more.

Transforming the Business Model

Because JUG Ru Group had just a small team of developers, it turned to AWS in mid-2020 for help with transcoding and video delivery to support its critical pivot to video. Within days, the company had a proof of concept from AWS Elemental and approval for streaming support, the first phase of work.

Formerly known as Elemental Technologies, AWS Elemental is an AWS-owned company that specializes in reliable, secure, and flexible transport for live video. JUG Ru Group began a program to apply AWS Elemental’s family of services to video production in 4K, support distribution with Amazon CloudFront, and prepare on-demand content for distribution and archiving using AWS Elemental MediaConvert.

In addition to associated transcoding and low-latency work, the project also involved using AWS Elemental MediaLive to encode live video for broadcast and streaming to any device.

Those changes transformed JUG Ru Group’s business and took it to the next stage. Using AWS, the company was able to deliver live video in 4K without fears of glitches or interruptions for conference clients. Thanks to AWS scaling, JUG Ru Group was confident that it would not experience significant problems, even if demand increased tenfold.

The built-in metrics in Amazon CloudFront, combined with JUG Ru Group’s main monitoring and alert system, meant that the company could solve any issues that might arise with video caching.

By using AWS Elemental, JUG Ru Group could forget about transcoding problems. And Amazon CloudFront and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) made it possible to deliver content even months after conferences.

JUG Ru Group was able to launch its new business model and distribute content, from small conferences for 200 people, to much larger ones with over 1,000 delegates.

The company immediately benefited from the API integration and automation delivered using AWS. And, as an existing AWS user, it was able to rapidly adapt the new solutions for its needs, using APIs to manage the video pipeline settings in AWS Elemental.

JUG Ru Group also optimized workflows by automating standard actions in AWS. In addition to providing streaming services, JUG Ru Group was also able to build a new line of business: video production services for online conferences and events for external customers.

Getting It Right the First Time

“We were on fire. Deadlines were tight and sometimes we were not even able to respond quickly to AWS requests. But the AWS team supported us all the way through the crisis and into our new business model,” says Tolkachev. “They helped us to validate our solutions, build the right architecture, and learn about the use cases of Elemental services.”

With support from AWS, JUG Ru Group could also understand how to optimize the services it uses. This helped it to avoid unproductive investments of cash and employee time at a critical stage in the company’s transformation.

JUG Ru Group is now well positioned to address its next big challenge: digital rights management and how to defend its content and rights both inside and outside of Russia.

About JUG Ru Group

JUG Ru Group is the leading organizer and host of conferences and meetups for programmers and developers in Russia. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, AWS worked with JUG Ru to support its successful pivot to online events and content.

Benefits of AWS

  • Company was able to quickly pivot to a new business model
  • High-quality 4K video now streams without glitches or interruptions     
  • Monitoring and alerts help proactively address video caching issues

AWS Services Used

Amazon Cloudfront

Amazon CloudFront is a content delivery network (CDN) service built for high performance, security, and developer convenience.

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Amazon S3

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is an object storage service offering industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance.

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AWS Elemental MediaConvert

AWS Elemental MediaConvert is a file-based video transcoding service with broadcast-grade features. It allows you to easily create video-on-demand (VOD) content for broadcast and multiscreen delivery at scale. 

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AWS Elemental MediaLive

AWS Elemental MediaLive is a broadcast-grade live video processing service. It lets you create high-quality video streams for delivery to broadcast televisions and internet-connected multiscreen devices, like connected TVs, tablets, smart phones, and set-top boxes.

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Content Delivery on AWS

Fast, highly secure, and programmable content delivery network (CDN)