Our best ideas come from our customers real business problems. Recently, a customer asked if there was a way for their CEO to have a town hall meeting with participants from multiple locations. Because they are a global company, they provide simultaneous live translation into multiple languages. They wanted it streamed live to people who were not in their main offices, and also needed it to be made available as a video on demand for later playback. This customeralready has a relationship with an external translation service, and havea fairly complex audio-video configuration to be able to do this. They wanted an easier, more reliable, and less labor intensive solution. If we couldimprove the quality of the broadcast, and remove the requirements toonly use the Corporate Headquarters Auditorium to initiate the call, all the better.
So here's what we did:
First, the CEO and some of her direct reports would be in one room, with a live audience. Some other presenters would be in rooms 2 and 3 in other facilities. (There's no real restriction on the number of presenters or number of locations, three happened to be therequirement here.)
These rooms each have Polycom video conferencing systems in them. At the appropriate time, the three rooms would be connected to the primary video meeting room on a Polycom RealPresence Collaboration Server, in this case a RMX1800 (but could be any Polycom RMX). This video meeting room has all the active participants in it which includes all the audio, video and would display all shared content like PowerPoint slides, shared web browsing, playback of live videos, etc). Additionally, this video meeting room would be connected to a Polycom Video Content Management system, comprised of a Polycom Capture Server and Polycom Media Manager to enable the call to be streamed live and also recorded for later playback. The meeting would take place in the speaker’s native language (or call’s “primary language”, in this case English).
Additionally, to the primary video meeting room, we will connect a special cascade conference link to a secondary video meeting room. This secondary video meeting room will have the video and content from the primary conference, but the audio would be blocked. The live translation agent will connect into both conferences via audio. This agent will listen in the primary language, and speak into the secondary conference. Typically, the translators do this using two telephone lines into two different bridges, so it’s no change to their normal workflow.
Because we want this secondary conference recorded and live streamed as well, we connect the secondary video meeting room to a Polycom Capture Server and Polycom Media Manager to enable the call to be streamed live and also recorded for later playback in the secondary language.
Adding a third or n-th language just requires creating a secondary meeting room for each language, creating an additional cascade link,creating the live strreaming event and connecting a live translation agent. The example below adds Chinese to the sample architecture.
While the solution can be architected on a single Polycom RealPresence Collaboration Server, Capture Server, and Media Manager, additional components can be added for added scale or resiliency. Each component can be provided as an appliance or in a VM. Of course, if needed, the live streams can take advangate of Polycom MSA architecture to reduce network bandwith requirements in remote sites.
There’s no real restriction on the number of secondary languages—if the customer wants to support English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Chinese, then we’d set up one primary video meeting room and four secondary ones. (Obviously we’d need a separate live translation agent for each language).
Remote viewers can access the appropriate language video stream through the Polycom MediaManager portal, automatically signing on via SSO (or can sign in securely using their corporate logon) and choose from one of the upcoming events in their language of choice:
CEO Town Hall Meeting – English
CEO Town Hall Meeting – en Espanol (Spanish)
CEO Town Hall Meeting – en Francais (French)
CEO Town Hall Meeting – em Português (Portuguese)
CEO Town Hall Meeting – 中国语文 (Chinese)
The end users viewers all have the information they need, in real time, in their own local language and at lower cost. Isn’t that really what collaboration is all about?